Is anger putting a strain on your relationships, damaging any self-respect you have left, and taking a toll on your peace? This article will present some sound anger management exercises to help you manage your anger and finally walk in the joy of self-control.
Acquire a Box of Tools and Use Them
Taking a time-out
A good number of individuals with extreme anger issues say that their rage usually surges from of 0 to 60 in a matter of mere seconds.
When their anger is at its peak, rational thinking just doesn’t happen. Because of that, taking a time-out is usually the best remedy so that foolish and irrational behavior doesn’t happen and destructive, cruel words are not uttered.
If you find yourself riled up and anger is swelling, these activities can help you settle down during your time-out:
- Don’t speak until you think. Often times, it is not so much what it is that you actually say, it is the manner in which you say it. When you take time to consider your response to the matter that has angered you, it is helpful to also think whether it would be pleasing to God, conducive to your relationship and if it is respectful. Writing your response down is very helpful so you can take it at face value and so you don’t change it around in your own head.
- Explore possible solutions. No matter what situation you are in, brainstorming possible solutions can help you see the situation more clearly. Ask for God’s help in having thoughts that are not confined to your own box and those that are in your comfort zone.
- Keep notes. It is a good idea to employ the use of a worksheet that tracks your emotional incidents and pinpoint within your writing such things as your thoughts, emotions, needs, desires, errors, and any useful strategies you might use to overcome. Chart the progress you make too. It will encourage you to see how far you have come.
- Taking a walk works wonders. You might be surprised how much it can help. No matter if it’s a walk down the street, through the woods, or up a mountain, it gets you out and away from where you are and can greatly promote problem-solving deep thinking. Aerobic activities have been proven to release endorphins which enhance your mood so that is another plus.
- Try listening to music that is soothing such as instrumental tunes or Christ-focused music. Lie down or sit comfortably so the tunes can calm your mind. Fix your thoughts upon Jesus and see how your mood changes.
- Take a shower or a bath. Just the sensory experience has the ability to soothe you and to relieve stress. It also gives you some time and space to think of positive ways to make wise choices you can make.
Recognize early stage warning signs
In order to be able to implement a time-out and to use tools to help you successfully and constructively deal with your anger issue, you will need to become aware of the mental, personal, and biological signals you put off. If you don’t know the warning signs that take place before a melt-down, you will not have time to employ the use of your tools.
Pay very close attention to all the things you note about your thoughts and feelings prior to your melt-down stage, be sure to record those things so you can take preventive action in future cases.
Below are some indicators that are common to those who have issues with anger:
- Teeth grinding and jaw clenching
- Clenched fists
- Feeling hot and sweating
- Stomach ache
- Accelerated heart rate
- Red face
- Heavy breathing
- Yelling and screaming
- Blank mind
- Hurling insults
- Obsessions concerning the problem at hand
- Feel like breaking, hitting, or throwing, or breaking things
Engaging in physical activity
Taking part in a physical activity distracts your brain from the problem at hand and also discharges energy and diminishes the stress hormones which are produced when anger is present. It also helps release negative emotions. Riding a bike, jogging, building something, working out, playing sports, and hiking are examples of things you might consider doing.
Use distraction methods
When you find something that you can do in order to distract your mind from what it is you are angry over, your autonomic nervous part in your body will have the opportunity to recover. You can cook, talk to a friend, work in the garden, go see a movie, or take work on a hobby. What you chose to do really doesn’t matter as long as it is able to redirect your thoughts.
Practice relaxation techniques
Many Christ-centered counselors suggest the popular methods below to help their clients relax:
- Breathing deep. One exercise that is considered to be very effective is to take in slow breaths through your nostrils while counting slowly to five, then to exhale through your mouth while counting to seven, then once again repeating over again and over again, until you find yourself relaxed. You should focus on your breathing which will help distract your thoughts from your anger.
- Progressive relaxation. The technique of progressively relaxing involves the slow and systematic tensing then releasing of areas of your body however long it takes until you are fully relaxed.
- Stretching and yoga. Yoga is known to relax your mind and body as is stretching. You are sure to find a myriad of resources available for learning both if you look online.
- Thought-stopping and imagery. Commonly referred to as going to your solace or happy place, this tool can be implemented to help you take your thoughts captive as the Bible tells us to do. Picture being in your favorite spot. Think of pleasant situations. Eliminate the scrambled, negative thoughts in your head and relax your body and your mind.
Putting your feelings and thoughts down on paper is very therapeutic. It helps put things into perspective. Those who have problems with rage often see things out of proportion. Writing in a journal can offer the chance to physiologically calm down a notch and to steer stray and negative thoughts into a more constructive and positive direction.
You might try what is called a three-pronged journaling approach. The first step is to acknowledge your angry feelings by venting. Try to get in touch with the emotions that are associated with your anger like fear and hurt.
Next, begin to look to God for answers. The more you meditate and note the promises God has given you, the more your notes will reflect positive solutions and hope. Then, practice gratefulness by listing all the good things in your life. In other words, count your blessings. Look back on your past writings as you continue writing new entries. You will find it is life changing.
Getting to the Cause of the Anger Within
When your anger begins to rear its ugly head, use the tools in your toolbox. It is imperative to find out where your anger is stemming from and why it tends to become unmanageable. Soul searching will help immensely.
Make a fearless and searching inventory
By taking a fearless inventory of your morals, you are able to take a really good, honest look inside yourself. You can see where your intents are good and when they are not so good. It is easy to be fooled but when you get down to business you won’t be able to deny the truth.
Then you can let God clean house and get rid of the things in your life that do not belong there like resentments and pride. He will replace them with such things as love, joy, peace, and happiness. Forgiveness will often need to be sought after taking such an inventory.
Practice listening effectively
Individuals who have short fuses and who are chronically angry often fall into a habit of supporting their angry thoughts and feelings by hearing what they want to hear when listening to what others are saying, rather than really hearing what it is the other person is actually saying. Here are some listening skills that can help:
- Practice empathy. Try to picture yourself in the shoes of the other individual so you can begin to imagine how they feel.
- Intently and intentionally listen for important information so you can stop filtering out things, consciously or subconsciously. This will keep you from jumping to conclusions.
- Check to see if you have a real perspective of what the other person is saying. Try to understand their viewpoint, even when you disagree.
Look for the humor
Have you ever thought about lightening up a bit when you are angry? Anger usually involves a lot of overreacting. You tend to look and act ridiculous. Why not find the humor and just crack up laughing rather than exploding in anger?
Learn to be assertive
A lot of people become angry because of passiveness. They never seem to let others know what they really think and feel or what they really want and need. When you learn to express such things, you will begin to feel freer and less angry. Setting some healthy boundaries and keeping them is a good assertive practice too. Why not try it?
Practicing good self-care
When you aren’t taking proper care of yourself and your own needs, it’s easy to fall victim to anger issues. It is imperative to pay attention to these areas to keep your anger from getting out of control:
- Eat right
- Get adequate sleep
- Be social and nurture relationships
- Get regular physical exercise
- Relax and rest
- Do things you enjoy
- Exercise regularly
- Keep your relationship with God active and alive
Live your life agreeably
In times that we act or think in wrong ways, an inner turmoil is bound to follow. Anger management that really works takes work. It requires self-assessment on a regular basis and also requires that you line your values and actions up.
Seeking the help of God & standing on His Holy Word
Lack of control over your anger is often a very stubborn problem. Those who struggle may say that the tools received in therapy are not effective. They long for a cure-all pill instead – an easier, softer way of dealing with it. What we all are in desperate need of is the Holy Spirit’s power.
The tools detailed above cannot be effective if you don’t initiate and practice them. Asking for help from The Great Physician is necessary for experiencing true victory. Just ask Jesus to reveal the root of your anger and lead you in the path of righteousness and deliverance. Be sure to read the Bible with an open heart and cling to God’s word.
There are many times that living in this fallen world will present opportunities to become angry. Did you know that anger is actually an emotion God gave us that signifies something is not right? What we are angry about may have a legitimate cause, in which case, God instructs us not to sin though we are angry (Ephesians 4:26). On the other hand, our perception may be off, in which case we are to “put aside…anger” (Colossians 3:8).
If you find that anger is causing problems in your life, reach out to a Christian counselor who can give you the support and help you need to learn and make use of the tools above.
“Angry Man”, Courtesy of Pixabay, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Angry Enough to Kill”, Courtesy of WenPHotos, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Write in Journal,” Courtesy of Walt Stoneburner, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY 2,0); “Hide My Face”, Courtesy of MMckein, Pixabay.com, CC0 License