This title is not what people especially elders would normally suggest. But first, let me clarify few things. Being angry and short tempered are two different things and this post is dedicated to anger. Second, the way you react to your anger should be in a bit controlled way. Again different from the reaction of a short tempered person. So don’t start breaking things around like the hulk.
Before I put my reasons in favor of my title, let’s take a detour and look back at the word, “angry”. What actually happens (physiologically) when you’re angry?
“Increase in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing.” People mostly misinterpret these as bad signs. But are they?
It depends on your response to anger. Humans have a very complex brain. They have desires, expectations. They have cravings for happiness, pleasure, company of opposite sex, and ultimately producing babies with the best partner, and providing a better growth environment for the babies. Well, that’s quite a few decades in that one sentence. Everything that threatens or has any slightest outside chance of toppling these expectations lead to the state of anger. For example, its 1 at night and some stupid neighbors are drinking alcohol, making noises ultimately making me a bit angry. Why am I getting angry? Because this noise threatens my desire of getting a sound sleep, which ultimately effects my productivity in the next day. So should I stay angry in this case? Well if I were looking for a temporary solution, then getting angry now it’s not a good idea. Because being angry reduces the chance of getting sound sleep even more. But if I stay angry for a while, I may take a decision out of comfort zone. I may knock their door out and teach those neighbors a lesson. I may even form alliances with other neighbors to kick their ass. Problem solved permanently.
If you read the previous paragraph carefully, one of the reactions to my anger was taking a decision out of my comfort zone. Anger in the first place was probably evolved as a feature of the human brain to help them take decisions they normally would avoid. These decisions can ultimately give them evolutionary advantages over the others who don’t get angry enough (complacent) when the things aren’t going well. Wait a minute then, so that means a guy who gets angry a lot offers a better evolutionary advantage. No. See, it’s not the anger but the reaction that offers an advantage. And getting angry a lot has many physiological side effects (a counter to your decision-making advantage). Evolution is a simple rule but it works on the whole network of genes and the combination of results at a given period of time. This article is a mess by now. Getting angry is cool, is not cool. Seems a bit confusing. Let’s them summarize it. To put it simply:
- Your anger is the reaction of your brain to an unhappy situation. Don’t ignore it.
- If you get angry a lot, means mostly you’re not happy. That’s not good. In that case, read carefully the third bullet.
- Your reaction to your anger can make (even break) you. Be smart and channel your anger to take tough, uncomfortable decisions (if needed). Sometimes, you just need to change few things around to regain happiness (like playing football again, dancing, etc.). But if even that doesn’t help.
- Then stay angry. Quoting Dr. Bruce Banner
“That’s the secret Cap! I’m always angry.”
How would that help?
No, you won’t be destroying your shitty office like the hulk. But you will eventually take a decision that your non-anger self won’t ever take. Will it work? May or may not. But it will at least make you feel satisfied. You will be free of your anger and that is one hell of a relief.
To feel that relief, it’s worth it to stay angry for a while.