Fibromyalgia,  Health,  Reviews

How to Work Through Anger

Disclaimer: If you click and purchase from some of the links below I will get some change towards my dream of being a full-time writer. I still truly believe in these products as they have helped me tremendously.

After discussing this post with some friends, I was convicted of something I feel I need to tell you before you read this:

Anger is a heart issue.

No matter what we do to try to get rid of the outward signs of anger, if our hearts are not transformed by God, we will remain a slave to anger. Click To Tweet

My Experience

Guess what I have been working through for quite a while? You guessed it! Anger. Why does this pesky little bugger keep popping up when I want to rest? This morning it is especially evident as I listen to the Calm app. The focus for today’s meditation is on loving kindness.

Bleh. My mind thinks before I even press the play button. As I walk through the steps I realize that I seem to be angry at everyone and everything. Why? Because I feel like my whole world has been turned upside down.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like things at work or at home are just changing too quickly for you to keep up? Have you ever felt like, just when you were getting the hang of things, they switched it up on you?

You’re not alone. So, what do we do with this raging pile of emotions we have become?

What Do We Do?

Try to ignore it? Ha! If you’ve tried this before, you know why I’m laughing. It doesn’t work for the long term. It just simmers and waits for something to trigger it. Then you are trying to explain to your husband why you just yelled at him for no apparent reason. Not that I speak from personal experience or anything…

Muscle it out? Oh, no. There is nothing worse to do toward anger than to just self-will it away. Usually, you are using anger to fuel this “self-discipline” and this will never end well. This is what I have been trying to do for, oh, about a month, and it hasn’t been pretty. I am snappy toward everyone and sinking into a depression.

Run toward it? That sounds self-destructive, but hear me out. This is a concept that I learned from Davey Blackburn in his post Run Toward the Roar. Blackburn explains Levi Lusko’s unpacking of the comparison of Satan to a roaring lion. The roar of a lion scares potential prey away from it into the waiting paws of a lioness. By running away from my anger, as I have for the past month, I have been only making working through my anger more difficult. My writing this post is my running toward my anger to try to understand where it is coming from.

Now I understand fully why I am angry, I can more fully address my anger. I must be honest with myself:

“I am angry because I think I deserve to be comfortable. I feel like the rules have been changed even though I followed them. I am angry because I am not sure who to trust.” As I write these words I feel their power leaving me. I am no longer clinging to these thoughts but holding them loose, out in the open.

Try it!

Write down why you are angry by finishing this sentence: I am angry because_________. Feel free to use this phrase over and over again until you have drained your angry bucket of all its fuel.

You can get my FREE worksheet for this exercise below.

Other Helpful Resources

Who Moved My Cheese

My co-worker introduced me to this marvelous book called Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. It is a metaphorical tale about change using cheese as the symbol for comfort and livelihood. This book is full of gems of wisdom for when life unexpectedly changes. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

Life moves on and so should we. – Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese?

What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine. The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists. – Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese?

I guess we resist changing because we are afraid of change. – Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese?

Cultivate

This is a book that changed my life. (Cultivate by Lara Casey) Seriously. I’m not even exaggerating. Amanda Warfield introduced me to it, and I am forever grateful. I learned from this book how to set reasonable goals, cover them with prayer, and accept grace when I’m imperfect at completing them. Lara Casey says some wonderful things in Cultivate:

She believed she couldn’t, so God did. – Lara Casey

Cultivate

God doesn’t call us to comfort; he calls us to follow him. – Lara Casey

Cultivate

The seasons teach us how to do life well, revealing a life-giving rhythm: we flourish through intentional periods of stillness, growth, hard work, and rest. – Lara Casey

Cultivate

When life feels undone and plans seem unclear, we say, God, I trust You. When we’re in the wait, we say, Your will be done. When we feel lost or alone, we say, God, You are in this place. When the world presses in on us, we say, Lord, You are mighty. And when we’re feeling weak and defeated, and tempted to offer words of ingratitude for the season we’re in, we say, God, You are good. All the time. You are good. – Lara Casey

Cultivate

When we let God’s grace lead us, instead of perfection, good things get cultivated, right where we are. – Lara Casey

Cultivate

I don’t want to live in the lies of lack—focusing so much on what I don’t have that I miss all that I do have. – Lara Casey

Cultivate

You can probably tell by now that I would quote the whole book if I could. It is helping me so much to work through the frustration with the changes in my life. Cultivate by Lara Casey is a tall drink of cool water for my soul. If you love the book, check out her website. I have bought some of her helpful tools, like power sheets, to help me reach my goals.

The Bible

This book has so many encouraging verses that help put the change in my life in perspective. Check out this great article with inspirational verses paired with beautiful pictures.

A great theme throughout these verses is that God doesn’t change. This is a wonderfully comforting thought. No matter what changes in my life, I can remember that His character will always be the same. He will always love me, give me grace, do what is best for me, and be patient with me.

Calm App

The Calm App is amazingly helpful to me in working through emotions and bringing my mind to a clear and peaceful place. I highly recommend going through the Emotions Series and selecting Investigating Anger.

You may feel frustrated with it at first because busy minds do not like meditation. I kept up with it though, and I can now say, after a few months, that the meditation has helped with my pain and anxiety levels.

Let Me Sum Up

Basically, working through anger in a healthy way is difficult. When I looked at popular searches for anger, almost all of them were about how to control it instead of working through it. Working through my anger is more painful than simply controlling it, but, in the long run, this journey is making me a better person.

Anger doesn’t go away all at once. I continually practice patience, love, and mindfulness. My God has listened to my earnest prayers and has begun to heal me from the wounds and selfishness that causes my anger.

I hope these suggestions for working through anger help, and I would love to hear your story of how you worked or are working through your anger. Please also feel free to share any resources you might have. Let’s work through this together!

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional and only speak from personal experience. None of this advice should be taken instead of professional help.

16 Comments

  • Amanda

    I love how you have described anger so perfectly in this post. I’ve been realising recently that whilst I’m pretty good at getting angry at certain things (like injustice in the world as a whole), I’m not very good at experiencing the anger when it relates to things that affect my life specifically. That is what I need to work on, expressing anger about the things that have hurt me and which I have just brushed aside. Isn’t it strange how we can think we’re doing alright with things like this, only to realise we’ve just set up a whole new trap for ourselves (like running from the lion straight into the lioness!)

  • Susan Peck

    Glad to see you’re back to blogging! I love the authenticity of this post, and I can very much relate to the need to work through anger. I’m going to try the simple exercise of stating what I feel angry about (although I’ll be tweaking it to say “Right now I feel angry because…”, because “I am” statements have a lot of power, and angry is not who I am, it’s simply one of the emotions I feel). A few other techniques that have helped me are writing a letter to someone I feel angry at, letting it alllllll out (never to be sent or shared, of course!) – very cathartic. And a good hard workout or a peaceful yoga session can also really help. Praying for you!

    • Elizabeth Auwarter

      I love these ideas! That is such a good point about using “Right now I feel angry because…” that is such a more healthy way to say that! I like the idea of writing a letter. Yoga sounds really great! I think I might add running or Pure Barre to the mix too! I appreciate the prayers!

  • Ruth

    I must admit, before I say anything else, that I love your honesty in this post. 🙂 Anger is an area of weakness for me because I’m not angry very often so, when I am, I don’t know how to deal with it. My usual response is to bottle it up and then explode which doesn’t do anyone any favours. It’s so important to learn healthy ways of dealing with it and learning to feel it as it’s a natural part of life. Thanks for sharing your wisdom on this.

    • Elizabeth Auwarter

      Thank you, Ruth! I really appreciate your support. I was rather scared to be so honest, but I am glad that what I am learning can help others.

  • Amanda Warfield

    “Anger is a heart issue”

    You nailed it on the head in just one sentence! I fully agree that we have to run towards whatever emotions we’re feeling, even when instinct tells us to go in the other direction. Prayers for you in sorting through your anger dear!

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