Plan how to respond to future anger triggers.  Rehearse in your mind what you can say and do to respond wisely to difficult people or stressful situations you may encounter that can trigger anger in you.  Then, when you're faced with them, you'll have a plan to follow.

Set emotional goals for your relationships.  Talk with your family members and close friends about specific ways that you can strengthen your relationships with each of them.  Set goals for how you can relate to them without resorting to destructive anger, such as by adjusting your expectations of each other to make sure they're realistic.  When your relationships do become damaged by anger, apologize to each other, pray together, identify constructive steps each person can take to rebuild the relationship, and move forward with those steps.

Ask God to cleanse your mind and spirit every day.  Rather than letting anger take root in your soul, pray daily for God's help to let go of your struggles and forgive others so you don't carry over unhealthy attitudes into a new day.  Also ask God to fill your mind with thoughts of His goodness toward you, which will give you peace.

Forgive.  If you're holding onto anger against someone who has hurt you, you can't be in a right relationship with God, who calls you to forgive as He has forgiven you of your own sins.  Don't wait to obey God's call until you feel like forgiving because you probably never will.  Instead, decide to forgive despite your feelings, and as you trust God to help you the forgiveness process, your feelings will change along the way.

Surrender.  If you're angry at God because of something that He allowed to happen to you, be honest with Him about your anger but then let go of it quickly after you express it.  Be careful not to harbor anger against God, because that will poison your soul, and because it's never justified since God only allows what can help you grow into a stronger person.  Be willing to place your trust in God - no matter what - since He loves you completely and knows what's best for the life He has given you.  Surrender every part of your life to God's will.

Add peace to your personal space.  Do whatever you can to make your life more peaceful, such as distancing yourself from violent people and situations, and making time regularly for silence and solitude in your life.

Resolve conflict wisely.  Even with all the steps you take to deal with anger, you'll still encounter plenty of conflicts that you must deal with wisely to create positive outcomes from them.  When dealing with conflict, refuse to respond in anger to what other people say or do.  Instead, listen quietly until they're done expressing themselves.  Then identify your part in the conflict and ask God to help you say what you need to say with kindness and respect.  Learn from conflict and make whatever changes God leads you to make from what you've learned.

Adapted from Surviving in an Angry World: Finding Your Way to Personal Peace, copyright 2010 by Charles F. Stanley. Published by Howard Publishing, a division of Simon & Schuster, Brentwood, Tn.,
Dr. Charles Stanley is a New York Times-bestselling author who has written more than 35 books, with sales of more than 6.5 million copies. He has been senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, since 1971, and the church now has more than 15,000 members. Dr. Stanley has served two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention (1984-86); and his outreach ministry--In Touch--reaches nearly 1,800 radio and television outlets in more than 50 languages. Dr. Stanley was inducted into the National Religious Broadcaster's (NRB) Hall of Fame in 1988, and the Religious Heritage of America named him Clergyman of the Year in 1989, an award that recognizes pastors who strive to make Judeo-Christian principles part of America's daily life. 

Publication date: August 25, 2010