Self-Help

Fight the Fit!

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Wait a minute, are you telling me to beat up healthy people? No, of course not! Calm yourself! This fight-the-fit means to fight a temper tantrum; the rage inside whenever someone or something angers us.

Recently, I saw a young man who had his arm wrapped up in a bandage. I saw him many times before, obviously without the bandage, so I was curious what happened. He told me that his anger had been building up, and finally in a fit of rage, he punched his hand into a concrete wall. By the time I saw him, days had passed since his encounter with the wall of innocence. I asked him who won the fight, him or the wall. He looked down at his fractured arm. I knew the answer of course but wanted him to think hard about his reaction to the powerful emotion of anger. I knew he did too. He admitted it was not the first time he unintentionally hurt himself after becoming angry.

Our emotions, especially strong ones like anger, can get the best of us if we are not careful. Our response to this stimulus must be controlled in a healthier way than hurting ourselves or others. Otherwise, a burst of anger during an argument or fight can bring about intense pain. In his case, he took multiple trips to the hospital and doctor’s offices. I asked whether it was worth it. His answer, like most others would agree, was no. The costly damage is not worth the price to pay for a momentary outburst. I am no stranger to this urge. It reminded me of a time I was angry with someone in the middle of winter. I ran all the way out to the back of the yard, took my shirt off in the frigid temperature, and screamed into the darkness. Might not have been the brightest solution but it did cool my temper!

Other times, I’ve dropped to the floor and did pushups until I could do no more. There is something about using up physical energy that alleviates some of the pressure inside when angry. I think that’s the reason many people exercise to help deal with stress and anger. Always check with your doctor first before starting an exercise program! Another way I found helps, is to stop and think first. If you react a certain way or say certain words, how do you suppose the outcome will look? If you are able, ask to break away from an argument or fight for a few minutes. It can help you calm down before you say or do something you will regret. This is especially important because the people who upset us the most are the ones who know what buttons to push to set us off. It also gives time for the other person to cool down as well.

Sometimes irreparable physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual damage can occur. Relationships can get destroyed. Don’t let it happen to you. Learn how to control your emotions. Fight the fit!