PREVIOUS: Anger Types, #2
SITE: “The uses of Anger” + Richard Prior story
BOOKs: “8 Keys to Eliminating Passive Aggressiveness“– Andrea Brandt
BASIC purpose of anger: To manage internal & external stimuli (PPT) and is a response to situations that produce fear, hurt or frustration.
➼ Fear is for keeping us safe
➼ Love is for bonding
➼ Anger is for righting wrongs – so the emotion of anger is never the problem, only how we act.
When healthy people have put off solving a problem or difficulty, they don’t waste time & energy endlessly mulling over being wronged, limitations, frustrations, illness…..
Instead, they figure out what their realistic options are, & then move on to something else, waiting for the right time to act – if at all possible. If not, they deal with their anger & then let go!
CONSTRUCTIVE anger usually involves both parties in a dispute, not just the ‘original’ angry one. In best-case scenarios, the angry person expresses their grievance, the target person listens, & then responds appropriately.
If the anger is justified & the response suitable, the mis-understanding or problem is usually corrected. The Q. then is not “Should I express anger or should I suppress it?, but rather “What can we do to solve the problem?” (MORE…..)
• In our culture, on one hand, anger is respected as a sign personal strength & self-confidence.
On the other hand, most people are afraid of someone being angry because it’s associated with aggression & violence.
However, bad behavior is not automatic or inevitable. Anger can actually help reduce violence in many social settings, because intimidated people become more obliging, who will placate the angry one, thus minimizing the other’s upset, which prevents escalation.
— Authors Howard Kassinove PhD & Chip Tafrate, PhD, tells us that “In fact, anger seems only to be followed by aggression about 10% of the time, & lots of aggression occurs without any anger”.
— James Averill, PhD, from U. of Mass. says that “When you look at everyday minor episodes of anger, as opposed to more dramatic ones, the results are usually positive”. (MORE…..)
NEURO-PLASTICITY can correct negative Beliefs which will modify painful Emotions:
The brain is like putty – it can be trained & repeatedly reshaped. Since stressful emotions AND uplifting emotions occupy the same ‘real estate’ (the amygdala), we can use anger to tell us what difficult experience, disappointment or bad news will trigger our inner Green Hulk.
EXP: getting stuck in heavy traffic often generates frustration & rage. It’s not the delay that creates those emotions – but rather what we’re saying to ourselves:
“Get out of my way you jerks, I’m going to be late, everyone’s always causing me problems, this is going to screw up my appointment, why does this always happen to me?….”.
Being angry every time we feel trapped strengthens a specific neural pathway, cementing the emotion. (ALSO: Humor & Negativity)
• When there’s nothing we can actually do about the delay, in that moment, it would help instead to notice & then change what we’re saying to ourselves, which can change how we feel.
If we redirect our attention to something we like – very time we’re on the road (remembering a beloved pet, a recent success, talking to the Inner Child….) – we’ll eventually form a more pleasant emotional response. We can start linking traffic with stillness or comfort. We can listen to interesting tapes, sing along to our favorite music, think thru a knotty problem or create/ design something we can make later.
CHANGE: Because the Amygdala holds memories associated with various emotional responses, it will remember the positive changes we make when we combine:
A careful observation our own personality traits ➕ what sets us off ➕ a willingness to change our automatic responses.
It takes patience & repetition to form new pathways, so by not using the old one (neural inhibition) the brain is slowly rewired.
As we keep practicing, feeling more peaceful gets easier & more natural. The ability for self-evaluation & change provide self-mastery, which gives a feeling of empowerment, key factors in feeling happy.
NEXT: Positive uses #1