What to Do with Anger

I was up before my alarm this morning, the sunrise creeping through the blinds in our bedroom. Close to 8, I started to read, procrastinate on brushing my teeth and get the day started. Ever had a day off where the to-do list (and the elephant on your anxiety ridden chest) won’t shut off (or get off) and pretty much an hour into reading, you realize you’re still working on the same sentence?

Welcome to my morning.

A little after nine, a yappy dog started yapping next door (or was it the apartment just over the fence? Or was it our neighbor’s incessant poodle?) I am embarrassed that I yelled from my bed towards my closed windows for the animal to cease his yapping.

To no avail.

Then, right before my computer died, I remembered my charger was at the office. I tossed threw the covers off, stuffed my cranky legs into skinny jeans, punched my arms through an old white tank, twisted my hair into a top knot and finally brushed my teeth.

Coffee. I need coffee. The coffee shop will be quiet.

Except for the tree people working alongside neatly coned off, gargantuan trucks, making mulch with their extra large machine (a strange white metal contraption that is basically a paper shredder for tree trunks). At this moment, you can probably recall a moment in the office where you wanted to kill the person who insisted upon shredding every piece of paper in their filing cabinet. Multiply that times about 1,000 (then picture yourself in a desert temperature of about 101 degrees) and you will hear (and feel) the shrilling noise of tree people making mulch.

Insert head on steering wheel, internal scream prayer “I JUST WANT SOME PEACE AND QUIET! NO NOISE ANYWHERE INSIDE OR OUT!” here.

Very encouraging blog Ashley. Thank you for sharing.

I read a great book in 2007 (in 2009 and again 2011) called “Anger: The Forbidden Emotion”, by some men who are excellent at walking people through their recovery journey. The discussion point of the book is women and anger – the pressure women feel in our society to internalize anger, which usually turns into some form of self harm or neglect (guilty) or to smile and pretend they don’t ever feel angry, which usually turns into passive aggressive, sarcastic and biting sideways comments and complaints.

What in the world do you do with anger?

Since I felt an explosion coming on today, here’s some things I personally practice to help me help myself with anger:

Don’t talk.

That’s right, I just shut up. If the power of life and death is in my tongue, when I experience a nausea wave from the volcano in my emotions, I had better shut up. Hot lava never helped anybody – hello Pompeii. The next words out of my mouth will usually be 1. Snappy (there’s another word for this, but I am saved now) 2. Whiny 3. Complaining 4. Irrational 5. Negative Nancy 6. Debbie Downer 7. Mary Martyr. Remember, the world is not ending because I am having a bad day. Every person on the Earth does not deserve a verbal lashing because I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. And all the things I am concerned about are not going to crap because I am having a bad day. There is a Savior – I am not Him. We can blow it in one emotional moment, if we don’t command ourselves to silence.

Take deep breaths and pray.

I am talking pregnant woman lamaze, yoga, pilates, oxygen filling, toxin expelling deep long breaths (I did these today at the laundry mat – sorry to everyone who was there). Take 5. Ask God for help. He’s our very present help in time of need. He made himself human so there is no part of our flesh he is unable to understand. Pray.

Move your body.

Anger shoots adrenaline through us like a tidal wave. That energy is best expended through breathing, prayer, and action. Walk around the block. Do 10 push ups. Do laundry. Do some boxing moves (just not on your friends, husband, boss, or anything with a pulse).

Share with intention.

Now that we’re calm enough to practice responsible communication, go ahead and have some. Take responsibility for your life (hard). Admit failure and weakness (harder). Process when it all went wrong with a trusted friend (hardest). Change (OK maybe that’s the hardest). I did this over lunch today and you know what, I feel less like the world around me is crumbling and more like I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (and my attitude). I feel equipped to make decisions and not stand still in terror (Habakkuk 3:19 AMP).

Get up.

We fall down and we get up. (Is that a really good gospel song or did I just think that up?) Unresolved, unprocessed anger is paralyzing. Did you know that depression is actually rooted in anger? Get up. Try again. God’s compassion never fails us and His mercies are new every morning (and if you’re like me, every moment).

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