The simple definition of an anger thermometer is a tool that helps people define, recognize, and manage their anger. Whether on paper or on screen, an anger thermometer visually represents how angry a person feels. It has different levels of anger displayed in various colors.
As you move up the anger thermometer, you can see the list of feelings and behaviors that correspond to the different colored levels. This visual chart helps people name their feelings when they are angry and recognize when it is time to manage anger more responsibly.
Parts of an anger thermometer.The anger thermometer has five main parts, described as follows:
Awareness is the first step you take when you want to manage your anger. This step involves identifying signs that you are feeling angry and gaining an understanding of the triggers for your angry feelings.
After awareness comes expression. Part of anger management is learning how to express your anger in a healthy way. Examples include speaking about your feelings with another person, writing your thoughts in a journal, practicing deep breaths, or taking a quick walk to burn off angry energy.
When you take time to reflect on the reasons why you felt angry and the triggers that caused your anger, you can learn to manage your anger better in the future. This step helps you have an objective perspective while you grow in understanding your reactions.
Once you have had time to reflect on your anger, it’s time to take action in a new and healthier direction. You may want to develop a plan to avoid triggering situations or speak with a counselor about deeper issues you have noticed.
This final step of anger management is to resolve all the issues that have arisen from your experience. You will take time to learn from mistakes, recognize how far you’ve come, and hone skills to keep you from engaging in unhealthy behaviors regarding your anger in the future.
Simple ways to manage anger.You may have felt discouraged that there are no practical ways for you to control your anger. But you can put several simple steps into your mental playbook to bring out the next time your anger is triggered. These steps practiced over time will make a big difference in how you manage your anger.
Here are some suggestions for you:
Take deep breaths.
A few deep breaths not only flood your system with much-needed oxygen. They can give you time to pause and think before you react in anger, and they help you calm down a bit when your emotions are running high.
Talk about it.
Talking about your anger is a much better way to handle it than bottling it up inside, where it can eventually explode. Identify a trusted friend or find a Christian counselor who will provide a safe place for you when you need to talk.
When you feel flooded with anger, exercise can be an excellent way to process the adrenaline coursing through your system. A brisk walk, shooting some baskets, jogging in place, and doing jumping jacks are all good things to do for 10 to 15 minutes when you feel angry.
Sometimes you just need to relax the tension in your mind and body to dissipate your anger. Building relaxation techniques into your day, such as meditating on scripture, being mindful when you are eating, and doing something relaxing when you get home are all good rhythms for keeping your anger at bay.
Write about it.
Journaling is an excellent way to release the tension anger creates in your mind. Try using a dedicated journal as a repository for your angry thoughts, and once you are finished writing in it, you may want to burn it as a symbol of destroying your anger.
Reframe your thoughts.
Sometimes angry thoughts simply need to be reframed. For example, you could change the thought “They got my order wrong again!” to this thought: “It’s just a sandwich, and it will be okay.”
Listen to music.
Create a playlist of songs that help you feel calm and relaxed, then play it when your anger is triggered. Music can have a powerfully calming effect on your angry thoughts.
Make time for yourself.
Often, we get angry because we have not reserved enough time for ourselves. Take time to do things you enjoy or simply do nothing at all to build up your emotional reserves and help you unplug from anger.
Take a break.
If your anger is stirred up in a personal conflict with someone, it’s always OK to say, “I need to take a break.” Then leave the room for a few minutes while you calm down. Taking a break helps you regain control and shows respect to the other person.
Look for humor.
Humor is a great way to dissipate a heated situation. Make it a habit to look at the humor even in hard things and choose to laugh as often as possible. Humor can open your perspective and help you not take things so seriously. Just be sure you are not laughing at other people as this can make things worse.
Bible verses for managing anger.
Memorize these verses so you can bring them back to mind in an angry moment. They will help you choose self-control instead of exploding.
Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. – Psalm 4:4, NLT
Anger is a sin if you let it control you. Take time to think about it and pray about it with God first before discussing it with others. Letting it sit overnight can help you clear your head by morning.
Angry words are often spoken with raised voices. Practice speaking in a calm, controlled voice. Then use this voice when you need to be firm but loving rather than exploding in harshness and anger.
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. – Proverbs 19:11, ESV
Many things which cause us anger really don’t need as much attention as we give them. Before you respond in anger, pause for a moment and ask yourself if you can overlook it just this one time. You may discover that you’re getting angry over things that really don’t matter. A Christian counselor can help you know the difference between what doesn’t matter and what needs to be addressed.
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man. – Proverbs 22:24, ESV
If the Bible tells us not to make friends with people who are angry, work hard at becoming the kind of person others don’t identify as an angry person.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. – James 1:19-20, ESV
It will take practice, but you can learn how to become slow to anger by responding to situations rather than reacting to them. You can work with a counselor to identify times that you’ve reacted in the past and learn how to respond in different ways.
How Christian counseling can help you manage anger.
Many people use Christian counseling to develop healthier coping strategies when they want to manage their anger. A Christian counselor can show you an anger thermometer and help you learn how you can apply it to situations that stir up your anger.
With the counselor’s help, you can develop strategies for responding to difficult situations with greater self-control. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with me or another counselor to start reducing the temperature on your anger thermometer.
“Enraged”, Courtesy of Nsey Benajah, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Rage”, Courtesy of Engin Akyurt, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Rage”, Courtesy of Yogendra Singh, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Yelling into the Phone”, Courtesy of Alexandra Mirghes, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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