TED Conversations

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What causes anger? Can you control it?

In today's world, many are victims of violence. Sometimes these victims are helpless children, other times women, and still other times the elderly.
There is domestic violence, bullying, road rage, verbal abuse, and the list goes on.

What do you think causes the anger? Is it hereditary? Is it learned? Do violent video games trigger it? Is it stress related?

When you are faced with the option to react violently, do you? Are you able to control your anger, if so how?

When you see someone suffering at the hands of a violent or aggressive person, do you help?

Feel free to say whatever comes to mind regarding this topic.

I was inspired to write this question after reading through the TED conversations and also watching some talks on positive psychology.


Closing Statement from W T

What a wonderful conversation we have had!!

Thank you to each and every one of you for your candid, frank expressions of the emotion that is anger.

It is clear from the conversation that most of you see anger as natural. We "want" to feel it when we see
an injustice.

And most of you also expressed that we need to keep it in check, and not let anger control us, but find
ways to relax and have control over the anger.

I will add the following:

Just as we need to show graciousness and restraint when speaking with workmates or with strangers, we also need to do so with our friends and family. Venting anger without concern for the consequences can cause serious damage to our own and others' spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

Bad feelings-manifestations of our imperfect nature-must be controlled. Abusive speech, ridicule, contempt, and hateful wrath are wrong. They can destroy precious relationships with other people.

So, let's continue to seek peace, and pursue it for as a Proverb of Solomon states: "The lips of one who is stupid enter into quarreling."

Thank you all very much for the great conversation.

Be Well.

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  • Feb 9 2012: I feel anger is a natural emotion that we are supposed to experience. It is what we do with that anger that matters.For me, stress and anger go hand in hand. When I was younger and raising my twin boys, I taught them to yell into their pillow. We would go to their room and grab a pillow and the 3 of us just yelling and screaming into our pillows! Of course we always ended up laughing in histarics. Sometimes, We would be driving and we would all yell and scream with the windows up. It sounds wierd but there was a method behind my madness. I knew boys were way different than girls and I wanted my boys to know that they could use these tools. They did when needed. I always felt it was good to get the negative anger out, to release that and make room for the positive.
    • W T 100+

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      Feb 11 2012: Dru, how funny.....but wonderful. I need to try to yell into a pillow.lol

      Your story reminded me of when my son once got angry at me. He said "I don't love you anymore".

      And I turned around and started singing "I don't love you anymore....no, no, no, no," "No, not like I did before, no, no, no, no," He got such a big kick out of me bursting into song, his anger melted away and we both laughed and laughed.

      I teach my children to talk it out.....when they are angry to say so, and explain why. They usually always have a valid reason for their anger, and somebody usually has to apologize.

      Thanks for your wonderful anecdote and experience. Wonderful reading about you and your kids.

      Be Well.
    • Feb 11 2012: To dru and Mary.
      I like that way either.
      For reference, le me tell you Korean way of controlling your anger.
      Personally, I don't like this way, but In Korea, there was a time when people thought that suppressing one's anger is a kind of a virtuous behavior.
      Namely, a person who can control his anger by meditating or something similar was regarded as a really generous and desirable man. It sounds nice, but this kind of expectation had been burdensome to the people who were shy and timid.
      Whenever they were very angry and felt like "this is unfair", they did not express their anger and tried to hide their feelings. As time went by, they eventually couldn't ask for help from their parents or other people, they suffered depression or even commited suicide.

      Even though this is an extreme case, controlling one's emotion--especially when it comes to controlling one's anger, oppressive or passive ways are undesirable.

      So, I like dru and Mary's ways--open and active ways--of controlling anger.
      Besides, those are mentally healthy ways.
      • W T 100+

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        Feb 11 2012: Elizabeth, the Korean way sounds also like Japanese way. Keeping calm and quiet without showing much emotion......I just can't do it. But, as I have gotten older I have learned to express myself better, and I'm able to diffuse a possible angy situation with anyone by asking lots of questions and humbly expressing my opinion in a calm way......it usually works. That is unless the person in front of me is neurotic or unreasonable.

        P.S. This is a language lesson for you...I am a teacher....please let me correct your vocabulary:

        You said: "I like that way either"......You should have said..."I like that way too".

        Now, continue to practice your English....You are very very good at it Elizabeth!!!

        Be Well
        • Feb 11 2012: That's sweet of you.
          Thanks a lot for correcting me, Mary:)

          If you hadn't mentioned it, it's possible that I would repeat the same mistake.

          lol that's why I need to brush up my English.
          It's been just a year.

          Thanks again:)


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