Keep Your Happiness Close and Your Angriness Closer


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For as long as I can remember, it's been considered a negative thing to get pissed off when bad things happen to you. Society basically says, "Why be upset when you can just put a smile on and go along your merry way?"  However, contrary to popular belief, getting angry can actually be good for your health! According to an article by the Daily Mail Reporter, getting angry is a good way to reduce the negative effects of stress and can actually be an overall positive experience.

angry-face.jpg

In a study conducted by researchers as reported in that article, 30 men listened to 50 phrases linked to everyday interactions and situations bound to aggravate the average person. The subjects' heart rates, arterial tensions, levels of testosterone and cortisol, along with their asymmetric activations of the brain, the general state of mind and the subjective experience of the anger emotion, were logged both before and immediately after listening to the 50 phrases. Their findings showed some much expected results of being angry, including increased heart rate, arterial tension, and testosterone - easy arguments against the idea that there is some truth behind the benefits of getting angry. However, the results also showed, that the left frontal region of the brain, responsible for experiencing positive emotions, became more stimulated than the right hemisphere, which is involved in negative emotions. Additionally, the left frontal region can generate a sense of closeness, which can in turn trigger a sense of happiness, while the right frontal region of the brain can trigger withdrawal, fear and sadness.

So how could this be? According to Neus Herrero, main author of this study, instead of simply viewing whatever angers us as negative, as humans, we tend to try to get closer to it in order to eliminate it. Such a concept is rather twisted because one would be more likely to believe that people tend to shy away from something that would make them upset.  However, in many real life cases, it's easy to see how Herror's concept makes sense. For example, on the show Maury, it is very common for angry baby mammas to literally get closer to (or rather, in the faces of) what makes them angry- their dead beat baby daddies- in order to eliminate them.

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This video (3:55) is also a good example of  how that works.

Such an interesting concept begs the questions: Is it really human nature that prompts us to associate closely with the things that anger us? Or maybe is this behavior something that we learn over time from seeing others do it?


6 Comments

I found this to be interesting because I would think that the more something makes you angry then the less likely a person would want to get closer to it. Your example of the Maury show was a very good example, though. I read an article where 28 percent of people had said that they thought being angry was useless or could even be harmful. These people found no use in being angry. This article also states that anger is a good thing because it is "designed to protect us." Anger is linked to expectations and when you do not meet those expectations then it is okay to be angry. By being angry, then realization comes into play that something needs to be changed or your doing something wrong which then makes you want to do things differently. Like you said, being angry is not such a bad thing.
http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/good-anger.htm

I really enjoyed your blog! It was very easy to relate to and easy to see how the studies and results of these studies could be accurate. It is very often seen that many people need a place to let go of all the anger they have built up inside of them. Perhaps this is a much better option than having it bundled in and leading to stress. According to this study one of the most common symptoms of stress is anger. And as it is commonly known, building stress up can be detrimental to both physical and mental health. Some ways to release anger that can be less harmful than commonly anticipated are through relaxing activities and through physical exercise. The Association for Psychological Science gives suggestions such as "hitting pillows" or yelling and cursing as good ways to get the anger off your chest. release anger

Dorisa,
This is a cool blog and idea over all. I've never really looked deep into my anger/ how I react with it. A lot of what you're saying seems to be true. Not only does screaming in someone's face help to eliminate a lot of stress/ anger but getting up and moving in general. Consider famous baseball players or hockey players. Whenever a fight breaks out during a game, the players (in hockey) hit each other and curse one another out, as their teammates surround them, aiming to help alleviate their stress. And in baseball, the players and manager usually always run to the pitchers mound and get rowdy. I typically picture the manager getting up in the umpire's face. Whenever we walk away from these types of fights, arguments, etc. i feel as though we can always take a deep breath after. Is it because of the left frontal region of the brain stimulating happiness that you mentioned?? If you're one to lash out too often, there are a lot of tips to help you relax before you make a fool out of yourself. They include taking a time out, expressing anger only when you're calm, excercise to alleviate the stress, thinking before you speak and planning some solutions in your mind. To learn more about these steps specifically visit this site:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anger-management/MH00102

Amanda, I checked out the link you posted and there was an anger quiz on the page! Have you taken it? It’s pretty interesting and I learned a lot of new information about how anger works. Check it out!

Anushi, like you said, physical activity is a good way to release anger. A good friend of mine frequently goes on runs if she finds herself in a bad mood.

The article in the link you posted refers to anger as a monster, or poisonous. So I couldn’t see why people would be reluctant to release it. In my opinion, it feels great to get it out! The article mentioned throwing a ball against the wall as a way to release tension and anger. I might try that next time I’m in need of some release!

Katelyn, the umpire and hockey/baseball player examples are really great! They’ve never actually occurred to me, which is odd because it happens so often! I used get angry quite often and I slowly began using the method of only expressing anger when calm, like you mentioned. Over the years, I found that that has been more effective than just reacting angrily right off the bat. This website has some great information on various ways to express anger, how to gauge your anger and even ways to understand the anger of others! Check it out!

http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx

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