It can be an explosive and dangerous emotion, and for that reason we often work hard to not let it show. Anger however is a completely natural and normal reaction. Learning to manage our anger is one of the hardest skills especially if we have not had clear help doing so as a child.
Many people (particularly women) learn to suppress and deny their anger, which can lead to chronic stress, over eating, and addictive behaviors to help us stomp on our emotions.
If you know you have a problem with over reacting, or you can not remember the last time you felt any anger at all (which may mean you can no longer identify the emotion and are suppressing it completely) then it might be time to take a look at how to display anger in a healthy and proactive manner.
Anger is often a trigger to some unrelated event or can be a secondary emotion to whatever we are actually going through. We'll often flare up at someone close to us, rather than excuse with that work college who stomped on our foot in the lift be accident. This passing on of the anger can then cause a domino effect, passing the anger onto someone who did not deserve it, which then may react to that anger with anger of their own.
Often we feel anger when our personal value is threatened. If you feel angry in a situation, it can be good to ask yourself; "Am I angry because I feel misrepresented and unaccepted?"
Anger can also be misinterpreted by us as sadness. We can feel the most angry when we feel someone is not listening to our point of view, when we feel uncertain or powerless, or when we are frustrated with something that feels like an unmovable force.
So if you know you have a problem with anger, how can you get on top of it?
Here are some simple tips to make sure the anger you have remains at a healthy and natural level:
1. Name it, own if and be aware of it.
This is one of the largest steps. It's a little like someone not realizing how much junk food they were eating until they write it all down. Recognize the problem and tell yourself you are feeling anger.
2. Communicate it appropriately
Sometimes just telling someone in a quiet, clear voice that you are angry is enough to manage it. Explaining to someone that you are feeling angry but it is not connected to them can also be an effective tool in not passing it on to someone who is not the real recipient of it.
3. Tell yourself you are in control
Anger does not need to own us. Remind yourself it's a normal and natural feeling but acting it out with abusive language, violence, shouting and intimidation is not.
4. Learn how to self distract
I call this time out for grown ups. Take yourself away from the place of your anger, and go for a walk, dance it out, talk to a friend, or unwind with a coffee coffee. Sometimes anger flares up when we feel unappreciated, so appreciate yourself
5. Focus on empathy.
If we look at how the other party must feel, or why they may be acting in such a way to make you angry, we often notice that it might not have been about us at all. Perhaps they just passed with own anger over, and you were not at fault at all. Or something else that is far bigger than your situation is around. Whatever it is, try and empathise, and let compassion take over your feelings of anger.
By Rachel Goodchild
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