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Anger; the Greatest Enemy of our Time

A hungry man, they say, is an angry man. One may not be far from the truth to suggest that anger is one of the greatest enemies of humanity in the present highly sophisticated technological world.

Some may ask, what is anger? The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines anger as “a strong feeling of wanting to harm or criticize someone because they have done something unfair, cruel, offensive among others”.

Anger expressions are common in every nook and cranny of our society in recent times. Violent crimes such as terrorisms, armed robbery, cyber fraud, domestic violence, child abuse, and unpalatable language in the media, frequent strike actions and demonstrations are all manifestation of anger in our society.

The causes of anger are weird and complex. According to biblical history, “an unseen force is behind much of the harmful anger on earth today”. The explanation to this view is that, at the start of mankind’s history, a rebellious spirit creature called Satan, which in Hebrew means “resister” or “adversary” turned against almighty God.

Ironically, scientists admit that the phenomenon of anger is poorly understood. However, there is agreement among mental-health professionals that all of us react to certain “anger triggers”.

What is an anger trigger?

An anger trigger may be something that frustrates or annoys someone. These triggers often result from injustice or unfairness meted t people in society. They can occur when we feel slighted, such as through insult or disrespect. An imagined threat to our authority or reputation can also stir up feeling of anger.

Funny enough, anger triggers vary from person to person. They differ with age and gender and even from one culture to another. Moreover, reactions to these triggers also vary. Some people seldom get angry and quickly get over an affront, while others are easily provoked and may hold on to anger for days, weeks, months or longer. Chronic anger is highly injurious to a person’s health, according to medical experts.

It is conspicuously clear that our society is filled with potential anger triggers and sensitivity to these triggers may be rising. One reason is the thoughtless, me-first spirit that is ever present in our day. When self-centered people do not get their own way, anger is often the result. The hostile and insulting language in the Ghanaian political environment of late, is not only an indication but also a vindication of the harmful nature of anger. There are also other reasons why anger may be a growing problem across the globe.

Parental example: one’s parents have a profound influence on personality development throughout childhood and adolescence. According to psychologist Harry L. Mills, from a very early age, people learn to express anger by copying the anger behavior they see modeled around them. If a child is raised in a hostile environment where tempers flare over trivial matters, the child is, in effects, being trained to respond to life’s problems with anger “ what then, happens to children of Ghana in this era of political insults in our media? I sometimes wonder what would be happening to eminent personalities like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. K. A. Busia, Dr. Hilla Limanm and Prof. John Evans Atta Mills in their graves. As for those who are still with us such as J.J Rawlings and J.A Kuffour, the least talked about them, the better as these selfless statesmen continue to wallow in the culture of political insults and hostility. God saves Ghana!

Cramped cities: Historical statistics had it that in the year 1800, about 3 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. In 2008, which number jumped to 50 percent, and by 2050, it is expected to reach 70 percent. As more and more squeeze into crowded cities, the levels of anger and frustration are likely to rise. Crowded cities bring other sources of stress, including air and noise pollution, scarce housing, cultural clashes, and high crime rates. As the source of stress increase, people who have a tendency to get frustrated, angry and lose patience more easily. In Ghana, today, the story is not different as many people in our major cities such as Accra, Kumasi and other places constantly have to struggle for basic amenities like water, electricity and sennitary facilities.

Economic despair: the world’s economic meltdown has sparked widespread stress and anxiety. A 2010 joint report by the international Monetary Fund and the United Nations International Labour organization states that over 210 million people across the globe are estimated to be unemployed”. Sadly, most of those holding a job do not fare much better. According to the International Labour Organization, work related stress is a “global epidemic”. People are afraid for their jobs and are quick to assume the worst”, says Lorne Curtis, a management consultant in Ontario, Canada, adding that as a result, “they are defensive and more inclined to argue with their supervisors or other employees”.

The entertainment industry: according to psychologist, though most youths who are routinely expose to violent acts on television do not grow up to be vicious criminals, the entertainment media often portrait violent anger as an acceptable way to deal with adversity and a new generation of people who are desensitized to violence has emerged. The last but not least, prejudice and injustice is also implicated in the phenomenon of anger. People get angry when they face barriers that limit their access to jobs, education, housing and other basic necessities. Watch out for Anger Management in the next article. Thanks!