Anger Is Not A Negative Emotion

Aristotle said, “The man who is angry at the right things and with the right people, and, further, as he ought when he ought, and as long as he ought is praised.”

 

Sara Shakeel

Anger is not a bad emotion. It is acceptable to be angry at wrong-doings, social injustice, wickedness, harmful behaviors, or many other forms of disappointments or hurt. Still, how we use that energy is important. Remember that anger is a feeling, and you cannot simply stifle or turn it to apathy. What you should do instead is to experience anger as part of yourself since it is another form of flight or fight response, so do not dismiss it but listen to its message.

When you stop and pay attention to your angry emotions, you will be inclined to control your behavior rather than your feelings. Simply because you do not want to be at the mercy of your anger; instead, you want to flip from putting the lid on inner pressure to be self-disciplined in your reactions.

Consequently, once you acknowledge that anger is part of being human, you will direct your attention to controlling the aggression fueled by anger. Keep in mind that emotions are signals, but the aggressive response is a behavior, therefore a choice. Plus, aggression is not always about violence. Being judgmental, excessively critical, or even passive-aggressive facial or physical gestures indicate aggression.

Consider the following aspects of anger to handle your aggression and not your angry emotions skillfully:

  • Anger is not a negative emotion is part of human experience – Accept it to deal with it constructively. 
  • Anger should not be stifled but influenced. Take a moment to identify your anger’s root cause; is it out of fear, threat, or hurt? This approach will clear distorted perceptions so that you can express your rage in effective ways. 
  • Anger should be communicated – Practice moments of silence before you respond. Remember that nobody will accuse you of how you feel, you are allowed to be angry, but you are responsible for acting upon it regrettably or unjustly. By the way, increasing your emotional vocabulary can significantly support your message.
  • Manage your behavior – Stop ruminating on whatever brought about the negative emotions since it will likely increase your anger’s intensity and cloud your judgment. 
  • Avoid using anger to address your emotional pain since it will become a habit – Learn to deal with it in healthier ways. For instance, if you are mad at someone close to you or at work, talk with them directly only when you are out of your tunnel vision mindset. 

To wrap up, step out of your comfort zone and refrain from lashing out whenever you are upset, or an unexpected has materialized. It might be painful to listen and explore your angry feelings; however, the challenge will equip you well with a toolbox for your responses and place you in a stronger position. 

 

Featured image by Gabe Leonard

What Are You Scared Of? Positive Vibes Series: Build Courage

Get up and show oomph! Be bold, be confident, thread your way through what people think of you, the obstacles, and everything that stirs up a weakness. Gird up your loins and get rid of your doubts and uncertainties.

Sounds familiar? Well, often, the voices in our head are loud enough to nudge us to take action. Still, we turn the volume down and list all the things that could go wrong and all the possible sufferings that can happen because we are afraid.

Aristotle (philosopher 384-322 B.C.) defines “fear as pain or disturbance due to a mental picture of some destructive or painful evil in the future.” Even though he indicates that wickedness and stupidity are evils, but they do not frighten us. Or we are not troubled by things that are a very long way off, such as death. What makes us anxious and fearful is when things have the power to harm and cause significant pain.

Fear is seen as an evolutionary necessity that can help notify a person whether they should proceed in their current direction or find another course to increase the likelihood of survival (Cannon, 1914; Ohman & Mineka, 2001). With this in mind, living a braver life is not to act naively, but to break down those potential problems and build a ladder to face the fears.

For instance, feeling anxious about air turbulence when flying is normal but refusing to travel is a debilitating and irrational fear. What constitutes courage is that you voluntarily take action to accomplish your goals when you have identified the potential problems. Being alert and being fully conscious that things might go wrong is to build the capacity to become braver in the face of challenges and setbacks.

In contrast to existing ideas that tell us to keep away from stress, you can leverage your anxiety and stress by rehearsing the tension and fear. Physical challenging experiences, contests, adventure activities are all character-forming pursuits that develop courage. Taking cold showers in the morning, a ritual that activates stress hormones which makes you think clearly, to engage in high-intensity workouts such as cycling, rock climbing, or running that help with your general health or intermittent fasting, are techniques based on the Stoic philosophy of self-denial that builds resilience against everyday stressors.

Now, in highly uncertain situations, evidently, you have no real control. By adopting a mindset that the only thing you have control over is your response, which is fostered by your values and attitudes towards life, you can transform the uncontrollable to manageable.

As Epictetus said: A Stoic “sage” never finds life intolerable, but sees in every challenge as an opportunity to test and improve oneself:

You should look to the faculties that you have, and say as you behold them, ‘Bring on me now, O Zeus, whatever difficulties you will, for I have the means and the resources granted to me by yourself to bring honour to myself through whatever may come to pass.’ (TD, Book One, Ch. 6, p. 18).

Featured image by Igor Morski