March 7, 2010

Anger:Should you bottle it up or shower it out?

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:01 am by g3space

 

Woman A: “You’ll feel better if you let your anger out”

Woman B:  “Anger? Why should I be angry?

Woman A: “ because your husband left you.Underneath, you’re blaming him for not keeping him obligation  to protect you forever”

Woman B: “What are you talking about? I don’t feel angry, I feel sad.

Woman A: “Why are you denying your true feelings”?

Woman B: “Pournamy, you are driving me mad. I don’t feel angry. F***  off. Damn it.

Woman A: “ (smiling) why are you shouting then?

That exchange , overheard in a restaurent, illustrates one of today ‘s most accepted myth of popular psychology; that expressing anger is crucial to health and happiness. Social psychologists call advocates of this view as ‘ventilationists’ because they belive its’ unhealty to bottle up feelings. Many go further , they argue that by showing our emotions we eliminate tensions, conquers aches,and pains and promote ‘more meaningful’ relationships with others.

There is widespread belief that to discharge one’s feelings is beneficial. People feel that theres’ some value in hitting,throwing or breaking something when frustrated. But is there? Many people are uncertain how to behave: some over-react angrily at every thwarted wish; others suffer injustice silently.who’s right?

Complicating Facts

American psycologists found that aggression was cathartic: blood pressure of angry male students would return to more quickly when they could retaliate against a man who who angered them was a fellow student; But this was true only when tha man angered them was a fellow student; when he was a teacher the retaliation had no cathartic effect. Expressing anger to a superior is ilself an arousing , anxiety producing action. Far from reducing anger it complicates it.But woman were not behaving as same as men.When insulted most of them didn’t get belligerent; instead, thet said something friendly to try to calm the woman who had angered them.For them , any agression even towards a classmate, wass  arousing and upseting as agression towards authority was for men

Further these image gave the idea that aggressive catharsis is a learned reaction to anger, not an instinctive one. The learned aspect of catharsis works like this: someone irritates you and provokes you over the edge of self control. Now you can do something-you swear, or hit, or pound your piano.All these reactions lessen your physiological arousal and its corresponding sensation that your blood is boiling. At the same time you are acquiringa cathartic habit.

This habit doesn’t mean you’ll be less angry in future. It means that when you are angry. You , are Apt to do whatevet worked for you before. Whether it was swearing , writing or hitting the person around you.

Ancient theory

Thus most ventilationist theories today concentrate on what a person should do to bring down the anger. But any emotional arousal will simmer down if you just wait long enough. This is why the classical advice for anger control-count to ten- has survivved for centuries.

Berkovitz who has studied the social causes of agression, finds that ventilation-by-shouting does not reduce the anger. “ Frequently when we tell someone off, we stimulate ourselves to continued aggression”. He observed. This is why a minor annoyance, when expressed in hostile language or behavoiur, can flare into major argument.

Anger and its expression do not exist in vaccum. In all areas of our life we make choices how to behave, when to speak and whether to reveal anger . Suppressed anger can be “bad” , because if we don’t reveal our feelings, a stressful situation continues: expressed anger can likewise be “bad” if, in revealing our feelings, we make the stressful situation worse.

Couples who aren’tdefeated by rage know two things: when to keep quiet about trivial angers..for the sake of civility, and how to discuss important ones, for the sake of personal space and improvements.

Calm thoughts

As the catharsis studies show, sometimes the best thing you can do about anger is doing nothing.Let it go. It will often turn out as an unimportant and quickly forgotten. Keeping quiet also gives you time to cool down and decide if the matter is worth discussing.

The most sucessful therapeutic methods for helping people who are quick to rage take body and mind into consideration. Practitioners of yoga learn techniques to calm distracting and infuriating thoughts. Western psycologists teach people with chronic anger, three things-how to think about your anger, how to control arousal,how to behave constructively. Anger is often inflated by the statements we make when we are provoked: “Who does he think he is to treat me like that? What a vile an thoughtless woman she is! Counsellors suggests people to empatize with the provocateurs’ behaviour, trying to find justification for it and ways to deal with it: “may be he is having a rough day” or “she must be very unhappy if she do such a thing”.

On the ground that you cant’ laugh and frown at the same time some psychologists use “humour therapy”with clients who have anger problems. When I was a child my mother often uesd this tact on me and I learnedthat you cannot maintain a sullen mood when you are laughing out loud.

Many belive that talking out anger gets rid of it-or atlest makes you feel less angry. But several studies show that talking out an emotion often doesn’t reduce it and may,infact merely rehearse it. As you recite your greviences,your emotional arousal build again,making you feel as angry as you did when furieting event first happened.Anger only feeds on itself.And, sure enough,it makes for a grumpy life.

Now, none of this is to make a case for always keeping quiet when you are angry. The point is to understand what happens when you do decide to express anger. Each of us find his/her own compromise between experssing everylittle thing that irritates, and passively accepting the injustice we feel. Discussing anger can lead to practical solutions; it can also become obsessive and useless.

Thus the dicision about whether or not to express anger rest on what you want to communicate and what you hope to accomplish. If you want your anger to dissipate and the assosiation in question to remain congiel, keep quiet. But if you want to stay angry, if you want to use youranger,keep talking.

The moral use of anger requires an awareness of choice and an embrace of reason. For the small indignities of life, the best remedy is almost always a charlie chaplin film, Tom and Jerry, or comics such as archies( Boban and Molly is my personal favorite). For the larger ones, fight back. And most important, learn the difference.

  

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