September 2008

Dealing Positively with Anger

Have you ever felt anger creeping over you like a virus? Or felt so angry you wanted to scream and kick something? Anger happens daily to all of us. Anger is not a bad thing; it is what we do when we are angry that is either helpful or hurtful. Dr. Gary Chapman has written a book called Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way (2007) that addresses how we can use anger positively.

In one section of his book, Dr. Chapman lays out a workable process to handle our anger towards people we love. The two arching themes in our reaction to our anger must always be both positive and loving. How? It’s a 5 step process:

Step 1: Acknowledge to yourself that you are angry. Say these words to yourself, “I am angry. What am I going to do?”

Step 2: Restrain your immediate response. Don’t let your emotions sweep you into saying or doing something hurtful. Count to 10 (or 100), tell God you are angry, take a time-out.

Step 3: Find the focus of your anger. Why are you feeling angry? Is it a major or a minor issue?

Step 4:
What are you options? Think through what your response could be. Should you lovingly confront? Should you choose to overlook? Should you turn it over to God and let him deal with the offender?

Step 5:
Take action. Share your decision with God, and then do it.

Practicing this 5 step response to anger will not only keep us from lashing out when we are angry but also give us the means to use the emotion of anger productively.
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