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Anger is an emotional response to a grievance. The grievance may appear to be real or imagined, it may have its roots in a past, present experience or it may be in anticipation of a future event. Anger is invariably based on the perception of threat or a perceived threat due to a conflict, injustice, negligence, humiliation and betrayal among others.

Anger can be an active or a passive emotion. In case of "active" emotion the angry person "lashes out" verbally or physically at an intended target whether justified or not. When anger is a "passive" emotion it charactererized by silent sulking, passive-aggressive behavior (hostility) and tension.


[edit] Intensity of anger

Many words in our vocabulary describe various forms of anger that differ primarily by their intensity of passion and arousal. Here is a partial list, arranged in approximate order from the least to the most intense: irritation, frustration, annoyance, miffed, sulking, offended, indignation, exasperation, incensed, pissed, outrage, wrath, rage, fury, ferocity, and livid. <ref>Emotional Competency Entry describing Anger </ref>

[edit] Prognosis of anger

Common factors that can lead to irritability include fatigue, hunger, pain, sexual frustration, recovery from an illness, or the use of certain drugs; hormonal changes associated with PMS, birth, and menopause, physical withdrawal, bipolar disorder. Research suggests some individuals may be genetically predisposed to higher levels of anger. However, generational behaviors relative to primary care givers' responses to anger actually have a much larger influence in "predisposition" to anger.

The key factor responsible for anger is the choice to oppose the source of the pain. Without opposition, we would be left with fear behaviors (running away in the face of pain, for example). The pain/deprivation does not have to be a physical pain/threat, it can be emotional pain or abstract (i.e. being lied to). The source of pain can be directed at objects (i.e., the Universe,). However, feeling pain does not always lead to anger (for example, bumping a nose into a glass pane and feeling embarrassed.

Humans often exhibit anger behaviors empathically. For example, reading an article about a minority experiencing racism. We are not the victim, per se. Thus, anger, sometimes, makes us sharp and quick to criticize, it can also help us see what's wrong. Our feelings and emotions are actually serving like intelligence agents, bringing in news from the field of our experience. We should not dismiss, ignore, or repress them; righteous anger can help drive compassionate action to redress injustices in the world. No one can make us angry if the seed of anger is not in our hearts.[citation needed] Every person has some anger within. Intense angry feelings are not always unhealthy or destructive or drive negative actions.

Anger is usually magnified and extended in time when a cognitive decision is made about the intent of the individual (or organization or object) attributed to causing the pain. In other words, if we decide the pain/deprivation was intentional, "deliberate," the emotion is usually more intense.

When anger is used to "suppress opposition" though emotional bullying or violence, the "bullier" and "bullied" often fail to realize that the root of anger is fear. The "angrier" and more "enraged" an individual appears, the more is it likely that the individual is experiencing greater fear.

[edit] Physiological effects of anger

Emotions more or less begin inside two almond-shaped structures in the brain which are called the amygdala[1]. The amygdala is the part of the brain responsible for identifying threats, and for sending out an alarm when threats are identified. The amygdala is so efficient at warning us about threats, that it gets us reacting before the cortex (the part of the brain responsible for thought and judgment) is able to check on the reasonableness of the reaction. In other words, the brain is networked in such a way as to influence the action before its consequences are logically considered.

As one becomes angry the body's muscles tense up. Inside the brain, neurotransmitter chemicals known as catecholamines are released causing an experience of a burst of energy lasting up to several minutes. At the same time the heart beat increases, the blood pressure rises, and so does the rate of breathing. The face may flush as increased blood flow enters the limbs and extremities in preparation for physical action. In quick succession, additional brain neurotransmitters and hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline are released which trigger a lasting state of arousal.

But, most often the emotions to rage are stopped before getting out of control. The prefrontal cortex of the brain keeps the emotions in proportion. If the amygdala handles emotion, the prefrontal cortex handles judgment. The left prefrontal cortex can switch off the emotions. It serves in an executive role to keep things under control. Getting control of the emotion of anger means learning ways to help the prefrontal cortex get the upper hand over the amygdala so that the angry person has control over the reactions to anger feelings.

If anger has a physiological preparation phase during which the body resources are mobilized for a fight, it also has a wind-down phase as well. The body starts to relax back towards its resting state when the target of the anger is no longer accessible or an immediate threat. It is difficult to relax from an angry state very quickly. The adrenaline-caused arousal that occurs during anger lasts a very long time (many hours, sometimes days), and lowers the anger threshold, making it easier for the person to get angry again later on. It takes a rather long time for the body to return to the resting state. During this slow cool-down period the angered person is more susceptible to anger in response to even minor irritations.

[edit] Symptoms of anger

Heightened blood pressure; Increase of stress hormones; Shortness of breath; Heart palpitations; Trembling; Heightened senses; Dulled senses; Yelling; Animated and exaggerated body movement; Stiffness of posture; Constipation; Contracted pupils; Increased physical strength; Speech and motion are faster and more intense; Tense muscles; Impotence; Criticism; Irritation; Hatred; Silence; Passive Aggressive Behavior; Resentment-Bitterness; Envy; Jealousy; Insecurity; Low self-esteem; Self-loathing; Judgmentalism; Condemning; Malaise; Depression; Anxiety; Apathy; Sleeplessness

[edit] Genetic predisposition

At the end of the 19th century, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, argued that individuals are born with an innate loving instinct, and when this is freed, they have a natural urge to become hostile or angry. A century later, this view was deprecated by the American Psychological Association and the American Anthropological Association, who in 1988 reviewed the available research and concluded that people are not genetically predisposed to violence, and that violence cannot be scientifically related to natural evolutionary processes. At the beginning of the 21st century, the consensus is reversing again, as recent research[2] and [3], conducted with the benefit of the fully-mapped human genome, has begun to pinpoint specific genes that increase the risk of socially harmful behavior such as aggressiveness, anti-social behavior, suicide, etc.

[edit] Religious perspectives on anger

  • Amongst adherents of Christianity that take the Bible literally, causeless, excessive, or protracted anger is treated as sinful due to its treatment in the Antithesis of the Law and in Colossians 3:8, and unbridled wrath is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. The Bible warns "do not let the sun go down on your anger" (Eph. 4:26), that is, do not let feelings of anger last so long as to become sinful. There is, however, what is commonly referred to as "righteous anger," as demonstrated by Jesus when he made a whip and cleared out the merchants in the Temple (John 2:13-16).
  • In Islam, anger is seen as a sign of weakness. The Prophet Muhammad said: "The strong is not the one who over comes the people by his strength, But the strong is the one who controls him while in anger."
  • Anger in Buddhism is defined here as: "being unable to bear the object, or the intention to cause harm to the object". Anger is seen as aversion with a stronger exaggeration, and is listed as one of the five hindrances. It is a common misconception that spiritual saints never get angry. But it is not true, even the Dalai Lama, the spiritual Guru of Tibetan monks, gets angry[4]. However, there is a difference, most often a spiritual person is aware of the emotion and the way it can be handled. Thus, in response to the question: "Is any anger acceptable in Buddhism?' The Dalai Lama answered:
    "Buddhism in general teaches that anger is a destructive emotion and although anger might have some positive effects in terms of survival or moral outrage, I do not accept that anger of any kind as a virtuous emotion nor aggression as constructive behavior. The Gautam Buddha has taught that there are three basic kleshas at the root of samsara (bondage, illusion) and the vicious cycle of rebirth. These are greed, hatred, and delusion--also translatable as attachment, anger, and ignorance. They bring us confusion and misery rather than peace, happiness, and fulfillment. It is in our own self-interest to purify and transform them" [5].
  • In Hinduism, anger is equated with sorrow as a form of unrequited desire. The objects of anger are perceived as a hindrance to the gratification of the desires of the angry person.[6] Alternatively if s/he thinks they are superior, the result is grief. Anger is considered to be packed with more evil power than even desire.

[edit] See also

[edit] References


[edit] External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

de:Wut es:Ira fr:Colère hr:Ljutnja he:כעס [[nl:Woede] ja:怒り pt:Raiva (sentimento) simple:Anger zh:憤怒


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