Tag Archives: #anger

What to Do (and Not Do) After You’ve Been Cheated On? (Psychology)

Robert Weiss suggested 12 tips for betrayed partners after infidelity

Betrayed partners, after learning that they’ve been cheated on, are typically in a daze—stunned, angry, sad, and struggling to accept and assimilate the infidelity. Worse still, their thoughts and feelings are an absolute rollercoaster, changing drastically from one moment to the next. As such, they struggle to know how to properly react in the moment, how to envision and think about the future, how to decide whether to stay or go, and sometimes how to just make it through the day without completely losing it.

© Shutterstock, Brovko Serhii

If you and your relationship have been impacted by a partner’s infidelity, and this chaos, confusion, and uncertainty sounds familiar to you, the following tips—six things you should do and six things you should not do—may be helpful.

  1. DO get a full STD screening. As soon as you learn that your partner has been unfaithful (even if you think the infidelity occurred only online), you should visit a clinic or your primary care physician, explaining the situation and asking for a full STD screen.
  2. DON’T have unprotected sex with your partner. No matter what your partner tells you, you absolutely should not have unprotected sex until you and he or she have had a full (and clean) STD screen and you feel confident that he or she has been faithful to you since the screening.
  3. DO investigate your legal rights, even if you hope to heal your relationship and stay together. Wanting to stay together doesn’t mean you will. You should always find out your rights in a potential separation, including financial concerns, property concerns, and parenting issues (if you have kids together).
  4. DON’T jump into long-term decisions. Making life-changing decisions (like impulsively deciding to end your relationship and move across the country) when you are at the height of anger and pain is not a good idea. It is better to put off life-changing decisions until things have calmed down and you’ve had a chance to fully and rationally assess what is best for you. The general rule of thumb is no major changes in the first six months after discovery.
  5. DO get support for yourself. Dealing with a partner’s betrayal requires a level of emotional support that is beyond the life experience of most people. If you are wise, you will seek assistance from people who understand what you’re going through—therapistssupport groups for betrayed partners, family and friends who’ve dealt with similar betrayal.
  6. DON’T try to use sex to fix the problem. Sex is not relationship glue. Sex will not fix the problems wrought by infidelity. Sure, sexual intensity may feel good (and bonding) in the moment, but using sex to assuage emotional pain is a form of mutual denial that moves both you and your partner away from the process of healing. Generally, it is wise to hold off on sex until relationship trust is restored.
  7. DO learn everything you can about infidelity. This educational process helps you to better understand your partner and his or her betrayal and to make healthier decisions in the future.
  8. DON’T make threats you don’t intend to carry out. If you tell your partner that any further betrayal will cause you to leave, make sure you are ready to follow through on that. Otherwise, you diminish your credibility. (It’s usually best to not make threats at all. Say what you feel, but don’t make threats that you might regret later.)
  9. DO trust your feelings and observations. If you feel that you’re being lied to or that your partner is still cheating, trust your intuition. If you don’t see your partner doing what he or she needs to do to make things right, that probably means that things are not getting better.
  10. DON’T take blame for your partner’s behavior. Taking responsibility for your partner’s choice to cheat is not helpful. Nothing that you did or did not do caused the infidelity. It doesn’t matter how you’ve aged, how much weight you’ve gained or lost, or how involved you are with the kids and/or work. You are not responsible for your partner’s betrayal. That is a decision your partner made on his or her own.
  11. DO expect to join your partner in therapy if you want to work things out. It is likely that you want a full accounting of your cheating partner’s behavior. This type of disclosure best occurs in the presence of a neutral professional. If there is a therapist present to help you process the disclosure experience, you reduce the risk of further harm to both you and your relationship.
  12. DON’T stick your head in the sand. If you have an investment in your relationship, you can’t avoid the hard facts of your partner’s betrayal. Pretending the problem will go away on its own can be tempting, but it is ultimately ineffective. You need to address the issue head-on.

Copyright of this article totally belongs to Robert Weiss, (Ph.D., MSW), who is the author of Out of the Doghouse: A Step-by-Step Relationship-Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating. This article is republished here from psychology today under common creative licenses

Why You Need to Pitch Your Voice Lower? (Psychology)

According to Nick Morgan and recent studies, when you’re stressed, your vocal chords tighten up and your pitch accordingly raises. Unless you’re completely cool for an event or important conversation, you need to practice.

Back in the mid- or early nineties, Nick Morgan videotaped for the first time, doing some media work for his then-employer, Princeton University. Aside from the usual reactions – he didn’t like his hair, his clothes, his physique, or what he did with his hands – he was most astonished by the shrill, pipsqueak voice that came trilling out of what he thought was his body.

He barely recognized it. It sounded ridiculous. And he couldn’t figure out what had happened. The voice didn’t sound anything like what he remembered from the day of taping. Was it a tech issue? Had his voice been distorted by a malicious camera operator? What was going on?

So he asked the other folks present that day if the silly voice on the recording sounded at all like my “real” voice. “Oh, sure,” they said, “pretty much. Maybe a little higher, and more stressed out, but pretty much.”

“I learned three lessons from this exercise in humiliation.”, said Nick Morgan.

First, your voice doesn’t sound to you like it does to other people. Quite simply, you’re hearing it from an internal perspective; they’re hearing it from outside. If you’re planning on doing any amount of public speaking, or if you simply want to know what you sound like to others, record your voice early on, get used to it, and start to work on it to make it better.

Second, adrenaline makes your voice go higher. When you’re stressed, your vocal chords tighten up and your pitch accordingly raises. Unless you’re completely cool for an event or important conversation, then, you need to practice deliberately lowering your pitch to compensate.

Third, we humans are incredibly good at hearing the stress in other people’s voices. We pick up on it immediately. That’s part of why public speakers need to learn to compensate. But there’s more. It turns out, according to recent research, that people speak in higher-pitched voices when talking to higher status people, or if we’re intimidated. So if you don’t want to signal either of these two impressions, lower your voice.

Another study found that men lower their voices in order to try to dominate in certain settings. In short, we signal dominance with lower-pitched voices. And still another study found that people who spoke with lowered voices were perceived as both more prestigious and more admirable.

Now you have the bad news. Stress, of the kind that you naturally experience when giving a presentation or having a crucial conversation, will tighten up your vocal chords, raise your pitch, and generally make you sound stressed out.

But that voice will also make you appear less prestigious, less admirable, and lower in status.

None of those things will help you succeed, so now’s the time to begin to work on your voice, keeping it low despite any stress you may be experiencing.

Relaxation exercises, and of course deep, belly breathing, will help you sound like the authority you are hoping to be, not like the terror-stricken underling he must have appeared back in the day for those TV appearances.

Live and learn!

Copyright of this article totally belongs to Nick Morgan, who is president of Public Words Inc., a communications consulting company, and the author of books including Can You Hear Me?: How to Connect with People in a Virtual World. This article is republished here from psychology today under common creative licenses

Finding Someone to Blame (Psychology)

What do we do when there is no obvious culprit?

One of the things we do when we get angry is assign blame. When something negative happens to us, we make a decision about who is responsible and why they did what they did. In fact, misattributing causation is associated with anger.

©Gettyimages

How, though, do we handle things when there is no obvious culprit? What do we do when there’s really no one to blame (i.e., bad weather, illness)? Or, what if we’re the ones to blame?

As a quick refresher, the chronically angry have a tendency to assign blame incorrectly. They might literally blame the wrong person for something or they might blame the right person but misattribute why it happened (“they did this on purpose” instead of “this was a simple mistake”).

Imagine how this might play out in the following circumstances.

  1. You are driving to a job interview and there is terrible weather that has traffic backed up  considerably.
  2. You and your significant other are having a difficult time getting pregnant.
  3. You are on your way to the airport for an international flight and you can’t find your passport.

In each of these cases, we see a situation without an obvious culprit (or, in the case of the last one, we see a situation where you might actually be the culprit for misplacing your own passport). What do you do? It’s harder to be mad when there’s no clearly responsible party (part of the appraisal process is deciding if the provocation was deliberate, blameworthy, and punishable). Who do you blame?

We often see a variety of semi-irrational thoughts in these cases. Weather-induced traffic gets blamed on poor city planning, climate change, or even God. Infertility gets blamed on poor health habits or an inability to relax. The lost passport gets blamed on the passport, instead of the person who misplaced it (“where did that passport go” instead of “where did I put that passport”).

I describe them as semi-irrational because there’s a tiny bit of truth to most of them (maybe not the passport). Climate change is causing more catastrophic weather conditions and our infrastructure isn’t prepared for it. Health habits and stress do exacerbate infertility. These things are a little bit relevant (as part of a much larger puzzle of causes). That’s why we can so easily shift responsibility to them in our minds without realizing that we’re fooling ourselves.

What should we do in these circumstances?  First, it’s okay to acknowledge that sometimes bad things happen without a particular responsible party. Second, try to adjust your focus from finding the offender to finding the solution. Part of the reason we look for the offender is that we don’t like it when things feel out of control. Focusing on a solution is a way of taking back some of that control. 

This article is originally written by Ryan Martin, who is an anger researcher and a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. This article is republished here from psychology today under common creative licenses.

Using a Video Game to Understand The Origin of Emotions (Neuroscience)

Emotions are complex phenomena that influence our minds, bodies and behavior. A number of studies have sought to connect given emotions, such as fear or pleasure, to specific areas of the brain, but without success. Some theoretical models suggest that emotions emerge through the coordination of multiple mental processes triggered by an event. These models involve the brain orchestrating adapted emotional responses via the synchronization of motivational, expressive and visceral mechanisms.

The transient synchronization between the different emotional components corresponds to an emotional state. Credit: UNIGE/LEITAO

To investigate this hypothesis, a research team from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) studied brain activity using functional MRI. They analyzed the feelings, expressions and physiological responses of volunteers while they were playing a video game that had been specially developed to arouse different emotions depending on the progress of the game. The results, published in the journal PLOS Biology, show that different emotional components recruit several neural networks in parallel distributed throughout the brain, and that their transient synchronization generates an emotional state. The somatosensory and motor pathways are two of the areas involved in this synchronization, thereby validating the idea that emotion is grounded in action-oriented functions in order to allow an adapted response to events.

Most studies use passive stimulation to understand the emergence of emotions: they typically present volunteers with photos, videos or images evoking fear, anger, joy or sadness while recording the cerebral response using electroencephalography or imaging. The goal is to pinpoint the specific neural networks for each emotion. “The problem is, these regions overlap for different emotions, so they’re not specific,” begins Joana Leitão, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Fundamental Neurosciences (NEUFO) in UNIGE’s Faculty of Medicine and at the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences (CISA). “What’s more, it’s likely that, although these images represent emotions well, they don’t evoke them.”

A question of perspective

Several neuroscientific theories have attempted to model the emergence of an emotion, although none has so far been proven experimentally. The UNIGE research team subscribe to the postulate that emotions are “subjective”: two individuals faced with the same situation may experience a different emotion. “A given event is not assessed in the same way by each person because the perspectives are different,” continues Dr. Leitão.

In a theoretical model known as the component process model (CPM) – devised by Professor Klaus Scherer, the retired founding director of CISA- an event will generate multiple responses in the organism. These relate to components of cognitive assessment (novelty or concordance with a goal or norms), motivation, physiological processes (sweating or heart rate), and expression (smiling or shouting). In a situation that sets off an emotional response, these different components influence each other dynamically. It is their transitory synchronization that might correspond to an emotional state.

Emotional about Pacman

The Geneva neuroscientists devised a video game to evaluate the applicability of this model. “The aim is to evoke emotions that correspond to different forms of evaluation,” explains Dr. Leitão. “Rather than viewing simple images, participants play a video game that puts them in situations they’ll have to evaluate so they can advance and win rewards.” The game is an arcade game that is similar to the famous Pacman. Players have to grab coins, touch the “nice monsters,” ignore the “neutral monsters” and avoid the “bad guys” to win points and pass to the next level.

The scenario involves situations that trigger the four components of the CPM model differently. At the same time, the researchers were able to measure brain activity via imaging; facial expression by analyzing the zygomatic muscles; feelings via questions; and physiology by skin and cardiorespiratory measurements. “All of these components involve different circuits distributed throughout the brain,” says the Geneva-based researcher. “By cross-referencing the imagery data with computational modeling, we were able to determine how these components interact over time and at what point they synchronize to generate an emotion.”

A made-to-measure emotional response

The results also indicate that a region deep in the brain called the basal ganglia is involved in this synchronization. This structure is known as a convergence point between multiple cortical regions, each of which is equipped with specialized affective, cognitive or sensorimotor processes. The other regions involve the sensorimotor network, the posterior insula and the prefrontal cortex. “The involvement of the somatosensory and motor zones accords with the postulate of theories that consider emotion as a preparatory mechanism for action that enables the body to promote an adaptive response to events,” concludes Patrik Vuilleumier, full professor at NEUFO and senior author of the study.

Reference: Joana Leitão et al, Computational imaging during video game playing shows dynamic synchronization of cortical and subcortical networks of emotions, PLOS Biology (2020). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000900 https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000900

Provided by University of Geneva

We All Want the Same Thing (Psychiatry)

We want to feel valued by somebody else.

We all want the same thing: simply to be valued by somebody else.  Think about every person you have ever met.  They just want to feel valued. I want to feel valued, and so do you. By someone. Right?

©Joseph Shrand et al.

I think this universal human need has very ancient roots.  Millions of years ago we were not the fastest animal, not the strongest, not the biggest animal.  We were isolated mammals scurrying around trying not to be lunch.  We were prey.

And then we formed these small social groups, and our survival potential increased so dramatically that human beings are everywhere.  But to stay protected by the group you have to contribute: you have to have value.

This survival mode explains why I get angry, anxious, or sad when I feel less valued.  The limbic part of my brain worries I may get kicked out of my protective and be lunch.  Right or wrong, just the perception of being devalued activates our ancient, irrational, emotional, and often impulsive response.  We worry we will be lunch.

Anger is often an irrational and impulsive emotion that originates in an ancient part of our brain called the limbic system.  The limbic system can make us impulsive, doing things without thinking about the consequences of our action or what will happen next.

Anger is the fight branch of fight or flight.  It is an emotion designed to change things. We get angry when we want someone to do something different.  To start doing something or stop doing something.  Anger happens when you think someone is trying to take something from you, or has more than you leaving you less than and vulnerable. Anger is an approach emotion, often designed to make somebody else activate their flight branch, the fear and anxiety that comes with feeling threatened.

When we sense that somebody else sees us with less value we worry we will be kicked out of our protective group and some predator will come and eat us. That we will be lunch. This group mentality has helped us survive.  But it can backfire.  An entire group can feel devalued by another group.  This can lead to war. 

There are millions of people in our country, in other countries, in our world, who feel that others see them as less-than.  Many are angry.  They want something to change.

Right now, at this very moment in our history, there are a lot of angry people who feel that something is being taken from them.  And they want that to change.

They want what we all want.  To feel valued.  But not just by people in their group.  They want to feel valued by people in your group.

We are one group.  It’s called humanity.

If we continue to act limbically and impulsively we are not going to be able to anticipate what will happen next.

The part of our brain responsible for rational thought, for making a plan, executing that plan, and anticipating what will happen next lives right behind our forehead and is called the pre-frontal cortex or PFC.  How many times have you done something impulsively, limbically, and slapped your forehead as if trying to jump-start your pre-frontal cortex?

Keep it Frontal.  Don’t Go Limbic.

There is nothing wrong with anger: it’s what you do with it that matters.

And when is the last time you got angry at someone treating you with respect?

You don’t.

Because anger is an emotion designed to change things. But being respected feels great so our brains do not activate anger.

Respect leads to value which is what everybody wants.  And what’s amazing is that at any and every moment in time you can remind someone of their value.  And whenever you remind someone of their value you increase your own value.  And everyone wants to feel valuable.

Respect leads to value and value leads to trust.  And trust is the antidote to anger and fear and sadness because when you believe that someone else sees you as valuable you can make a mistake and not worry that the person will see you as less valuable, and kick you out of your protective group.

That’s what we need to do right now.

Value each other instead of judging each other as less than.  I would rather wonder than worry about why you do what you do.  I would rather be reflective than reflexive, I would rather have the discussion, use my PFC as you use yours, and explore our differences as opportunities to learn.  I want to know why you are angry, without being afraid of your anger.

I want you to know that you are respected, valued, and that we can create a foundation of trust.  We need this now more than ever.  There is nothing wrong with anger, it’s what we do with it that will matter.  And never forget that we all want the exact same thing, no matter which group or tribe or country we come from.  We just want to feel valued by somebody else.

Keep it Frontal.  Don’t Go Limbic.

We can do this.

References: Shrand, J.,  Devine, L.  Outsmarting Anger: 7 Strategies for Defusing our most Dangerous Emotion.  Josey Bass, 2013

This article is originally written by Joe Shrand, who is an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and is republished here from psychology today under common creative licenses.

Two Dangerous Words: We’re Done (Psychology)

Linda: When someone says the words “we’re done” in the midst of a painful argument, they are suffering so much that they attempt to draw a boundary to leave the painful discussion. But their attempt to deescalate the argument this way makes it worse. Their partner gets the message that they are impossible to deal with and a hopeless case. Such a hard boundary leaves their partner hurt and fearful, feeling threatened by the insinuation that their partner is planning to leave them because they are failing in so many ways that there is no point in going on.

©Dreamstime

Abandonment fears are among the greatest fears that people have. And for many people, hearing those terrible words blurted out in anger evokes a torrent of fear of being left alone. When the speaker of these words calms down, they realize that they didn’t even mean what they said. They know that they were dishonest and are not truly done with the relationship permanently. Frantically flooded with feelings, they reach for the most dramatic language they could find. It was an attempt to assure themselves that they weren’t trapped by reminding their partner that they are free to leave at any time.  

The pain and fright that the words cause is frequently a conversation stopper, which the partner who utters them really does want. But there are so many other ways to draw a boundary that does not come with such a huge price tag.  

The prices that are paid when these two dangerous words are spoken:  

  • Yet another incompletion: Not only is the issue dropped temporarily, but there is so much pain associated with it that the topic isn’t brought up again. It remains to lie in wait of attention on the incompletion pile, draining the life force from the partnership.  
  • Disconnection: The feelings of hurt run so deep to be threatened with abandonment, that there is a disconnection causing distance between partners. Speaking only of superficial subjects for fear of sparking another painful conversation when they are still recovering from the last one, keeps the relationship at a low level of well-being. 
  • Embarrassment: Both partners feel embarrassed due to having lost their composure resulting in speaking and acting in unskillful ways.  
  • Loss of emotional and sexual intimacy
  • Diminished trust. The trust may fall so low that one day, the partner who has been threatened will say, “Fine, let’s let it be over” and it won’t be an empty threat, they will mean it, and the relationship really will be done.             These are all huge prices to pay for indulging in saying two mean spirited words. When the person who uses this threat realizes the prices they pay, they often find the motivation to change the patterns by discovering other options.  
  • Make a fierce commitment: Set an intention to stop indulging in the use of these dangerous words. 
  • Slow down to tune into our experience: When we slow down and pay closer attention to the sensations in our body, we notice when we are beginning to get overheated. Our heart rate is going up; we may be clenching our fists or jaw. These signs are our cue to settle down, rather than move into the danger zone. 
  • Take a break: When we become self-observant, we can take a break before we are so flooded with feelings that we can’t think straight and lapse back onto using dangerous words. 
  • Plan ahead: If we plan ahead for the moments when our fear and pain is activated to the point where we resort to the old threat, we are prepared to say something skillful like “I need a break right now, but I’ll be back.” 
  • Dive down to the real truth: Once we calm down, we can speak in a vulnerable manner about the underlying issues that frighten us and activates our suffering. This vulnerability allows our partner to stay open, rather than moving away to protect themselves or fighting back with their own arsenal of dangerous words.  
  • Search for the learning: There is so much to be learned about what provokes our feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, despair, frustration, doubt, rage, and terror, sometimes to the point where we feel our very survival is at stake.  

It is the calm, open, and respectful exchange of the full range of our feelings that allows both partners to learn how to successfully be in a relationship. If you look at your own experience, you will find that’s the only thing that has ever brought closeness and trust. The dangerous words will never accomplish that goal, they will only take us away from what we most desire, to be wanted, valued, respected, and loved.  

This article is originally written by Linda and Charlie Bloom, who are the authors of Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truths from Real Couples About Lasting Love and is republished here from psychology today under common creative licenses. To read original click here.

How to Deal with Anger? (Psychiatry)

Anger arises from poor perspective, and makes it poorer still.

Anger is a common and potentially destructive emotion that turns many a human life into a living hell. It’s hard to imagine a truly substantial person such as Socrates or the Buddha ever losing his or her temper. By a careful meditation, we can learn to control our anger and even banish it entirely from our lives. So let’s do it.

©Gettyimages

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle says that good-tempered people can sometimes get angry, but only as they ought to. Such people might get angry too soon or not enough, yet still be praised for being good-tempered. It is only if they deviate more markedly from the mean with respect to anger that they become blameworthy, either “irascible” at one extreme or “lacking in spirit” at the other:

For in everything it is no easy task to find the middle … anyone can get angry—that is easy—or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for everyone, nor is it easy; wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble.

In the Rhetoric, Aristotle defines anger as an impulse, accompanied by pain, to exact a conspicuous revenge for a conspicuous slight that has been directed either at ourselves or at our friends. He adds that the pain of anger can be accompanied by pleasure arising from the expectation of revenge. But I’m not so sure. Even if anger does bring some pleasure, this is a very thin kind of pleasure, akin to whatever “pleasure” I might derive from saying “if you ruin my day, I’ll ruin yours” or “look how big I think I am”. It’s hardly a pot of honey.

We can, says Aristotle, be slighted out of one of three things: contempt, spite, and insolence. In each instance, the slight betrays the offence giver’s feelings that we are obviously of no importance. We may or may not get angry at the offence giver, but we are more likely to get angry if we are in distress—for example, in poverty or in love—or if we feel insecure about the subject of the slight or about ourselves in general.

On the other hand, we are less likely to get angry if the slight is involuntary or unintended, or itself provoked by anger, or if the offence giver apologizes or humbles himself before us and behaves like our inferior. Even dogs, says Aristotle, do not bite sitting people. We are also less likely to get angry if the offence giver has done us more kindnesses than we have returned, or obviously respects us, or is feared or needed or admired by us.

Once provoked, anger can be quelled by the feeling that the slight is deserved, by the passage of time, by the exaction of revenge, by the suffering of the offence giver, or by being redirected onto a third party. Thus, although angrier at Ergophilius than at Callisthenes, the people acquitted Ergophilius because they had already condemned Callisthenes to death. Writing more than two thousand years before the birth of psychoanalysis, Aristotle seems to have put his finger on the ego defence of displacement, with the people’s anger for Ergophilius “displaced” onto Callisthenes.

There’s a clear sense in which Aristotle is correct in speaking of such a thing as right or proper anger. Anger can serve a number of useful, even vital, functions. Like fear or anxiety, to which it is somewhat related, it can help us to avert a bodily, emotional, or social threat, or, failing that, mobilize mental and physical resources for evasive, defensive, or restitutive action.

As I argue in Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions, if elegantly exercised, anger can enable a person to signal high social status, compete for rank and position, ensure that contracts and promises are fulfilled, and even inspire positive emotions such as respect and sympathy. People who are able to exercise anger judiciously are likely to feel better about themselves, more in control, more optimistic, and more prone to the sort of risk-taking that promotes successful outcomes.

At the same time, anger, especially anger of the ugly, unconstrained variety, can lead to poor perspective and judgement, impulsive and destructive behavior, and loss of standing and goodwill. In the words of the poet Horace (d. 8 BCE): Ira furor brevis est: animum rege, qui, nisi paret, imperat [Anger is a short-lived madness: control your mind, for if you do not control it, it will control you].

So, it appears that the sort of restrained, measured anger that is justified, strategic, and adaptive ought to be distinguished from a second type of anger (let us call it “rage”) that is raw, unprocessed, inappropriate, irrational, indiscriminate, and uncontrolled. The function of rage is simply to protect a threatened ego, replacing or masking one kind of pain with another, more tolerable one.

But even right or proportionate anger is unhelpful insofar as it is still anger, which is both painful and harmful, and harmful because it involves a loss of perspective and judgement. Here’s an example. Anger, and especially rage, strengthens correspondence bias, which is the tendency, when explaining the behavior of others, to overestimate the role of character traits over situational factors—a bias which goes into reverse when it comes to explaining our own behavior. Thus, if Emma forgets to do the dishes, I am under the impression that this is because she is lazy or irresponsible or even vindictive (character traits); whereas if I forget to do the dishes, I am all too ready to excuse myself on the grounds that I am busy or tired or have more important things to do (situational factors).

At a more fundamental level, anger reinforces the illusion that people exercise a high degree of free will, whereas in fact most of their choices and actions and the brain activity that they correspond to are determined by past events and the cumulative effects of those past events on their patterns of thinking and behaving. Emma is Emma because she is Emma, and, at least in the short-term, there is precious little that she can do about that. It follows that the only person who can truly deserve our anger is the one who acted freely, that is, the one who spited us freely and therefore probably rightly! Anger is a vicious circle: it arises from poor perspective, and makes it poorer still.

This does not mean that anger is never justified, as a short, strategic display of anger, even if undeserved, can still serve a benevolent purpose, as when we pretend to get upset at a child or a dog for the benefit of shaping its behaviour and character.

But if all that is ever required is a calculated display of anger, then true anger that involves real pain is entirely superfluous, its presence serving merely to betray… a certain lack of understanding.

The world is as it is and always has been: howling at the moon is hardly going to make things any better. And it is by truly, profoundly understanding this that we can banish real, painful, and destructive anger from our lives. But this, of course, assumes that we are able to accept the world for what it is.

This article is originally written by Neel Burton, who is a psychiatrist, philosopher, and writer and is republished here from psychology today under common creative licenses.

‘Loss Of Pleasure’ Found In Teen Sleep Study (Psychology)

Sleep patterns around the world have been disrupted as screen time increases and sleep routines change with COVID-19 self-isolation requirements.

Negative mood is not unusual in adolescence, but lack of sleep can affect mental health, causing anhedonia (or loss of pleasure), anxiety, anger and significantly increasing the risk of depression, a global study of more than 350,000 teens shows.

The results just published in Sleep Medicine Reviews connects less sleep with a 55% increased chance of mood deficits and double the risk of reduced positive mood.

From Asia, to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America, sleep clearly was a modifiable risk factor that can improve or depress mood in adolescents, says Flinders University sleep researcher Dr Michelle Short.

“Sleep duration significantly predicts mood deficits on all mood states, including increased depression, anxiety, anger, negative affect and reduced positive affect,” she says, with less sleep linked to an 83% higher chance or anger, 62% increased risk of depressed mood, and 41% higher risk of anxiety.

“Fortunately, there are many interventions individuals, family, the community and even public policy can encourage to maintain regular sleep in this at-risk population to reduce the likelihood of these problems spilling over into mental health issues needing clinical treatment,” she says.

The researchers also recommend increased parental / guardian regulation of sleep and technology use, delayed school starting times, and monitoring academic and other pressures such as out-of-hours tutoring does not impede sleep routine.

Dr Short says that “while positive mood doesn’t get much attention, it is still clinically relevant as one of the key symptoms of depression in anhedonia (loss of pleasure).”

“It is imperative that greater focus is given to sleep as for prevention and early intervention for mood deficits,” the study concludes.

References: Michelle A. Short, Stephen A. Booth, Omar Omar, Linda Ostlundh, Teresa Arora. The relationship between sleep duration and mood in adolescents: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 2020; 52: 101311 DOI: 10.1016/j.smrv.2020.101311

Provided by Flinders University

Is It Better To Vent Your Anger Or Keep It Inside? (Psychology / Mind And Body)

Venting — whether it’s to a co-worker about your boss’s obnoxious request, to a friend about your boyfriend’s infuriating blunder, or to your brother about your mom’s invasive phone call — can seem like a good idea in the moment. Let it all out, and you’ll let it all go, right? Not so much. Studies show that venting doesn’t release anger; it just exacerbates it.

A number of studies have looked at the effects of venting anger. And whether you’re just generally blowing off steam, venting at work, or ranting online, studies have shown that it never makes you feel better. According to a 2007 study that reviewed nearly five decades of anger-expression research, there is no scientific support for any benefits of venting.

“The concept of ‘venting’ is a commonly accepted means by which the negative consequences of anger can be ameliorated,” the study authors write. “Psychological research has shown virtually no support for the beneficial effects of venting, and instead suggests that venting increases the likelihood of anger expression and its negative consequences.” Expressing anger doesn’t get the rage out, studies show, but just reminds you of your rage and gets you all riled up again. As Jeffrey Lohr, who published the 2007 study, explained to Science of Us, venting might “preserve rather than reduce hostile feelings.” Also, according to the research, people who vent a lot get angry more often.

A 2013 study, which looked at those who like to vent online or send angry tweets to release their frustrations, had similar findings. People who read or write online rants are angrier or more unhappy after doing so. “Reading and writing online rants are likely unhealthy practices, as those who do them often are angrier and have more maladaptive expression styles than others,” the study authors write. “Likewise, reading and writing online rants are associated with negative shifts in mood for the vast majority of people.”

And a study published in 2017 found that those who complained about annoyances at work, rather than being good sports about them, were more affected by those annoyances. “When sportsmanship was low, worse negative events took a greater toll on participants – they not only reported lower momentary mood and less satisfaction and pride with the work they’d been doing that same day, but they also tended to experience lower mood the next morning,” the study authors write. “But when sportsmanship was high – meaning that participants hadn’t complained, escalated minor issues, or stewed over things too much – bad events, even if rated as severe, didn’t impact mood or work engagement, that day or the next.”

WHAT TO DO INSTEAD?

So when your boss drives you to start punching walls, what should you do? You don’t need to bottle it up, necessarily. Experts suggest practical coping mechanisms like counting to ten, going for a walk, or taking some deep breaths. Or address the problem in a cooperative, rather than hostile, fashion. “What people fail to realize is that the anger would have dissipated had they not vented,” Jeffrey Lohr told Fast Company. “Moreover, it would have dissipated more quickly had they not vented and tried to control their anger instead.”


References: (1) http://web.b.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=15384985&AN=27802646&h=FLqHr5dDlaVfuQxNSG2BhHUC7x0gqxKS%2fmq1pPci3mJbErgHUcodalSRo6QumX9ze%2bxI6Jh2003WWdIyrGdBig%3d%3d&crl=f&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d15384985%26AN%3d27802646 (2) https://www.thecut.com/2015/07/gchat-venting-is-only-making-you-madder.html (3) Ryan C. Martin, Kelsey Ryan Coyier, Leah M. VanSistine, and Kelly L. Schroeder, “Anger on the Internet: The Perceived Value of Rant-Sites”, Cyber psychology, behavior and social networking, Volume 16, Number 2, 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0130 (4) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1359432X.2016.1257610 (5)https://www.fastcompany.com/3032351/why-venting-about-work-actually-makes-you-angrier