The Power of Anger

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Anger is, perhaps, the most notorious of all human emotions. It has the ability to spring up when we least expect it, an almost natural and inherent response to an offense or frustration. Humanity’s natural tendency to engage in a primal “fight or flight” response to challenges has unavoidably led to anger being a primary response for many. Still for others, anger is a longer lasting thing, taking root and burning into ashes of bitterness or misgiving. It is obvious that anger is unhealthy – it almost defies intuition to say anything further. However, it remains a complex human emotion. Sure, everyone feels it at some point or another. But where does it come from? How does it manifest? And, most importantly, how can it be taken under control? a detailed examination of the nature of anger and, in response, how it may be managed, may give further insight into this human emotion.
Dr. Charles Spielberger, a psychologist who specializes in the study of anger, has defined anger as “an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage” (APA). This sounds simple enough, but it is this range in intensity, its causes, and its response that makes anger such a difficult subject. In terms of the causes, anger itself can be a response to many events, both external and internal. The anger could be directed at a person, an event, personal problems, or painful memories. No matter what the cause, when anger turns to the extreme, it can be extremely harmful to individuals and whoever surrounds them. As the American Psychological Association’s (APA) pamphlet entitled “Controlling Anger Before It Controls You” states, “Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out...

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