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What is anger, really? – Nerdful Mind #104

January 9, 2022 by Simon Mannes

When I have more to do than I can handle, I get stressed.

If I get stressed, I'm much less patient with myself and with others.

This makes me irritable. And then, sometimes, little things and inconveniences anger me.

  • The washing machine making noises while I want to concentrate
  • A friend not responding for hours after I asked him when we should meet
  • The internet not working for a couple of minutes

So stuff that, under normal circumstances, I'd just shrug off. But when I'm already feeling stressed or nervous, even these small things are just too much.

But why does this result in anger?

Getting angry is very often a self-defense mechanism to deflect a feeling of failure and unworthiness off of yourself. Either on the circumstances or on another person.

Or, as Brené Brown puts it: “Blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort.”

There's also a Buddhist saying: “anger is like a hot coal you're holding in your hand, waiting until you can throw it at someone.”

So how can I break out of this?

What really helps me is to feel into my anger. To allow myself to feel vulnerable and to see the stress I have. Because then I can do two things: talk about it, and let it go.

“Anger is a catalyst. Holding on to it will make us exhausted and sick. Internalizing anger will take away our joy and spirit; externalizing anger will make us less effective in our attempts to create change and forge connection. It’s an emotion that we need to transform into something life-giving: courage, love, change, compassion, justice. Or sometimes anger can mask a far more difficult emotion like grief, regret, or shame, and we need to use it to dig into what we’re really feeling. Either way, anger is a powerful catalyst but a life-sucking companion.” — Brené Brown

Reading Recommendations

First Two Steps to Creating Resilience

“When life is shaking us up and we’re feeling stressed … it can be tough to feel resilient. Resilience helps us to deal with the chaos and overwhelm … but how to we create it when we feel like we’re underwater?”

Sleep may help us to forget by rebalancing brain synapses

“New research provides evidence for the idea that sleep restores cellular homeostasis in the brain and helps us to forget irrelevant information.”

Software Testing Lifecycle: A Complete and Simple Guide

“In modern software development, especially in agile methodologies, testing isn’t an isolated stage but rather a continuous activity. Still, that doesn’t mean that testing occurs the same way, all of the time. Instead, the software testing activities change and evolve to fulfill any given project's current needs. In this post, we’ll offer a guide on how software testing adapts in the context of an agile project.”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

I often give myself a hard time.

“You should've done this earlier.” “Why were you so unproductive today?” “Fix your sleeping schedule!”

This week, try to notice every time you get angry with yourself. When you notice it, remind yourself that there is no point in talking yourself down. Instead, let go and smile.

You deserve to be treated with love and kindness by the person closest to you, yourself.

Introspection Question

Is it hard for you to say “I'm sorry”? If so, when and why?

End Note

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Have a great week


PS: What do you think about this? Please hit reply and let me know. I’m curious!