When things go wrong for you, in any way, your initial reaction may be to feel angry about that thing. It will be a reflexive thing, an emotional boiling over, perhaps, in response to that ‘wrong’ thing that happened.
If you are trying to stick with the Stoic mindset though, you would be trying to live a life that has no anger in it. If you scoff at that notion, perhaps you need to have a good think. What good does anger do? Does anger make life go how you want it too, if you miss your bus, and you’re going to be late to work? No, anger won’t hurt there.
In those circumstances, a more useful reaction, a considered reaction, would perhaps be to get in your car and drive to work, because that will get you there on time. Anger takes up your mind and you will be wasting time with fuming, instead of doing some rational thinking.
There are many such circumstances in life, and the more you try to stick with a Stoic mindset, the easier it should become, to take a few seconds before reacting, so that you can respond to things in the most rational way possible.
Anger can have bad health results for a person, who gets easily angry. It can raise their blood pressure, give them a headache, make them anxious. Anger will flood the body with stress chemicals, which are useful if you have to run for your life straight away, but can kill you if it happens too often …
Finding other ways to react, rather than boiling over with anger is a much healthier way to react, and it is more likely to lead to good results, instead of bad ones. Every time you think before you react, you will be doing yourself a favour. This site here has more information about this.
For now though, think about the last time you felt really angry. Did you boil over, or quickly calm down, and then move on to solving whatever the issue was that made you so angry? The angry reaction will slow down a better, more rational action. If there are certain trigger points for you, that you know will always make you angry, it’s useful to think hard about better ways to react, if you worry about ‘going off the rails’, with anger.
A far better way to react might be to look at the thing that has made you angry, and turn it on its head, to think about who you can find a way to take advantage of whatever it was that made you so angry.
For instance, that time when you missed your bus, why did you miss it? If it was because you had a late night, and slept through your alarm, it may be the thing you need to take on better habits, and go to bed earlier on during the week. You will then get more sleep, have more time to get ready in the morning, and maybe even have time for some exercise before you start your day! All good things.
So if you think first, you will be kinder to your body and your mind, and you can set better ways to go in your life. Thinking about issues that affect you will always be a good thing. Perhaps thinking at night time about what you have that will be happening the next day, and considering how things might go, would be a way to feel more prepared in your life. This is a very Stoic way to go, looking at life, and preparing for what may come.
Life is a journey, and it will go better, if you prepare yourself well for the journey, ready for what might come, whatever it is. Think first, leave anger out of your life!
One thought on “Why Feel Angry?”
One of the difficult things I have with Stoicism is that I have strongly held opinions on a variety of things, and when things happen relating to these strongly held ideas and thoughts, I will feel anger well up, even though there may seem to be little I can do to make things happen in what I consider to be ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’.
What can I do, what should I do, that will be in keeping with a Stoic life attitude? I think on this, from time to time, which of course is the Stoic way, rational thought, the preferred mode, rather than merely blasting bile out into the world. This is a work in progress.