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Emotional Evolution

Anger : Bane or Boon

See where the problem is?



Humans are social beings. Over the many years of evolution, we have evolved to acquire emotions as a way of communicating more efficiently. Although emotions were acquired as an evolutionary advantage, we still struggle to understand, predict and control it. One of our most primal emotion is anger. Believe it or not, anger as an emotion, can and has proved beneficial for us. It provides us with mental and physical resources when in a "fight" situation while facing something we fear. On the other spectrum of it, it can convert into aggression.


There exists a thin line between anger and aggression. While anger is an emotion, aggression is an act done with an intent of harming the other/s. See where the problem is? While anger aids us in expression of negative feelings for example, to find a solution to a problem, aggression will only lead to harm to others/s. This kind of harm is not only inflicted upon the receiver but also the propagator as it leads to shame and guilt later on. Our society and environment breeds how we react to the emotion of anger and aggression. While some engage in active forms of it, like physically hurting, verbal abuse etc.

others may employ passive methods for example, withdrawing love/attention/affection from the loved one. Regardless of the mode of expression of aggression, it needs to be curbed.


A struggle we often face is inappropriate expression and timing of expression of anger. Anger when 'bottled up' can lead to sudden unpredictable outbursts. The solution begins with recognizing that we are feeling angry and then finding appropriate and effective outlets for it. Adaptive modes of expression of anger include- communication with the respective other/s, blowing off steam by working out, meditation as a way of maintaining a clearer mind, hitting a pause to rethink the cause of anger & the solution and so on. It is crucial to understand how anger works and not the other way round where we let anger work us. Anger like any emotion once understood can be predicted and controlled to be of our advantage.


- Sharmistha Banerjee

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