8 Questions that Diffuse Anger | Poppy Smith


portrait-119851_1280Flying through Chicago airport recently I heard a woman shouting at the Boarding Agent. Everyone swiveled around to see what was happening. I didn’t catch the reason for her angry outburst but she had no intention of keeping it to herself. After taking her abuse for so long, the Agent locked up his desk and disappeared.

Five minutes later he reappeared with a burly man in a bright yellow vest—clearly a “mediator” of some kind. Talking softly and soothingly to the irate customer, he helped her calm down and listen to what the airline could do to help with her frustration. She was wiping her tears as I heard my call to board.

Whether you’re angry at an airline employee, fuming in traffic, annoyed at work, or irritated at home–what is going on? If your anger erupts fast and hot, what can you do?

Those of us “blessed” with the gift of being verbal often need help with controlling our tongues and temper. At least, I do!  I want to live an emotionally healthy and happy life–not to mention one that reflects my relationship with Jesus.  As I’ve prayed about my problem and practiced what God has shown me, I’ve discovered eight questions that give me needed perspective and the power to get over it.

Ask Yourself:

  1. What is making me angry?
  2. Were my expectations reasonable given the circumstances? Had I made them known?
  3. Am I feeling anger–or is there something else underneath. What’s the real problem?
  4. Is my anger justified or am I making a mountain out of a molehill, blowing off steam and blaming? Was something said or done to intentionally upset me?
  5. Am I mind-reading, claiming the person I’m angry with should have known how I’d feel?
  6. Is my self-talk feeding my anger? Am I using words that inflame me, or cool me down?
  7. Will my anger bring about what I desire–a better relationship, less stress, a solution?
  8. What if I change my “should” statements to: It would have been nice if…. I wish the situation were different, but … Try it and see how it improves your perspective.

“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire” (Proverbs 15:1, The Message)


Tell yourself the truth: With God’s help I CAN cope, I CAN tolerate the situation, there ARE solutions, and I CAN learn new responses.


POPPY SMITH helps audiences across the country and around the world to cultivate a more dynamic walk with God. She is a former Bible Study Fellowship teaching leader and has a Master’s degree in Spiritual Formation and Direction. She has spoken across the United States, in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., as well as several countries in Africa and Asia.

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