This is PART THREE of a four part series. If you missed Part One, I encourage you to go back and read the beginning, My Anger Story.
Over 100 of you have contacted me with your stories and comments and I consider it my privilege to be praying for you, but I want to encourage you to find someone you can confide in this week. Pray and ask God to reveal to you a person (a pastor, counselor, co-worker, or friend) who you can turn to as an accountability partner.
Also, make sure that you are seeking friendship from other adults throughout the week especially if you are a stay-at-home parent. After being in the house all day with four children, sometimes I just need to go look into the face of adults. I am afraid that when I spend too much time with my children, I start to talk to them as if they are older or think they should respond to me as adults would. Even a trip to the grocery store can help me keep a grip on reality.
So, find someone you can confide in and seek out an adult face regularly. But, if you think those two tasks will be difficult, the hardest assignment is just ahead.
Analyze your anger
If you want to stop reaching the point where you lose control, you have to understand what it is that is bringing you that far into your rage. I want to encourage you to start paying attention to yourself. Keep a tablet or notebook handy and make notes when you yell. Ask yourself questions.
- Why did you do lose your temper?
- What happened just before you grew so angry?
- How are you feeling? Do you have a headache? Are you hungry?
- When was the last time you went outside?
- How did your body react as your anger grew?
- Think, think, think.
The most helpful things I learned through tracking my anger were:
- I was less-likely to blow up when I was spending time with God every morning. Finding time alone to read the Bible was tough (and still is) because the earlier I rise, the earlier my kids seem to get up.
- I recognized my triggers for a meltdown. Physical pain (like a headache) always makes me more sensitive to a bout of rage. Lack of sleep does it too.
- I focused on my behavior before a meltdown and tried to eliminate those habits. I would clinch my jaw and my fists before flying into a rage. I had to learn to make myself release the muscles in my hands and face.
- I needed to take a little time for me. I always put myself last and it caused me to become bitter towards my family.
- I had to learn to relax. I studied different relaxation techniques and found one that I loved. I’ll put the instructions below.
- I built a happy place in my mind. Using visual imagery, I created a place to go to in my head when I was starting to boil over. I spent several days, a half hour each day, building this place. I could hear it. See it. Smell it. When I started to get angry, I would leave the room or close my eyes and imagine myself there.
My favorite relaxation technique…
Lie down and close your eyes. Focus on the top of you head. Tense up your face, ears, and neck. Squeeze the muscles as hard as you can and hold it. Then, release and let the tension flow out your ears and mouth. Next, do the same thing with your arms, hands, and chest. Work your way down your body focusing on one section at a time, squeezing tightly and then releasing.
Something else that works for me is to imagine the tension being sucked from my body as if someone was slowly passing a magic something-or-other over me that would draw out the tension. If that sounds a little “out there,” you can imagine God’s hands over you, pulling out the stress one part of your body at a time.
What is your favorite way to relax?
More from this series ~
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