by Tom Plonski
God is the creator of all things visible and invisible.
Man can use God's creations for a good purpose or for evil purpose. For example, fire is one of God's creations. It can be used to do good or to do evil. What we do with fire is up to us. So it is with anger. Anger also is one of God's creations. Many animals have been given the instinctive reaction of anger. God also gave man the instinct of anger. We have within us the capacity to become angry. What we do with the instinct of anger is totally up to us. We can use the instinct of anger to do good or we can use the instinct of anger to do evil. What we do with anger is up to us.
Anger is a reaction. It is a reaction to frustration. When we experience frustration we instinctively become angry. There are no other causes of anger. There is only one cause of anger. Anger is a reaction to frustration.
We have been given three instinctive ways to cope with dangerous or frustrating situations:
* Freeze up or ignore the situation. (For example, become perfectly still and motionless in hopes that the situation will disappear on its own or become less threatening or at least give us some time to think of a way to deal with it.)
* Flee from the situation.
* Become angry and attack.
Note: Some people do not realize there are three instinctive coping mechanisms to deal with frustration or danger. Normally we only hear of "Fight or flight." If you have ever accidentally walked toward a snake in the wilderness, you will see that it does not immediately attack and it does not immediately run away. Instead it immediately becomes perfectly still and waits to see if you will leave without approaching closer to it. I once walked near a rattle snake in a field. I saw the snake in time and came to a complete dead stop. I stood motionless for a few moments while I gathered my composure. The snake remained perfectly still. It was looking right at me and made no move whatsoever. After a few moments I very slowly took tiny steps backwards. After a while the snake also slowly retreated.
God also created instincts and emotions. All animals have instincts. Because of man's animal nature, man also has animal instincts and emotions.
When a mammal is suddenly confronted with a dangerous situation, the animal's instincts cause his adrenal glands to produce a physical reaction. This causes the animal to feel anger or fear. If the animal experiences fear, the animal will try to escape. The animal will try to run away. If the animal feels trapped and cannot escape, then the animal experiences anger. The anger gives the animal extra power to try to overcome the dangerous situation.
Fire, fear, and anger were all created by God. They were created for the good things that they can bring. But man has a free will. Man can use good things for bad purposes. Man can decide to use fire to burn down a house or a forest or a village. This does not mean that fire is bad. This means a man has chosen to abuse the gift of fire.
A fire in the wrong place or at the wrong time will cause damage. So too fear or anger in the wrong place or at the wrong time can cause damage.
A small amount of fear might just be a warning signal. "Stay alert! Be careful!" A small amount of anger might just be a warning signal. "Don't give up! Hang in there! You can do it! Persevere!"
A large amount of fear or anger can cause a person to lose his power to think clearly. A large or persistent amount of anger or fear can cause a person to act on pure animal instincts. This can cause panic or rage. Under such stress a person can do things he will later strongly regret.
God is good. Our God is a good God. All things God creates are good. One of the things God created was fire. Fire is a gift from God. Man's life is better because of fire. Fire is a good thing for man to use. But fire can also be destructive. Fire is good for mankind only when fire can be controlled. So also it is with anger.
Just as fire is a gift from God, so too, fear and anger are gifts from God. A person can respect fire, fear, and anger as gifts from God and use these gifts carefully and for good purposes. A person can also choose to abuse these gifts from God and instead use these gifts for evil purposes. Anger and fear, like fire, can be used for good purpose. But they can all be devastating if left uncontrolled.
We tell children,"Don't play with matches." We need to also say something like that about anger and fear. Don't let fear or anger cause preventable damage to yourself and your loved ones. We teach children how to use fire and we also teach them how to keep fire under control. We also need to teach our children how to use fear and anger without letting fear and anger get out of control. Yes, I said, "use" fear and anger. Fear and anger can be harnessed and used just as fire is harnessed and used.
Fear causes the adrenal power to be sent to the large muscles of the legs. Fear will allow you to run much faster than normal. Anger causes the adrenal power to be sent to the large muscles of the arms. Anger will allow the animal to strike blows which are much stronger than normal. In a boxing match the boxer wants to get angry. Anger will give him much more power to defeat his boxing opponent. A football coach wants his players to rouse anger during a football game. Many times this sheer angry determination is the deciding factor that causes the championship team to win. By the same token, the boxer does not want to feel fear and the football coach does not want to rouse fear in his players. The fearful boxer and the fearful football team will surely lose. On the other hand, a combination of anger and fear puts extra temporary strength in the legs and the arms at the same time. This is the combination that allows a mother to lift a heavy weight like a car off the body of her wounded child.
History is replete with war stories of great heroism, strength, and speed performed by soldiers in battle. Is there any place that has a greater concentration of fear and anger than hand to hand combat in a battlefield in time of war? Can you imagine the fate of a soldier in battle with no fear and no anger. This poor soldier is surely doomed to be slaughtered.
God created fear and anger in you for a good purpose. They are there to help you survive.
HOW CAN YOU CONTROL ANGER?
There was a man who became so angry with his neighbor that he burned his neighbor's house down. This was not a healthy use of fire and this was not a healthy use of anger.
Trying to stifle your anger and keep it all inside is not the healthiest way to deal with your anger. Continually or frequently stifling your anger can cause unhealthy bodily and mental disorders. Instead, try to understand what is happening to your body when you are getting angry. Use this sudden burst of energy in a healthy way.
Has your anger caused your legs to have extra energy? Do your legs have the urge to move? Then use up this energy. But use up this energy in a healthy way. Walk, or pace, or run, or go up and down some stairs, or do some squats. This way of using the body energy caused by anger will result in building body strength and endurance. Also this way of using up the extra energy causes the body to produce endorphins. Endorphins will change your mood to one of contentment and pleasure instead of anger. Because of the endorphin effect your mood could quickly change to one that is healthier and more pleasant.
Has your anger caused your arms to have extra energy? Do your arms have the urge to push or hit? Then use up this energy. But use up this energy in a healthy way. Do some form of push-ups. Do you feel like pounding your desk? Then, instead of pounding, lay your fists on the desk, lean forward and do some desk-level pushups. You do not even need to leave your seat. Do you feel like hitting something? Do you feel like punching a hole in the wall or punching a hole in a door? Then, instead of punching, lean both fists against a wall and lean forward and do against-the-wall pushups. This way of using the body energy caused by anger will result in building body strength and endurance. Also this way of using up the extra energy causes the body to produce endorphins. Endorphins will change your mood to one of contentment and pleasure instead of anger. Because of the endorphin effect your mood could quickly change to one that is healthier and more pleasant.
In the midst of these exercises have a sense of humor. Laugh at yourself a little bit. It is hard to be laughing and angry at the same time.
What is more: If you habitually use your little episodes of anger to do these body exercises, you will be building your physical strength and endurance. Then, if you ever are in a real situation where you should be hitting someone or you should be running away, you will be in much better shape to actually do it.
What we do with the instinct of anger is totally up to us. We can use the instinct of anger to do good or we can use the instinct of anger to do harm. What we do with anger is up to us.
God created fear and anger in you for a good purpose. They are there to help you survive.
I invite you to read the other pages of my Happiness Essays. I hope they will help you to become the happiest person you can be. You can read more at www.TomPlonski.com
Last modified: July 22, 2012