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Anger Management

Did you feel 2017 was a Year of Anger? You weren't alone

All this week, will be aiming to help you reduce your exposure to anger – and to channel that emotion more constructively in 2018.


The year just gone had some notable lightning rods for public ire – notably, the presidency of Donald Trump in the US but also the expressions of anger emanating from his Twitter-happy finger.

On this side of the Atlantic, it was hard not to be bad-tempered at every twist of the Brexit knife or at the continued inequality in an Irish society supposedly in recovery.

Race supremacists, gender-based violence, terrorist attacks, political instability – the world seemed to be seething in all quarters.

When Pepsi released its short-lived ad showing Kendall Jenner apparently disarming a tense police squad with a can of the fizzy drink, it caused serious offence. Even more, there was a sense of disbelief at its naivety.

Add to this the ever-expanding opportunities to be exposed to news and opinions which rile – through the power of social media networks and other digital incursions – and it’s a recipe for what Time magazine branded the Rage Flu. It’s contagious and, as with all stress-based emotions if experienced at a consistent rate and on a deep-enough level, can make you ill.

Life Noggin / YouTube

Can anger be constructive?

An international study published this summer concluded that anger is not always an unwanted emotion. Experiencing anger at what one perceives as an injustice, for example, is key to a child’s development. Lead researcher Dr Maya Tamir said that if you feel anger when you feel it appropriate, then it is as useful an emotion to you as feeling pleasure or grief.

She said: “Someone who feels no anger when reading about child abuse might think they should be angrier about the plight of abused children, so want to feel more anger than they actually do in that moment.” It doesn’t matter that the emotion you want to express is negative, the fact that you want to express it is good for you.

The expression of anger over an injustice has been a parallel trend this year – and one that could be seen as of major societal benefit. Think about the focused outpouring of stories of sexual harassment or mistreatment that was sparked by the rage-inducing revelations about sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. While not every story shared resulted in an investigation, the #MeToo movement on social media gave expression to previously silent voices.

Expressing ire over an unsatisfactory situation is part of the changemaker’s toolkit. Ruth O’Reilly and others from the women’s Ireland rugby team forced the IRFU to take notice of the disparity in resources and attention given to the squad (although the situation is still somewhat in limbo). The growing clamour from Irish society that the rate of homelessness and dearth of affordable housing in the country forced the issue onto the political agenda.

There can be some benefit too to recognising fears and anxieties that might otherwise be expressed in anger (or repressed). First Fortnight, a now annual event in Dublin has this idea at its core – the expression of mental health experiences and issues through art and creativity. It begins this week and also has events in some other locations nationwide (check the programme here).

Dealing with anger in everyday life

This week on, we will be sharing insights, experiences and tips on how to manage both the anger coming at you, and the anger you may feel in 2018.

Tomorrow, we will be speaking to one of the foremost neuroscientists specialising in this area and finding out how mindfulness can be more than a buzzword.

We will also be asking YOU, community to share your experiences with anger and how you deal with it in aspects of your life.

  • And if you want to delve into the type of anger you are more prone to in your daily interactions, try our quiz.

For now, we leave you with this thought:

Did you feel there was more anger about in 2017 than in 2016?

Poll Results:

Yes (1577)
No (405)
I'm not sure (167)

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