“When you are tempted to lose your temper over the minor inconveniences of life, don’t!” – Steve Arterburn
Life is frustrating.
There will be traffic, kids, arguments, deadlines, and the never-ending to-do list. This very day, you will encounter something—or someone—difficult. You have a choice to make: Will you remain calm? Or, will you lose your temper? How you respond says a lot about you.
Anger is a natural, God-given emotion. It’s okay to feel angry. However, you must learn to control it. Proverbs 15:18 (NLT) says, “A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them.”
When you encounter frustrations (and you will), you could lose your temper. But yelling, arguing, and stomping your feet will only make the situation worse. So will drinking, abusing drugs, watching porn, overeating, or turning to another addiction. Instead, try solving whatever is frustrating you.
There are three simple tips for conquering everyday frustrations.
1. Take a time-out.
First, if you feel like you might lose control, take a time-out. Try to find a place where you can spend time alone. You might need to take a walk. Or at the very least, go into another room and shut the door.
Second, take a deep breath. Pay attention to your emotions. You might tell yourself, “I feel angry at this situation.” By putting a name to your emotions, it helps your brain begin to process them. Then, ask yourself, “Is it worth losing control?”
Third, find a better way to work through your emotions. Feeling angry and frustrated can steal your peace and rob you of your joy. Rather than letting these emotions get the better of you, try finding some healthy outlets. Here are a few to try:
2. Be curious (not furious) with others.
When you are feeling frustrated with another person, become curious instead of furious. For example, let’s say your child gets upset and says something mean to you. You could yell at them, but a better way to respond would be to ask questions. Perhaps you could say, “What do you mean by that?” “Can you tell me more?” and “How does that make you feel?”
Make sure, though, that you listen carefully and let them speak. James described the importance of listening when he said, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19).
Listening opens up the door to conversation, and it helps you avoid an argument by defusing a difficult situation altogether. By listening, you are helping the other person feel heard, loved, and understood. Plus, it will improve your relationship.
3. Control your thoughts.
Every time your temper begins to rise, take control of your thoughts—that’s what the Bible says. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to “capture rebellious thoughts,” and “teach them to obey Christ.” In other words, remove out-of-control thoughts from your mind.
If you’re in traffic and someone cuts you off, your automatic reaction might be to get angry and retaliate. At this moment, you need to be honest with yourself about feeling frustrated. Then, you need to:
- Breathe deeply—focus on the present.
- Admit your thoughts are going in the wrong direction.
- Refocus thoughts—pray for the other person, or meditate on Scripture.
God does not want everyday frustrations to get the better of you. If you find yourself angry when things don’t go as you expect, follow these tips. You must control everyday frustrations, or everyday frustrations will control you!