To warm up: a surefire tip to not feel angry anymore
Bank line, late pay, electric bill, that unbearable person from your job or your college class, fights over little stuff on Facebook ... There's no reason to be angry, and you should have other good examples of situations. that make even the most Zen of creatures feel their hot face, their racing heart, and their almost uncontrollable urge to scream around the world.
It turns out that the feeling of anger is a big trap. As seemingly liberating as sensation may be, the effects of anger are very damaging to our mental and physical health, and Time magazine columnist Eric Barker has decided to compile some tips from neuroscientific research so that we can better deal with it. the anger we feel.
Swallowing the anger is not a good idea
Do you know that person who is noticeably furious, spitting fire but who tries his best to say that all is well? Don't be that person. Repressing feelings, even negative ones, is never a good idea after all. The explanation for this is quite simple: when we struggle with any feeling, whatever it is, it gets stronger.
Barker tells about a study with several volunteers. While some of them were informed of an unfortunate event and then instructed not to be sad about it, others were only informed of the tragedy. Do you know which group of people felt worse? The one who was instructed not to be sad.
Another study involved patients who had panic attacks: they were also divided into two groups - one listening to relaxation audios and the other listening to other content that did not talk about relaxing. In the end, the group that listened to the relaxation audios became more anxious than the other group. The conclusion of the study suggests that people who strive to avoid pain are those who take the longest to actually stop feeling pain.
To understand it better, just realize that what brings more relief is not holding back crying but crying at once. So does anger: Trying to suppress this feeling will cause your brain to make a mess of bad feelings.
What is also curious about this is that some behavioral research has already shown that “swallowing” anger not only harms the person who is trying not to have that feeling, but affects the way those around them see it. Suppressing anger makes other people like you less.
Isn't everything we've said so far enough? So know that fighting your feelings is something that uses your willpower a lot. After that, it is very possible that you will take actions that you will regret in the future. And then you may be thinking that the ideal way to deal with the feeling of anger is to discharge it somehow, right? Wrong.
Unloading anger is not a good idea either
It doesn't matter if you're the type to punch a million in the pillow or discount all your anger on your best friend. This is never a good idea. Like the suppression of feeling, its overflow also only makes it more intense.
The issue here has to do with the idea that overflowing is being completely focused on a negative emotion, which, of course, only makes that emotion bigger. Well, feeling angry is really a trap.
What really works is to seek some kind of distraction. Think of it this way: Your brain has limited resources and can focus fully on just one task at a time. Focusing your attention on other things will give you less room for your brain to brood over bad things. In that sense, bet on games, math problems, comic book readings, and anything that takes your attention from what aroused your anger.
There is a famous test that evaluated the resilience of some children. They were in a room with a marshmallow, and if they could stand it without eating it, they would get another candy as a reward. Guess what? The children who waited were the ones with the best grades in school and the most successful in their adult lives.
One of the study's authors, Walter Mischel, explains that children who resisted the temptation of marshmallow were encouraged to be distracted. It was not, therefore, a resistance based solely on aspects of willpower - on the contrary: they sang little songs, made faces, played with what they had in the environment and resisted the candy simply because they forgot that it was there.
At times, however, it is difficult to distract attention from anger and focus on something else, especially if that anger has something to do with someone else, whether it is triggered by discussion or something. And here comes another important key to this question: reassessment.
Exactly. Imagine someone is shouting at you, pointing a finger at your face and saying absurd things about you. The first impulse, of course, is to respond defensively, with nerves on the skin.
What if this person who is yelling at you has just lost his mother in a car accident? What if she is having serious problems at home due to her child's serious illness? Not only is it possible that you may feel less angry with her, you may well have compassion for that same person.
The conflict situation is the same. The same person is shouting at you, and yet your reaction to him may have changed. Researcher Albert Ellis, who once said that we are not frustrated by what happens, but because of what we believe, may well explain why this change occurs.
Research in this area has found that a good way to deal with someone who acts aggressively is to think, "This has nothing to do with me, that person must be on a bad day." Barker sums it up in a very interesting and logical way: "When you change your beliefs about a situation, your brain changes the emotions you feel." If we think about it, it is possible to use this logic in other areas of our lives, not just those related to feelings of anger.
In a reassessment experiment, a group of participants saw pictures of people crying outside a church, which obviously gives the impression that something sad has happened. Then they were told to imagine that the people in that picture were actually crying with excitement after attending a wedding ceremony. As participants reevaluated the situation, the emotions they felt also changed.
Since our emotions are directly linked to the perception of the world and the people around us, changing that perception is a way of changing our emotional responses. This question of reevaluation, which is nothing more than seeking to see things, dialogues and situations from other points of view, is also a great exercise for those who have problems related to anxiety.
This whole mechanism has been studied and confirmed by behavioral scientists around the world. They have already been able to prove that there is a change in brain activity in individuals who reassess their postures in the face of negative stimuli. Functional magnetic resonance imaging can map the changes in brain activity of these individuals.
It is also well known that people who can do this reevaluation exercise often have closer relationships with their friends, talk better about their emotions, and even have better quality love relationships.
Reassessment is a proven way to improve your willpower, decrease your chances of taking wrong actions that may lead to future regrets, and even behave better in times of stress.
The truth is that we do reevaluations all the time, but usually in the wrong direction. When someone acts aggressively, we tend to think that they are trying to hit us and, well, most of the time, the problem has nothing to do with us. Thinking that way is a little liberating, don't you agree?