What does science say about anger?
When a human being is angry they make noise and intimidate others around them. Scientists have said that an animal does the exact same thing as a human, by intimidating other animals around them and making loud noises. When a person is angry they lose their intellect. Scientists have highlighted that anger is an emotion that responds to something that may have happened or something that may have been said, therefore that factor affects us so much that we express it in a very aggressive manner.
We interact with many people around us, whether it is at home, at school, at work or even at the shops. Those people we interact with also have their emotions; and if they were angered at something or someone we would hate it if they took their anger out on us… so why do we express our anger to others? Now, there are many therapists, psychologists and scientists that can give us advice; there are many articles on the internet for us to access in order to get advice based on how we can control our anger; however the likelihood is that we will take in the advice, and say “i should do this/ i should do that” – yet the next time we get angry we will forget about the advice we had read/heard previously and we will end up back at square one. Islamically and Scientifically the best thing to do when one is antagonized is to go somewhere where they are alone and not around anyone; this will prevent them from getting angry at someone who has done absolutely nothing wrong and will give us time to reflect. We often hear about drinking water and taking deep breaths when we are angry, and to some extent this is okay, but there is only so much water you will want to drink and there are only so many deep breaths you will be willing to take. When you are alone, you have better self-control which therefore allows you to reflect and prevents you from saying and doing things that you will definitely regret later. When you encounter someone when you are angry, you destruct your mental capacity by getting in a very belligerent dialogue with them, therefore by being alone you do not say or do anything that makes the situation ten times more worse.
There are two types of anger:
1. Short-term anger
2. Long-term anger
Short term anger is simply being enraged for a little amount of time due to something which affected us; and after a short time we move on and forget the entire situation. On the contrary, long-term anger lasts a long time which is in result of a greater matter. For example, when people go to war, they have a level of anger within them that exceeds so much that their energy levels are given a boost which allows them to fight and defend themselves with a lot more passion. Fundamentally, it is all about self-control.
Why do we become angry so easily?
Ultimately, our anger is because of our ego’s. The reason a person gets angry is because something has really affected that persons ego, therefore that person now feels inferior. However, if the person that got angry was humble; he would have a complete different reaction – he would not get angry, he would probably not care and end up smiling. Why? Because it is not affecting him or his ego in any shape or form, henceforth he wont get agitated. If someone insults you, your family, your beliefs or something that is precious to you, it is not necessary for you to get angry, because you are giving that person who insults you motivation to continue, they obviously want a response from you – so why let them win? It is better to say nothing or to smile back at the person. By not giving them a response you are affecting their ego. Why? Because they WANT you to get angry, they are waiting for you to fight back, so why should you satisfy their ego? By smiling at the person who angers you; you are angering them; they will automatically feel silly.
There are many role-models for us to look upon in this situation. When Saint Mary/Lady Maryam was continuously accused of committing adultery, it would have angered her inside that she is continuously being verbally attacked by people even though she is completely innocent – but did she lash out at people and shout and verbally abuse them back? No – because it all goes down to self control; when you know you have done nothing wrong, then there is no reason to be angry. Let people say what they want to say, be patient and simply ignore it. Another example is Prophet Muhammad [may peace and blessing be upon him and his household], a woman that lived locally would always chuck her garbage at him and he would allow it to happen everyday and say nothing; and one day she did not chuck anything at him and he had not seen her anywhere that day, so he went to her house and she asked him “why are you here?” and he responded “well, you did not chuck anything at me today – i wanted to know if you were ill?” and after that day the very same lady that would abuse the Prophet realised what a great man Prophet Muhammad really was. He did not attack her inr return, he was concerned about her well-being. Now if we were attacked on a daily basis by someone in our neighborhood who chucked their garbage at us, we would get very angry, we would retaliate and probably say or do something very regretful.
What should we do when we are angered?
1. Go somewhere quiet where you will be alone
2. Do not over-think, by over-thinking you will want to retaliate
3. Be patient and get over it – its happened, let it go.
4. Smile – There is no harm in smiling, it will only make you feel better.