"A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention."
As Joyce Meyer has warned, "Many people ruin their health and their lives by taking the poison of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness." When anger and rage are allowed to fester, they can erupt, causing damage to everything and everyone around. Proverbs 15:18 distinguishes between a man filled with rage and a man of peace: "A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention."
This scenario may sound all too familiar: You are riding to work with a significant other, friend or relative, when another car cuts you off. Your significant other bursts into a rage, shouting obscenities at the driver. Or you are waiting in line to be seated at a restaurant, when the hostess mistakenly seats another couple who just walked in. Your hot-tempered friend shouts at the restaurant staff, insisting that you be taken to a table first.
Maybe your partner or best friend never shouts, screams or curses directly at you, But doesn't his or her anger affect you somehow? Anger can cause high blood pressure, digestive disturbances, headaches and altered sleep patterns in chronically angry people. Constant exposure to anger may have an impact on your health, as well. If you feel your blood pressure spiking or your stomach knotting whenever your loved one throws a tantrum, their anger may be affecting you more than you realize.
If your partner, friend or loved one is abusive or violent to you or your children, seek help from emergency services, a family crisis center or a shelter for victims of domestic violence immediately.
Effects of Secondhand Anger
Not unlike secondhand cigarette smoke, secondhand anger may affect the people surrounding the angry person. When a chronically angry individual uses angry outbursts as a way to vent frustration, fear or sadness, you may be absorbing those emotions and reacting to these powerful feelings as if they were your own. If you have shortness of breath, headaches, an accelerated heart rate or acid indigestion in the angry person's presence, you may be feeling the effects of secondhand anger.
There may be nothing you can do to heal chronic rage, but you can take positive steps to protect yourself physically and emotionally against secondhand anger. Most importantly, understand that you cannot turn a chronically angry person into a serene, calm and contented individual. In fact, some angry people use their anger to keep their friends and family in a state of tension, doing everything they can to prevent outbursts.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
Avoiding an angry person may help in the short term, but it will not solve your own response to secondhand anger. Taking steps to protect yourself and keep yourself calm and healthy is crucial. If you are able to detach from your loved one's anger, you may find that these outbursts no longer make your pulse rise or your stomach churn.
These tips for taking care of your body and mind may help you resist the effects of secondhand anger:
. Form a support network of positive friends and family members who make you feel happy and refreshed.
. Exercise regularly - with your doctor's approval - to relieve your own stress and anxiety.
. Eat nutritious, low-fat meals that include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. These foods are rich in essential vitamins and minerals that help steady your nerves, prevent illness and regulate blood pressure.
. Limit or eliminate caffeine, tobacco, and other stimulants that might make you anxious or nervous.
. Take part in a relaxing activity that makes you feel healthy, calm and strong, like light hiking, yoga, swimming, golf, dancing or meditation.
. When you are with an angry person, remind yourself that you cannot control his or her emotions. Visualize the person's rage as a red fog, which surrounds that person but never touches you.
. Frequent tantrums may be a sign of depression, fear or a mood disorder. Although you cannot resolve another person's emotional conflicts or make them seek treatment for chronic anger, viewing their rage in a compassionate, detached light may help you cope with an outburst when it occurs.
Realizing that you are not responsible for the person's anger and that nothing you do will change your loved one's emotional responses can take time and effort. A counselor or a support group may help you learn how to detach from another person's anger without abandoning your loved one emotionally. Consult your health-care provider about resources in your community.
MayoClinic.com. (2011) Anger Management. mayoclinic.com/health/anger-management/MY00689
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great! You are clothed with honor and majesty, covering Yourself with light as a garment, who stretches out the heavens like a tent curtain, who lays the upper beams of His chambers on the waters above, who makes the clouds His chariot, who rides upon the wings of the wind, who makes His angels as winds, His ministers a flaming fire.
You laid the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; at the sound of Your thunder they departed away. The mountains rose up; the valleys went down to the place that You appointed them. You set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not again cover the earth.
You send the springs to gush forth in the valleys, which flow between the hills. They give drink to every animal of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. By them the birds of the heavens have their habitation; they sing among the branches. You water the mountains from Your lofty chamber; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works. You cause the grass to grow for the cattle and plants for the cultivation of man, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine that makes glad the heart of man, and oil that makes shine his face, and bread that strengthens his heart. The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that He has planted, where the birds make their nests, where the stork has its home in the fir trees. The high mountains are for the wild goats, and the rocks a refuge for the badgers.
He set the moon to mark the appointed seasons; the sun knows its time for going down. You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest go forth. The young lions roar after their prey and seek their food from God. When the sun arises, they gather themselves together and lay down in their dens. Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until the evening.
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! With wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures—so is this great and wide sea, which is full of innumerable creatures, living animals both small and great. There go the ships, and there is
Leviathan, which You have made to play in it.
These all wait upon You, that You may give them their food in due season. When You give it to them, they gather it; when You open Your hand, they are filled with good food. When You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, and they die and return to their dust. When You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the surface of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works. He looks on the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. May my meditation be
sweet to Him, for I will be glad in the Lord. Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!