Thursday, July 29, 2021

How to Live with -and without- Anger: Why It Matters (1)

Don't confuse feeling angry with words spoken and actions taken in anger. We are not bad or sinful because we get angry. It comes with our being human. However, our bodies are not meant to maintain a perpetual fight or flight response. Anger may feel good for a short time as it floods our bodies with adrenaline. However, it’s not by accident that the Scripture gives this important distinction between feeling- and feeding on- anger. “So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.” Ephesians 4: 22-25

When is anger no longer "fun?" For me, it's when I'm tired of being angry. There's depletion, exhaustion, depression, and fatigue.  

A family, marriage, or friendship is often damaged and sometimes destroyed by people acting or speaking in anger. Road rage between complete strangers seriously endangers freeways. Vehicles are used as weapons and bullets fly because of a real or perceived aggression. 

Too,  The Big Book of AA mentions  "resentment" or "being burned up" as not only very destructive to spiritual health, but the number one offender in drinking again. 

The physical costs of anger are well documented in the classic, Anger Kills by Redford and Virginia Williams.  In most cases, when our anger has been triggered, we have already told ourselves one of two things (or maybe both):  1) the situation is not fair and 2) it's out of our control. 

What can I do with anger?

1. Recognize anger’s danger and destructiveness- for you and others.

2. Admit and identify a trigger—only when you are not angry.

3. Instead of venting it out, walk it out. Venting often makes me angrier. Walking can help me release the toxic overload of stress hormones and come to my senses.

4. Is my anger justified? If yes, is there any way I can work to improve the situation? If not, how can I diffuse anger- with wisdom, and even laughter?

5. Own your anger. I can’t expect others to deal with something I want to avoid. If I have hurt someone in anger, it is mine- not theirs- to go to them and make it right- simply, honestly and quickly. 

6. Don’t lose sleep! Each evening, I can tell God my thanksgivings for the day, confess when I was ungrateful and dedicate my rest to God.

7. I can continue to choose what my spiritual legacy will be. What role will gratitude play in marking my life and character? What memories and words will describe my life?

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