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Techniques to Manage Anger

What is anger and what are its consequences?

Anger is an emotion which is often accompanied by acute physiological changes in the body.  As an emotion, anger can range from annoyance to intense rage but is by definition a feeling that is felt intensely.   People may become angry when they feel threatened, harmed, or powerless.  Anger may be a reaction to criticism, threat, or frustration.

Anger provokes a physiological reaction in an individual.  Indeed, this process may even be life-threatening.  Dr. Charles Cole of Colorado State University found that part of the anger response is elevated heart rate and blood pressure as well as thickening of the blood itself, all of which contribute to greater stress on the heart.  Potentially fatal results may occur in people with heart disease.  A person who remains angry long after a particular incident or who is chronically angry is, in effect, committing slow suicide. Anger not only affects your physical health, it makes you miserable, obscures potential solutions to problems, and wastes your energy.

Finally, unchecked anger may lead to rage. At this point the person is not only unable to calm himself but is likely to reject the efforts of others to defuse the situation.   Tragic and very regrettable consequences often result.

Is it sinful to become angry?  

Becoming angry is not in itself a sin, but when it violates the rule of the Bible it becomes sin.

The Bible clearly specifies the scope and duration of anger.  “Be angry, and yet do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger.” (Ephesians 4:26, NASB)

Clearly the right to become angry is subject to certain conditions:

  • Anger should never result in sin. This means being careful in the choosing of words.  It means being careful in any type of physical action or steps taken. It means to avoid action based on emotional thinking.  Cursing another is, of course, always wrong even when angry.  The discipline of children should always be done in love and with anger firmly under control.
  • The Bible states that the sun should not go down on your anger. This means that anger must be dealt with and resolved.  Neglecting or postponing the taking of positive steps toward resolution is not a biblical solution.

Other scriptures address the issue of anger:

Jesus said, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court” (Mathew 5:22). This verse deals with a series of increasing tensions culminating in vengeful and retaliatory anger.  The reference to brothers is by no means limited to familial relationships.  In the immediate context, it refers to fellow Jews but the verse may be properly extrapolated to include everyone.

In Ephesians 6:4, Paul declares that parents should not provoke their children to anger.  Parents must necessarily discipline their children and instruct them but this should be done according to the word of God.   Discipline should never be used to berate or intimidate children.

Open but gentle communication oftentimes removes the misunderstandings that have precipitated an angry response.

Techniques to Manage Anger

Anger is usually considered to be a feeling about or a reaction to certain events or thoughts.  Anger can be either pleasant or unpleasant.  An individual also may have a mixture of both pleasant and unpleasant anger.

A useful approach to anger management is to follow the “ABC” method.  This practices involves three simple steps, each indicated by a letter A, B, or C.

The letter “A” stand for abstention.  The idea is to refrain from thoughts or practices that might aggravate the situation.  Many factors involved in provoking anger are outside the individual’s ability to change, but he may certainly control his response to these factors.   Abstain from escalating the tension.  Abstain from cursing and yelling.  Abstain from throwing objects.  Abstain from all threats.  If all else fails, abstain from remaining—remove yourself from the situation.  The abstention technique may be difficult to practice in the heat of the moment, but it will invariably de-escalate the situation.

The letter “B” represents believe.   To have victory over anger you must believe in the principles of peace, happiness, and loving relationships.  It is essential to believe that a happy marriage and peace with your family members, neighbors and church members is attainable.

Self-restraint and patience are corollaries to the principle of belief.  Victory over personal anger should not be based solely on selfish motives but rather extend to others because we believe in them.  We want to see them changed positively and so we must be willing to act in self-restraint and with patience.

The letter “C” denotes communication.  Open but gentle communication oftentimes removes the misunderstandings that have precipitated an angry response.  It may be that there is a simple misinterpretation of words expressed.  Or perhaps there were words that were poorly chosen or that have a different meaning to the listener.  Additionally, vocal tone and facial expressions or gestures may be misinterpreted.  These factors may be easily resolved by simple communication.

Because the subject of anger is often referred to in the Bible, it most definitely has a spiritual aspect.  With this in mind, prayer is an essential tool for successfully gaining the victory over anger.  Saturating your mind with the following pertinent scriptures is recommended.

  • “Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20
  • “A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11
  • “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.” Proverbs 19:11
  • “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger pacifies contention.” Proverbs 15:18
  • “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.” Psalm 37:8-9

Dr. Mathew Vairamon, Esq. – Guest Contributor

The author of this article Dr. Mathew Vairamon, Esq. is an Attorney at Law and an Adjunct Professor in Prairie View A & M University, Texas.  He is a certified anger resolution therapist and a minister in the word of God. The author lives in Stafford, Texas and his email is mathewvairamon@gmail.com.

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