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Anger

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The Hulk has been the personification of anger and rage for several decades.
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Anger is a term for the emotional aspect of aggression, as a basic aspect of the stress response in animals whereby a perceived aggravating stimulus "provokes" a counterresponse which is likewise aggravating and threatening of violence. Very mild types of anger are typically described as "distaste," "displeasure", or "irritation," while "rage" refers to an extreme degree of anger associated with a loss of calmness or discipline (in the case of human conduct).

Often based in a sensation or perception of threat, anger can be considered an emotional component in the increased threat response (part of the broader "stress response") whereby the charged emotional state produces physiological effects (increased adrenaline, cortisol), thereby producing behavioural effect of heightened stress and aggression.

Anger may be "provoked" (or triggered) by perceived threats, like conflict, or by abstract concepts such as injustice. There are many physical conditions that increase the potential for one to become angry. Common contributors to irritability include fatigue, hunger, being in pain, sexual frustration, or recovery from an illness. Other causes are hormonal changes, such as those associated with PMS, giving birth, and menopause, physical withdrawal, and bipolar disorder. Research also shows that some individuals can be genetically predisposed to higher levels of anger.

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Benefits of anger

There are some positive aspects of anger. The first aspect is self-protection, where our bodies are aroused into a state where they can respond with maximum physical energy for our defence in response to potential hurt. This is often referred to as the 'fight’ component of the fight-or-flight response. The second is decompression, where our bodies are given a chance to release pent-up physical tension caused by overexposure to frustration. The safe physical ventilation of anger is an effective way of helping our autonomic nervous system to switch back to its normal relaxed functioning state, which is commonly referred to as the ‘calm after the storm’.

Psychology

At the end of the 19th century, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, argued that individuals are born with an innate aggressive instinct, and when this is blocked, they have a natural urge to become hostile or angry. Since that time, many of Freud’s ideas have been proven incorrect. In 1988, the American Psychological Association and the American Anthropological Association reviewed all the research and concluded that we are not genetically predisposed to violence, nor can it be scientifically related to natural evolutionary processes. Our physiological and genetic makeup does give us the physical equipment with which to become both aggressive and angry, but the manner in which we use it is very largely determined by our psychological and social development.

Physiological effects

More noticeable effects of anger include:

  • More acute senses.
  • Desire to yell or to move quickly and forcefully.
  • The eyes are open wider than usual and the pupils are dilated.
  • The face reddens, but then may turn pale.
  • Increased physical strength.
  • Speech and motion are faster and more intense.
  • Tense muscles.

Religious perspective on anger

Buddhism presents a quite different view on emotions like anger. Anger is defined here as: "being unable to bear the object, or the intention to cause harm to the object". Anger is seen as aversion with a stronger exaggeration, and is listed as one of the five hindrances.

In Christianity, causeless, excessive, or protracted anger is sinful (Matt. 5:22; Col. 3:8), and unbridled wrath is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. The Bible warns "do not let the sun go down on your anger" (Eph. 4:26), that is, do not let feelings of anger last so long as to become sinful. However, the "wrath of God" merely denotes God's displeasure with sin and with sinners (Ps. 7:11).

See also

External links

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