Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Angry? 8 Steps to a Healthy Response

Anger is a natural, biological response, a survival mode that God has created that occurs when we feel threatened.  As adrenaline escalates, a rapidly escalating process occurs that can quickly lead to a point of no return. However, we are able to make pro-active choices to interrupt that process and communicate our feelings in ways that are healthy and respectful.

We must claim these two truths: 
I never have a right to hurt anyone unless it is in physical self-defense.
When I hurt someone inappropriately, it destroys our relationship and it also hurts me.

STEP 1 - Acknowledge that you have an anger problem.

STEP 2 - Make the choice to accept responsibility for managing your own anger, instead of managing another’s behavior.

STEP 3 - Identify the feelings behind your anger.
Hurt, frustration, fear, or disrespect.

STEP 4 - Identify the first physical sign of anger.
Dry mouth, racing heart, churning stomach, pounding head, clenched fists, raised voice.

STEP 5 - Quickly and quietly take a time-out.
At the first physical sign of anger, without a word, quietly leave the room for at least 20 minutes. Make it impossible for you to show your anger to those around you.  Do something physical to reduce the adrenaline and release physical tension. Take a walk, go for a run, or work out. Do not get behind the wheel of a car.

STEP 6 - Cool down and process.
Sit quietly with God. Through prayer or journaling, talk with Him about what you’ve experienced.
- Acknowledge the situation, your feelings, and how you responded.
- Ask for forgiveness for any responses that were inappropriate, unhealthy, or unkind.
- Make a plan to respond in a more positive way the next time you feel hurt, frustrated, fearful, or disrespected.

STEP 7 - Re-engage, listen well, and communicate with love and respect.
Engage in positive interaction. The goals are to improve the relationship and to solve a problem.
- Use respectful words to communicate your feelings of hurt, frustration, fear, or disrespect.
- Use "I" statements, not "you" statements.
- Ask for forgiveness for your responses that were inappropriate, unhealthy, or unkind.

STEP 8 - Pray together.
This might be the hardest step of all. But it certainly can be the most rewarding – and bring you together to talk with the only One who is able to equip you to choose to communicate in ways that are Christ-honoring.


- photo by Out_of_place -


  1. So I came over to read this Linda. Well written.
    Thanks for the Link on GMG today.
    Sweet Blessings

    1. Always neat when someone leaves a comment on an older post!

      And even though no one has left a comment since it was written way back in 2011, hundreds of people have read these 8 steps and countless numbers of clients are very familiar with this conversation.

      I consider this one of the most important posts I've written because Christian women, in particular, are in no way immune to serious anger issues. This is a huge problem, but few want to admit they're dealing with it.

      But just ask their families ...


Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...


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