20 Quick Ways to Diffuse An Emotional Volcano

Nobody wants to be buddies with volcano. So how can we be feisty and not blow our tops? {Image credit: ammit / 123RF Stock Photo}

As I read the article, words blurred behind a rising wall of rage. Startled by this–it was only 6:45 a.m. after all!–I tried to diffuse it before reactive words formed an email I’d regret. It wasn’t the first time. As a natural hot-head, I’ve had to find positive outlets for that tendency to flare up at injustice, inconsiderate behavior (or when Aunt Flo’s in town).

In a world full of brokenness and fear, living with and around imperfect people, getting angry is a fact of life. It will surprise us. Disorient us.

Unchecked, anger can become a habit that crushes our joy. But if we cultivate positive behaviors that fit with our God-given strengths, we can pull out of volcano mode, quick. Before we burn down the relational landscape around us.

Ways to Reduce Volcanic Anger Before It Gets Going

  1. Fight something else (those weeds in your back yard, for instance).
  2. Jump up and down.
  3. Throw soaking wet sponges at your back fence.
  4. Dance to rowdy music.
  5. Turn up the volume while you’re dancing.
  6. Call a friend who can stand the heat and help you find perspective.
  7. Tidy your desk or kitchen counter (one of my top 3 strategies!)
  8. Rearrange your furniture. The physical exertion releases angry tension.
  9. List at least 3 other possible feelings you’re having besides anger.
  10. Consider 3 views of the situation. Yours, theirs, and God’s.
  11. Research some new anger management strategies (WebMD and Mayo Clinic are good starting places).
  12. Pin some cool images or ideas on Pinterest.
  13. Cook something that requires lots of vegetable chopping.
  14. Get in your car alone, close the door, and yell at what’s making you nuts.
  15. After that, let God have a piece of your mind. Go ahead. He can take it.
  16. Go for a run.
  17. Skip the automated shredder. Shred those documents by hand.
  18. Eat something as spicy as you feel right then. You’ll be too busy mopping your brow to care about the topic anymore.
  19. Watch a good action/adventure movie.
  20. Read Dave Barry’s books or column, or watch Steven Colbert’s show. Snarky (clean) humor is a great outlet for that anger edge to shift to joy.

What do YOU do when anger boils up inside? Do you build those strategies into the daily routine as preventive tools?

Let’s choose to take the reins with our anger today. In doing so, we pull it back to helpful proportions in our life again.

“Be angry and do not sin.” – Ephesians 4:26

– Laurie

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  1. Rachel says

    These are great suggestions. One thing I learned working in the prevention field is after you calm down, you need to identify what is making you angry and deal with it or the anger could return. For example, my kids are getting on my nerves and being loud and so I yell at them in anger. Am I really angry because they are loud and getting on my nerves, or is it because I am stressed about something and have not yet worked through it? When we identify why we are angry or stressed and then deal with it, we are able to handle other things better.

    • says

      That’s a great point, Rachel. History will repeat itself if we don’t get to the core issues. Going back to look at those can make having to use the coping skills here less needed!

  2. says

    This is such a great post! We have anger issues in our home, too. We kid, saying I never yelled before I married Vic. And now, I see varying forms of anger erupting from my children…and myself. Such a horrible feeling.
    Here are my additions to your list: Close your eyes really, really tight and scrunch up your face while counting to ten. (I was going to say take a walk. God’s universe always calms my soul. You said run.) Hide in the bathroom with your latest fictional read, because getting away from the world we live in for a few minutes always helps. Although it isn’t the healthiest way, a chocolate bar cures all ailments. 😉
    One of my treasured verses from Proverbs is this one:
    “Make no friendship with an angry man,
    And with a furious man do not go,
    Lest you learn his ways
    And set a snare for your soul.” (v.24-25)
    It protects from abuse, and it cautions me to beware of my emotions and how I handle them, like not taking out my frustrations on someone else.