Anger is one of the most common but often misunderstood emotions. We all know that explosive feeling, but do we know what it really is?
Here’s the truth about a few common myths on anger.
Anger is a bad emotion
Anger is a perfectly normal emotion that we all have. There are many instances when anger is justified and can even lead to positive change. Anger becomes a problem when it is excessive, chronic and inappropriate for the situation at hand.
Anger can be handled by venting
Whether it is yelling or punching a pillow, anger does not dissipate through venting. In other words, you cannot just release anger. Research shows that venting often has the exact opposite effect and can increase the level of anger.
Anger must result in aggression
It is entirely possible to have angry feelings but not engage in aggressive behaviour. No matter how unjustified a situation is, aggressive behaviour and violence rarely results in a positive outcome.
Blocking your anger works
Anger suppression – denying your angry feelings or frustration turns anger inwards. This can cause a variety of health, mental and self esteem issues over time. Trying to keep the peace without expressing your own thoughts and feelings has also been linked to anxiety and depression in some studies.
Men are more angry than women
Both sexes experience a similar amount of anger. However, the main difference is that they express it differently. Men are more likely to show direct aggressive behaviour verbally or physically, while women tend to adopt a more indirect approach, such as passive aggressive behaviour or ignoring the person that they are angry at.
You must be angry to get what you want
Aggression is not as effective as assertiveness. Assertiveness allows you to express your feelings and thoughts in a respectful manner, without the use of aggression. It has been shown that when people feel attacked, they are more likely to attack back regardless of the situation. Assertiveness maximises the chance of getting the message across effectively.
Anger is genetically inherited
Research has indicated that people are not born with set ways of expressing anger. Anger is learned behaviour. We might have learned the behaviour from our parents, friends or family members, but we are certainly capable of changing the way we express our anger.
Anger is often misunderstood by many. There are many effective ways to manage anger besides acting out aggressively. Anger can harm us in a number of ways so it’s crucial that we manage it in healthy and constructive ways.