Author Archive

Fyreglass: “Why Are We All So Angry?” *Open Thread*

October 17, 2018

Rev. Amy here. Once again, we are fortunate to have an outstanding post from Fyreglass (Mud, Fire, And Broken Glass). The topic is timely indeed, and honestly, is one we could probably reprint every day given the current climate in this country.

Thanks to dear KenoshaMarge for putting this up for today

And many thanks to Fyreglass for allowing us to repost this here. It is much appreciated!

Why Are We All So Angry?


Today I want to talk about anger.

Everyone gets angry sometimes – that’s just being human.  But, lately, a whole lot of people seem to be vividly displaying their anger for all the world to see.  Whether it’s because of politics, road rage, or the pressures of work and family life, anger seems to be on the rise everywhere you look.  People are getting angry over just about everything nowadays.  Worse yet, they seem to be holding on to that anger, unwilling to let it go – and that’s just not healthy.


Lots of things can make us angry – big things, little things, everyday things, and over the top, out of our control things.  Life is full of them.  But how we deal with our anger makes a big difference.

If we can channel our anger into something productive – using it as the fuel to get us out of our chairs and move us toward a constructive end – so much the better.  But all too often we simply sit and stew in our anger – sometimes even allowing it to boil over into violence and destruction.  This hurts not only those around us, but ourselves, as well.

Sustaining anger takes a lot of energy.   It’s exhausting, to be frank.  It’s also toxic.  The human body reacts to sustained anger in much the same way it reacts to sustained stress – in other words, poorly.

anger 2

Medical science tells us that sustained or recurring anger is dangerously unhealthy.  Anger has been shown to have a negative impact on the human immune system.  High levels of anger can damage your heart, increase your risk of stoke, and often leads to high blood pressure – or makes it worse if you already suffer from it.

But did you know that frequent anger can also cause or increase chronic headaches, insomnia, digestive trouble, and skin problems such as eczema?  If you have anxiety issues, anger can make them worse.  High levels of anger have been linked to chronic depression.  And sustained anger has been shown to have a measurably adverse effect on lung function – lowering lung capacity and increasing the risk of respiratory illness.  That’s a whole lot of toxicity, if you ask me.


So why is everyone so angry?  There are lots of reasons.

Our busy schedules, for starters.  We pack our days so full of all the things we think we ought to do that we have no time for the things we want to do.  We should slow down, but we just can’t.  We try to do everything, and then get frustrated when things don’t go according to plan.  We set our expectations for ourselves so high that we wind up expecting the impossible.  Sometimes, we set the bar too high for others, as well – which causes frustration for them and us.


Sometimes, we get angry at things that should be simple, but aren’t.  Computers and other electronic gadgets that don’t work the way we expect them to.  Customer service that isn’t at all helpful, even though it should be.  Delays or gaps in basic services.  Government forms and regulations that are unnecessarily complicated.  Printed instructions that don’t make sense (or worse, leave out a crucial step).  Any of these can, at the right wrong moment, cause us to boil over or explode.

Then, there’s the news.  Lately, the news seems custom tailored to make us angry.  That’s not really a coincidence.

Ever heard the phrase “sex sells”?  Well, so does anger.  The media has figured out that keeping us angry means we will keep coming back.  The more outrageous the headline, the better.  Stoking our anger means we are more likely to click that link, or buy that magazine.  And, with so many different media outlets vying for our attention, the competition is fierce.  So each media outlet has to poke you just a little harder, and make you just a little more angry than you were before, to get you to click/buy.  The media has a vested interest in keeping us angry.

Politicians have a vested interest in our anger, as well.  The angrier we are, the less likely we are to think.  And, if we’re not thinking clearly, it is easier for us to swayed, to be led, to be manipulated.

Con artists use that fact to their advantage.  Politicians do, too. By activating our emotions – fear, greed, even sympathy and compassion – .con artists can guide us down a rabbit hole and convince us to do things that we would not ordinarily do.  Politicians often use the same mechanism.  Using fear, doubt, and anger, they convince us to vote the way they want us to – rather than voting in our own best interest.  It’s a shell game – and keeping us angry not only keeps us off-balance and easily manipulated, it keeps us from realizing that we’ve been had.


But we can change all of that.  We can slow down our anger, if we want to.  We can take steps to minimize the damage we do to ourselves.  Take a breath.  Take a walk.  Dance.  Sing.  Work out.  Make something.  Break something.  Count to ten, or twenty, or one hundred if need be.

Anger is a choice.  It’s an easy choice, because we’ve done it so often that it has become second nature.  We’ve come to rely on it.  But we can train ourselves out of that reliance.  We can look inside ourselves and figure out which things tend to always make us angry.  What triggers our anger?  What fuels it, feeds it, makes it grow?  Don’t let someone use your own anger against you.  Now look for the things that calm your anger, the things that quiet and cool it, that smother the flame and put out the fire.  Use those things!  Defend yourself!

If we try, we can find the tools to minimize our anger.  We can learn to wait, to pause before flying off the handle.  We can change.  We need to try.  We will never be perfect, but we can be better.   We owe it to those around us, to those that love us.  But most of all, we owe it to ourselves.  Because this anger is killing us.

Here’s hoping your day is bright and happy, with no anger or frustration to mar it!

Geranium Blossoms

Comments are always welcome.  Let’s start a conversation!