Benjamin Franklin one of the Founding Fathers of the US, had his own set of virtues, which he created at the age of 20, and used to keep a note each week on how his behaviour had conformed to them.
He was spot on with this quote, as anger, which, at times can be used for a positive outcome, is a negative emotion, the consequences of which are primarily
seen to be destructive and ugly in nature and can have a dramatic effect on relationships with all things, particularly on the propagator.
Anger has a major physiological effect.
A negative emotion, like anger, releases adrenaline into the bloodstream as it rapidly prepares the body for action. The hormone boosts the supply of oxygen and glucose to the brain and muscles, while suppressing other non-emergency bodily processes (digestion in particular). It increases heart rate and stroke volume, dilates the pupils, and constricts arterioles in the skin and gastrointestinal tract. It elevates the blood sugar level and at the same time begins the breakdown of lipids in fat cells and has a suppressive effect on the immune system.
And a psychological effect too.
Interestingly, angry people are more likely to make risky decisions, making them think over optimistically. Whilst angry, unfortunate events seem less likely and business and personal ventures appear more likely to succeed. Perceived dangers or threats appear to be much smaller, which makes for far more optimistic risk assessments. Anger also makes people less trusting as they are slower to attribute good qualities to outsiders.
That’s quite a lot of stress your body is being bombarded with every time you get angry.
There are a lot of angry people out there who have little or no control over their anger and suffer from this kind of stress on a daily basis.
That’s what chronic stress is - it insidious in that people don’t realise what is happening to them.and often has devastating effect on the body and the mind - what I call the bodymind.
Its all down to our HPA axis - the Hypothalamus- Pituitary - Adrenal axis - the system that protects us against external threats.
And internal ones too.
We are constantly bombarded by information, deadlines, multiple worries for our personal lives and jobs and whilst that may not threaten our immediate survival - it does result in chronically elevated stress hormones, which can lead to depression.
In 2003 Science published ...”depression is caused when the brain’s stress machinery goes into overdrive. The most prominent player in this theory is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis”.
Have you heard of Aristotle’s Challenge?
Anyone can become angry - that is easy.
But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not easy.
If you are going to be angry - be sure you have the right person(s) to be angry with.
Cross - Resentful - Annoyed - Bitter - Indignant - Livid - Furious or in a Rage? To what degree were you angry and did the cause warrant the reaction?
Timing is everything and when it comes to anger - more so. It’s as well to think before you act and choose your time.
Do you think that your anger is justified? How would others view your anger? What possible purpose could it serve?
And how would you present your anger. What way would best serve your purpose?
By the time you have thought these 5 anger angles, where would your anger be now?
Anger is triggered by the object of the anger and can vary from furious rage at the top of the scale to being just a little cross at the other end.
Anger will prevail as long as the object of the anger is held on to and it will continue to cause the anger to arise.
You have to release or let go of the object of the anger and the anger will subside.
How do we do that?
You can begin to do so by raising your self-awareness so that you become less subjective and more objective of the effect your anger is having on you.
You can learn to identify thought processes that cause you emotional distress and to manage and process them without them having a negative effect on you by recognising the triggers of your emotional strengths and weaknesses leading to a more emotionally mature and stable you.
You can achieve this by the regular practice of conscious breathing, which is really easy - you just have to remember to do it.
Stop breathing for a moment and count to 5.
Within a few seconds your attention will focus on the abdomen and the abdominal muscles will become slightly tense.
Now relax - breath in slowly and count to 5.
Hold your breath and count to 5.
Breath out slowly and count to 5.
Stop breathing and count to 5.
You are now consciously breathing once in every 20 seconds - that’s 3 times a minute.
Whereas, you normally sub-consciously breathe about 17 times a minute.
If you can do this for 5 minutes you will have breathed only 15 times!
And by now - you will feel a deeper sense of calm.
And some other things will begin to happen too, if you can do this for slightly longer periods of time.
Heart rate slows
Blood pressure lowers
Oxygen intake increases
Makes for easier digestion
Decreased muscle tension
Improved respiratory function
A deeper level of physical relaxation
Improves tolerance of self and others
Less prone to anger
Positively influences mood and behaviour
Improves listening skills & empathy
Increase levels of focus and concentration
State of mental silence achieved
Leads to emotional stability
Raised levels of ser0tonin ensure a state of calm
Beginning to affectively manage emotions
Raises levels of concentration
Improves clarity of thought
To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin - when reason prevails anger seldom arises.