Anger: How Much is Too Much?

Jesus got angry. He was troubled by the many injustices he encountered while on Earth. At times, he expressed his dismay to those around Him. Anger, as with all emotions, has a place and purpose. But how does one know if there is too much anger in their lives? Here are ten warning signs to gauge if your anger levels exceed what is considered safe and healthy:

1. Frequency: how often do you get angry? Rarely, every day, several times a day, or are you always upset? One who flies off the handle at the drop of a hat needs to get to the root of their issues.
2. Intensity: do you find yourself primarily mildly annoyed, angry or do you express full blown rage? Mild anger is easily remedied without causing significant damage. Intense anger or rage can prove extremely detrimental to one’s safety and well-being.
3. Duration: does your anger dissipate momentarily, do you struggle to let it go, or are you someone who holds on to it indefinitely, possibly even seeking revenge? The longer the anger remains the greater the damage.
4. Aggression: does your anger lead to aggressive outbursts of a physical or verbal nature? This can have devastating consequences on the individual as well as those around them. One out of control moment can lead to a lifetime of suffering.
5. Relationships: are your intimate, personal, social, and/or professional relationships being negatively impacted by your anger? Are you fighting with family and/or friends or having problems getting along with coworkers? Don’t blame them! This red flag is a serious indicator of deep rooted issues and needs immediate attention.
6. Outsiders: how are those around you being affected by your anger? Are people afraid of you or do they avoid you for fear of triggering an outburst? We often learn the most about ourselves by carefully observing how our actions impact others.
7. Health: is your physical well-being being affected by your anger? Even repressed anger can lead to health issues ranging from mild stomach upset, to elevated blood pressure, to cancer and beyond. Listen to your body – it is a messenger for your emotional self.
8. Law: has your anger gotten you in trouble with the law? Have you been arrested for a physical altercation or for damaging personal property? Major red flag – one bad choice can change your life forever.
9. Joy: how is your anger impacting your overall enjoyment of life? Are you agitated, miserable, unhappy or simply unable to fully embrace life? Remember – you were created to be joyful and happy. You deserve so much better but only you are responsible for your life.
10. Others: what do your friends, family, and coworkers say about you? Do they believe you have a problem with anger? People act as mirrors: they reflect back to us what we do not recognize in ourselves. Pay close attention to what others have to say. They can prove to be your greatest allies.

No one is suggesting that you never be angry. Even the Son of God got ticked off. But keep in mind: anger is a choice. No one makes you angry. How frequently you experience it, how long you hold on to it, the manner in which you express it, process it, and/or heal it is entirely in your hands. Choose wisely because anger can be your ally or your worst nightmare. Pleasant dreams.

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