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Anger Management
6/12/2017 12:03:00 PM by: Staff

Chapter 5: Fitness

When we see the weak victimized by the strong, we get angry. When we find that people we trust with authority misuse their power, we get angry. These feelings are called righteous indignation, and they are a gift from God that keeps us from tolerating things that are totally unacceptable.

Other things make us angry too, but that sort of anger is not always appropriate. That’s the kind of anger you feel when you lose your temper. Perhaps you did not get something you thought you deserved. Perhaps you felt like someone “took” your usual spot or that bit of advice was “insulting your intelligence.” That sort of anger is not a gift from God; it’s more of a challenge to our character. A wise Trailman rises up to meet that challenge and wins.

When you’re angry, your body goes into overdrive. You get a burst of energy, and your heartbeat and respiration increase. The best thing is for you to use that energy constructively. Fix the problem by sweeping up the broken glass, stacking up the fallen canned goods, or finding something that had nothing to do with your anger but needs some real “elbow grease” applied. A physically intense task can help work the anger out of your system.

If you can’t sweat out that surge of anger, delay your reaction. The physical part of your anger that makes you want to break things subsides very quickly. Your urge to say something really crushing is like a sand castle on the beach when the tide of your common sense comes in; after a few waves wash over it, it flattens out nicely. There is a lot of wisdom in that old custom of counting to ten before responding. Cool off, breathe deeply, and pretend that what you’ll say or do will be recorded to watch later with your parents.

Measured responses are best. That’s when you judge how strongly you need to react and keep to that limit. Blurting out something really hurtful or taking a swing at someone who offended you only makes things worse. You may lose a friend forever, and while that may not seem like a great loss while you’re still angry, there may come a time when you regret having said things you can’t take back.

Stick to the conflict at hand. If you’re not making headway during a conflict, don’t latch on to some different thing to give you an edge. If you’re on a campout and somebody didn’t watch the stove and burned your meal, don’t bring up that he borrowed your flashlight on the last campout without asking. Such a reaction muddies the matter at hand, making it more difficult to resolve things.

Most importantly, remember not to let the sun go down on your wrath. Real life problems don’t always sort themselves out in a half hour the way they do on sitcoms, but you should make a good faith effort not to let things spill over into tomorrow.

 

This is an excerpt from chapter eight of The Trailman’s Handbook for Adventurers and Navigators. Get your copy at TrailLifeUSAStore.com.

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