All things considered, anger is a necessary human emotion, one that is usually healthy and normal. But there are times it can get out of control and be destructive, hurting personal and professional relationships and one’s overall quality of life.
Anger therapy can help your relationships and career, but more importantly, it can help your health. Those who are angry often experience frequent head and stomach pains, and uncontrolled anger can eventually lead to heart disease, elevated blood pressure, and cancer.
What Does the Bible Say About Anger?
The Bible teaches that uncontrolled anger is harmful, both to the person who harbors it and to those around him. (Proverbs 29:22) Although anger may be justified at times, the Bible says that those who continue to have “fits of anger” will not gain salvation. (Galatians 5:19-21) The Bible contains principles that can help a person deal with anger.
Is Having or Expressing Anger Always a Bad Thing?
Nope! Anger may and can be justified in many cases. For example, the faithful man Nehemiah “became very angry” when he learned that some of his fellow worshippers were being oppressed (Nehemiah 5:6). At times, God feels anger.
For example, when his ancient people broke their agreement to worship only him and started to serve false gods, “Jehovah’s anger blazed against” them. (Judges 2:13, 14) Even so, anger is not a dominant aspect of Jehovah God’s personality. His anger is always justified and controlled (Exodus 34:6; Isaiah 48:9).
But When is Anger a “Bad” Thing?
Anger is wrong when it is uncontrolled or unjustified, which is often the case with the anger displayed by imperfect humans. Some examples perfectly illustrate the imperfection of humans, “man’s anger does not bring about God’s righteousness.” (James 1:20).
- Cain “grew hot with anger” when God rejected his sacrifice. Cain allowed his anger to fester to the point that he murdered his brother (Genesis 4:3-8).
- The prophet Jonah “became hot with anger” when God showed mercy to the Ninevites. God corrected Jonah, pointing out that it was not “right for [him] to be so angry” and that he should have felt compassion for those repentant sinners (Jonah 3:10–4:1, 4, 11).
What Are Some Healthy Ways of Effectively Dealing and Managing Anger?
Here are six healthy strategies for effectively dealing with and managing anger:
1. Recognize the danger of uncontrolled anger.
Some may think that unleashing their anger is a sign of strength. Someone who cannot control his anger has a serious weakness. “As a city broken through, without a wall, is the man who cannot control his temper” (Proverbs 25:28; 29:11). On the other hand, when we cultivate the ability to control our anger, we demonstrate true strength and discernment (Proverbs 14:29). The Bible says: “The one slow to anger is better than a mighty man” (Proverbs 16:32).
2. Deal with anger before it causes you to do something you will regret.
“Let go of anger and abandon rage,” says Psalm 37:8, adding: “Do not become upset and turn to doing evil.” Notice that when we feel angry, we have a choice – we can choose to let it go before we end up “doing evil.” As Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be wrathful, but do not sin.”
3. If possible, take your leave when anger starts to build.
“Beginning a fight is like opening a floodgate,” says the Bible. “Before the quarrel breaks out, take your leave” (Proverbs 17:14). Although it is wise to settle differences with others quickly, both you and the other person may first need to cool down before you can discuss matters calmly.
4. Get the facts.
“The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger,” says Proverbs 19:11. We are wise to gather all the facts before forming a conclusion. When we carefully listen to all sides of a matter, we are less likely to feel unjustified anger (James 1:19).
5. Pray for peace of mind.
Prayer can help you experience “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Prayer is one of the main ways we receive God’s holy spirit, which can produce in us such qualities as peace, patience, and self-control (Luke 11:13; Galatians 5:22, 23).
6. Choose your associates carefully.
We tend to become like the people we associate with (Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33). For good reason, the Bible warns: “Do not keep company with a hot-tempered man or get involved with one disposed to rage.” Why? “So that you never learn his ways and ensnare yourself” (Proverbs 22:24, 25).
What is Anger Therapy?
Anger therapy is a psycho-therapeutic program for anger control and prevention. Many therapeutic strategies are available to help you deal with anger issues, but the most popular is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a brief treatment that has proven to be the most highly effective anger management therapy.
Through CBT sessions with a licensed therapist, patients will often undergo:
- Mindfulness training
- Restructuring of dysfunctional thoughts
- Healthy distress tolerance training
- Emotion regulation and empathy training
- Skill-building to translate anger to assertiveness
Why is Anger Therapy Helpful?
Anger therapy can help you manage angry outbursts; understand your anger’s roots including underlying, painful emotions; identify healthy coping strategies; channel your anger into healthier endeavors and enhance your communication and relationships with those around you.
By going through the exercises listed above, patients will learn to better communicate their needs, maintain better health, prevent psychological and social problems linked to anger, learn empathy skills, and avoid addictive behaviors. People who are reluctant to get help for their angry may sometimes turn to alcohol, drugs, or food to try to manage or decrease feelings of anger.
What are the Benefits of Anger Therapy?
Through anger therapy, patients learn to help themselves stay calm and handle tense situations in a constructive, positive way. These skills can help them avoid anger suppression, which can lead to hypertension, depression, and anxiety.
Other benefits include better:
Judgment: Anger makes us incapable of grasping the situation in an unbiased way and makes us prone to making mistakes in sound reasoning. Anger management helps an individual to channel their anger better so his or her control and temper are not lost, allowing the individual to analyze situations more objectively.
Communication: Anger is often caused by miscommunications that result in misunderstandings. Learning how to improve communication makes dialogue easier and more controlled.
Understanding of empathy: A big part of therapy is learning empathy for others, which helps one party to understand the other better, decreasing chances of further conflict or disputes.
Relationships: Many people who have anger-related issues stay away from their loved ones or are asked to stay away because they can hurt people with their strong emotions – the ones we love are our nearest, easiest victims. Learning to control your anger will help put others at ease about outbursts and better able to focus on your relationship.
Prayer to Help Calm an Angry Mind
Sovereign Lord, bring peace to my mind and my heart as I feel angry at the situation I am in. May I take hold of your promise that you will never leave me nor forsake me. In whatever circumstances I face that produce anger in my heart, remind me that you have not left my side and you never will.
When you are with me, I can trust you to fight my battles, I do not need to allow anger to take control. Almighty and All-Powerful Father help me feel calm when I become angry. When pressure and conflict make me feel surrounded, remind me that I am surrounded by your presence.
When you are with me, I do not need to lash out in anger. Please remove my anger towards other people and replace it with trust in your provision and care. May confidence in your love replace any anger about my circumstances. When I feel angry due to unmet expectations, remind me that satisfaction can be found only in you. May the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit be with me today.
In Jesus’ Name We Pray, Amen.
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