Don't go to bed angry

Anger is normal, a natural emotion, yet left unchecked and handled in the wrong way can lead to issues in many areas of life.  It is impossible to go through life free of anger, but we hold the power to choose how we react when we feel it creeping up on us.  If not handled correctly, anger can lead to problems such as the development of:

  • A Quick Temper
  • Violence (Verbal, Mental, or Physical)
  • Bitterness
  • Vengeance

These are not healthy ways to react when angry and can seriously damage the relationships with the people around us as well as those we may have in the future.  If we want our relationships to be healthy we have to learn how to control our anger and direct it effectively.  Being angry itself is not a problem, it is when we respond in a way that is detrimental to yourself or others that you need to take a step back and begin to assess why you are feeling this way.

This post was inspired by Ephesians 4:26,

In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry (NIV)

Here Paul does not condone the anger itself but to the negative actions one might take as a result of losing control of their emotions.  He then goes on to talk about not holding on to your anger with the sun going down.  Anger should never last longer than the day because this is when you allow things such as jealousy, bitterness, vengeance, etc to begin to brood in your heart.  Internalizing your anger could cause you to unintentionally hurst someone close to you.

Here are just a few ways to begin to take control of your emotions and free yourself from the grip of anger:

1.  Breathe

Studies about anger have shown that when experience a heightened sense of anger you begin to take shorter breaths which restricts blood flow to the brain and increases your heart rate.  Take a moment to regulate your breathing by taking 3 to 5 deep breaths (inhale for 3 seconds, exhale for 5).  This will return your blood flow to a more normal rate and you can begin to meditate on why you are really feeling the way you are.

2.  Reflect Upon The Circumstance

 Find a quiet place and begin to meditate on what it is about the situation that made you angry.  Begin to ask yourself why it made you so angry in the first place.  Being able to identify the root of your anger gets you one step closer to resolving it.  Take the time to reflect and cool down before responding to the situation.  It will save you from a lot of grief later.

3.  Workout Your Issues

Exercise can be a great stress reliever and can help you get out your anger in a productive way.  Go out for a quick run, pump out a couple dozen pushups, or climb a mountain, the important thing is to just be active.  Physical activity releases endorphins in your brain which help to calm your emotions, not to mention (this goes back to #1) you begin to breathe a lot more which also helps you to relax.

4.  Get An Outside Opinion

Sometimes we just need to vent, but it is important to vent to the right people.  Express your feelings with a close friend or mentor who will help you discover the root of your anger as well as why you might be feeling this way.  If the situation is because of another person such as a spouse or co-worker, this outside opinion could provide you with insight as to something you may have overlooked or some miscommunication that may have taken place.

5.  Pray

Take it to the big guy up stairs.  Express how you are feeling and ask for guidance for how to resolve it and for the strength to overcome it and manage it better in the future.  After all, He knows everything about you so He is a great source to go to for answers. Have faith that you will become better at managing your anger after every bout.

The bottom line is the longer you put off confronting your anger, the more time you allow bitterness and other undesired qualities to enter your mind body and spirit.  Today is the best time to start taking a stand against letting these buggers try to change your attitude.  The question is…

What are you going to do today to change how you respond to your anger?