Beliefnet
Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicWhen we’re angry, do we automatically feel we’re justified simply because we feel the anger? Or, could there be other reasons about which we might have some control?

As summer heat matures, pressing down more harshly on certain parts of the country, I’m reminded of a theory I learned about in a French history class: Many of the major uprisings (the French Revolution, for example) began in the heat of the summer.  Hot weather, then, as the theory goes, can have an instigating effect on flares of temper and, often, violence. Beyond climate, I’m sure that it’s no accident that certain expressions correlate heat with anger: “hot under the collar,” for example; or “boiling mad.”

Pain has a way of stirring up anger, too. If you bump your leg, for example, a natural reaction is to yell or, at least, exclaim with more volume than a whisper. Chronic pain, endured over a long period of time, can also amplify anger.

When irritation, dissatisfaction, disappointment, or other feelings that can lead to overt anger are exacerbated by physical discomfort, pain, or harshness, sometimes our feelings can boil over and we can hurt ourselves or others even if we truly do not want to do so.  Tempering the “heat of the moment” with a breath, a moment, a “cooling off” period, then, becomes vital. But how?

I’m not perfect when it comes to corraling my rare-but-still-there temper.  But I do try to keep situations in perspective, making use of  “count-to-ten”  to temper the temper. Prayer can cut through anger made sharper by circumstances (extreme heat, greater-than-usual pain) – “Help me, Lord, get through this.” Distancing myself from the situation also helps tremendously – if I’m particularly uncomfortable, I will try to get too a place where I am more comfortable, thus taking away the thing that’s exacerbating rising temper. Thinking of the other person as a brother or sister in Christ has a way of ratcheting down tension.

We’re human. The weather can get hot. And if we live with chronic pain or illness, we are bound at one time or another to get “out of sorts.” But hopefully, an awareness of how our surroundings influence our feelings can help us to stop an eruption of angry words and actions.

Tempering temper – and making the world better for it – especially on hot days is, in the end, really, really cool!

Blessings for the day

Maureen

 

 

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