Why are people so angry these days? If it’s Tuesday…or any other day of the week, people seem to go out of their way to find something to be offended by, or angry about. This is not good. Anger can literally destroy not only your happiness, but the happiness of those around you.
Of course, anger in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because anger can actually help us to recognize issues that we need to change in ourselves and, in the world. But the anger that stirs us into taking action to fix a problem or right an injustice, is a different type of anger — it’s a motivator and not a de-motivator.
The type of anger that we’re seeing today is an unbridled, undirected anger — it’s an anger that is borne out of feelings of stress, frustration, disillusionment and in a way, hopelessness.
When we feel stressed and frustrated, we tend to manifest those feelings in anger that bubbles up inside us, until it finally explodes outward. The problem with this is that part of us is actually angry that we’re even angry and when we let this fester, the anger begins to consume us until it’s a perpetual state of mind.
Psychology Today reports:
“…Of course, anger too easily or frequently mobilized can undermine relationships and, studies show, it is deleterious to bodies in the long term. It prompts the release of a flood of compounds—cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline—that prepare the body to fight. As a result, anger makes muscles tense, our heart rates increase, and blood pressure rise. Prolonged release of the stress hormones that accompany anger can destroy neurons in areas of the brain associated with judgment and short-term memory, and it can weaken the immune system…”
This festering anger that has gripped the world is doing a great deal of harm and it needs to be addressed.
What can one do about anger:
Find an outlet for the anger. A big problem today is that people are mad and they’re not quite sure why. Is it all the bad news in the world? Is it the political dysfunction that has gripped the land? Is it fear of change? Is it our endless cycle of violence? Is it the hollow pop-culture that promises much, yet delivers nothing? Its probably all of those reasons. One distinction between negative and positive people is that positive thinkers have much going on — they’re involved in hobbies, charities, the arts, etc. Basically, they have diverse interests that keep them occupied in a good way. Those with festering anger should consider ways to keep their mind off the things that cause it and do things that make them happy and relaxed.
Reappraise the situation. If someone is making you angry, ask yourself why. Is what they’re doing or saying really so bad that it should cause you to lash out? What if they’re going through something in life and they’re so upset that they just can’t stand it any longer…do you want to add to their woes by escalating the situation? If the news or politics is the cause, tune it out for a while and see how quickly that anger subsides. Reappraise basically means to stop before you act or speak and look at the potential causes for your anger with more objectivity.
Of course, people with uncontrolled anger should seek the help of a qualified professional.
Anger is a notoriously toxic emotion. While bottling it up is not a good idea, walking around in a perpetual state of angst is even worse. No one who lives in anger ever leads a quality, happy life.
“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” ― Henri Nouwen