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As our world continues to navigate our new normal through the COVID-19 pandemic individuals are experiencing an intensity of mixed emotions. Last week we scratched the surface on anxiety and today I will engage with the topic of anger. Life Teams School of Urban Youth Outreach has to say, “Although anger may be the emotion we see, there could be a variety of emotions behind anger, including; anxiety, fear, shame, sadness, frustration, hurt, jealousy, embarrassment, worry, disappointment, guilt.” Today, I want to invite you to Explore why you may be feeling angry due to the rippling effects of COVID-19.

            Many people displaying anger in these hard times can be seen as a direct reflection to anxiety. Anxiety can result in people responding to feeling out of control or being pushed with either fight or flight behaviour. Learning and dialoging about anxiety creates a space and relief for an anxious individual. God understands. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion that He created...even Jesus felt angry! However, when our anger is uncontrolled and causes harm to our relationships and others around us that creates an unhealthy anger. Instead, in times of mixed emotions, we need to invite Jesus in to help us manage our anger well. Managing anger is a skill that can be learned.

1) Encourage reflection. A big part of being able to resolve feelings is recognizing what is going on in your surroundings. Guide yourself to think about what you’re really angry about in a particular situation. Say to yourself, “I am angry because...” rather than “I’m angry.”

2) Explore alternate possibilities. Often anger comes from the interpretation of events or beliefs about how things should be. When the anger has cooled, invite yourself to brainstorm and think creatively on other possible interpretations of the situation. Exploring on how the context can look and feel differently makes a positive impact on the outcome.

3) Encourage new language. Owning emotions and the impact of them means changing our language: eg. “I chose to get angry when...” rather than “He made me angry when ....” We get to choose who holds the power and language is part of that equation.

4) Choose a new role. Being conscious of you playing the role of a villain, victim, or hero.  Find new ways of interpreting the world around you as challenger, creator, or coach. These ways can help sway reaction and instead welcome openness, curiosity, and create solutions. This allows you to have a greater sense of consciousness and purpose.

5) Coping skills: Deep breathing, body movement/exercise, muscle relaxation and starting up old or new hobbies. These activities create new habits while breaking old ones.

Grace and Peace,

Zach Hair