You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger. – Buddha
What is anger?
Anger is an emotion that is often identified as negative due to the impact of its nature. Anger is a response to many different experiences which include but are not limited to trauma, anxiety, depression, inequality, judgments, fear, etc. Anger begins in the cortex based on an event, word, phrase, picture, or experience. From there, synapses record the experience, the theme, and the feeling in the amygdala and hippocampus.
Anger is the emotion that most people run to first because it is easily accessed for many different reasons. Anger, however, is not a negative emotion. It is just an emotion that gives us insight into what has been or is currently happening. Anger is a feeling that almost everyone in the world encounters but can look differently because of varied experiences.
What is anger management?
Anger management is the attempt at helping individuals understand and regulate their anger to have healthier reactions, boundaries, etc. with others and themselves. Managing anger is about understanding the why behind the anger and how that impacts the trauma and or challenge the anger could be triggering.
Managing your anger is all-encompassing, it’s not just regulating without understanding, or reducing without seeing the triggers. It’s about gaining the insight necessary to understand that anger is important and should be managed when it becomes troublesome for the individual, family, or society.
Why join an anger management group?
If you have a hard time regulating your emotions and you notice that it is creating a challenging relationship with yourself, friends, family, and/or the workplace then it may be a good idea to research anger management groups. Anger management groups are helpful for all individuals, couples and families.
Especially individuals who find it hard to manage their emotions in the moment and allow their anger to impact their ability to have healthy relationships, maintain continuous workflow, or manage their everyday tasks. Anger management groups help individuals to feel seen, supported by others, and more vulnerable.
In anger management, they teach coping skills, regulation skills, and insight-driven skills, and create a space that is safe and transparent. If you believe you have tried everything you could to manage your anger in a healthy way, but it has not been helpful, the next step might be to seek individual therapy or an anger management group.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So, let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. – Jack Layton
What does God say about anger?
Anger in the Bible is mentioned several times. The important piece about anger is understanding that Jesus got angry and so did God. If Jesus as the God-man became angry then why is anger taboo today? The management of anger is important, but eradication is not necessary.
There are many passages in the Bible where God invites us to be less angry and to be slow to anger. God understands that mistakes can be made through anger, consequences can be given out and for the most part, people aren’t able to have a good understanding of what is happening while in that anger.
Anger can sometimes be synonymous with violence, pain, or outbursts which only create more situational issues. God understands anger on a deeper level and understands that anger can lead to painful experiences.
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. – Proverbs 14:29, ESV
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. – Ephesians 4:26, ESV
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. – Psalm 103:8, ESV
Is anger ever justifiable?
Many individuals, groups, and corporations have shown that anger is necessary to effect change. Most change occurs when people realize that there is something broken and needs to be fixed. This is the kind of anger that leads to change, more understanding and insight, and better outcomes.
This anger is justifiable because it comes from a place of solution instead of impulse. In the same way, God’s anger and Jesus’ anger came from a place of insight and understanding and wanting to show individuals that change needed to occur. Anger that comes from impulse will always be dangerous and can lead to a lot of pain in the long run.
The opposite of anger is not calmness, it’s empathy. – Mehmet Oz
Four Anger Management Tips
There are several types of meditation and mindfulness techniques and tools used in eastern medicine, religion, and in psychology. The principle behind them is to stay present, focus on one thing or nothing at all to reduce the anxiety or stress in the body, and connect with the Creator.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: PMR is a type of physical mindfulness that instructs you to tense up different muscle groups and release the tension to bring about a more stress-free and peaceful experience.
Link to PMR: https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheet/progressive-muscle-relaxation-script
Love and Kindness: Type of DBT meditation that invites the individual to think about the people who they love and meditate on that space of love and kindness.
Meditating on the word of God for a specific period by sitting quietly alone and continuously thinking about the Scriptures to allow God to speak to you and to connect more with the peace of God’s word.
Guided relaxation with peace, joy, and Jesus in mind. Several visual guided meditations allow you to picture yourself in the flesh holding the hand of Jesus or walking on the beach with Jesus and the peace that might come from that experience.
Below are some questions which help you identify what you are experiencing and get to the foundation of what you are experiencing
- What is happening in my body right now? Do I feel heat in my chest? Nervousness in my stomach? Doubt or loneliness? Where can I feel the sadness or anxiety?
- Is this a pattern I am creating?
- Is there something else that could be bothering me?
- What am I afraid might happen?
- How am I enabling my negative behavior?
Physical Grounding (Ways to Manage Anger)
There are many ways to physically ground yourself. Below is a worksheet that includes information on how to ground yourself.
Exercise: Go for a run, walk, or stretch in the morning and at night. If you are angry at a particular moment sometimes it helps to step away and go workout the emotional energy.
Physical grounding tool: https://www.winona.edu/resilience/Media/Grounding-Worksheet.pdf
Change the temperature of your body: Placing your head under the water or your hands under cold water to help physically shock you in the moment.
Anger can serve a purpose in life. Anger has been the cornerstone of much change and movement in the Bible, in society, and in individual lives. However expressing anger impulsively and explosively can be reckless and have consequences not only for the angry individual but for the family, friends, strangers, and society as a whole.
If you have tried anger management techniques in the past and you try the techniques above by yourself and still feel that they are not useful, please consider individual or group therapy. Managing anger is not as simple as trying a new recipe of coping strategies and praying that it goes right. Managing anger and regulating emotions is all about practicing, retraining the brain, and not giving up on a more peaceful and healthier way of life.
It is wise to direct your anger toward problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses. – William Arthur Ward
“Sunset”, Courtesy of TomMarc, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Emoticons”, courtesy of AbsolutVision, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Angry Enough to Kill”, Courtesy of WenPHotos, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Sitting on the Dock”, Courtesy of Sasint, Pixabay.com, CC0 License