Why are you so grumpy?

Why are you so grumpy?


Grumpy old men and women may live longer, according to research from the University of Erlangen–Nuremburg in Germany.  Scientists examined data on current and expected future life satisfaction collected over 10 years from 40,000 people.

They found that people who have low expectations for their future happiness experience less disability and die later than those who overestimate their future happiness. The findings suggest that pessimism about the future may encourage people to take more health and safety precautions.

(Psychology and Aging, online Feb. 18).

Do you or someone you know start the day in a grumpy mood?

Perhaps this chronic grumpiness related to anger. Anger is a tricky emotion, difficult to use well until you learn how. People who use anger well have a healthy or "normal" relationship with their anger and thing of anger in the following ways:

  • Anger is a normal part of life
  • Anger is an accurate signal of real problems in a person's life
  • Angry actions are screened carefully
  • Anger is expressed in moderation so there is no loss of control
  • Anger is clearly stated in ways that others can understand
  • Anger is temporary. It can be relinquished once an issue is resolved

When you practice good anger skills, you never need to use your grumpiness as an excuse. You can take responsibility for what you say and do, even when you are mad. The more you know about your personal anger style(s), the more control you will have over your life. You can learn to let go of excessive anger and resentment.  

There are ten anger styles:

Anger Avoidance: These people don't like anger much. Some are afraid of their anger, or the anger of others. It can be scary and they are afraid to lose control if they get mad. Some think it's bad to become angry. Anger avoiders gain the sense that being good or nice helps them feel safe and calm.

Sneaky Anger: Anger Sneaks never let others know they are angry. Sometimes, they don't even know how angry they are. But the anger comes out in other forms, such as forgetting things a lot, or saying they'll do something, but never intending to follow through. Or, they sit around and frustrate everybody and their families.

Paranoid Anger: This type of anger occurs when someone feels irrationally threatened by others. They seek aggression everywhere. They think everybody else is angry instead of acknowledging their own rage. They have found a way to get angry without guilt. Their anger is disguised as self-protection.

Sudden Anger: People with sudden anger are like thunderstorms on a summer day. They can be a danger to themselves and others. They may get violent. They say and do things they later regret, but by then it's too late to take them back.

Shame-Based Anger: People who need a lot of attention or are very sensitive to criticism often develop this style of anger. The slightest criticism sets off shame. They avoid their own feelings of inadequacy by shaming others. Their anger and loss of control only makes them feel worse about themselves.

Deliberate Anger: People who use this anger usually know what they are doing. They aren't really emotional about their anger, at least not at first. They like controlling others, and the best way they've discovered to do that is with anger and, sometimes, violence. This may work for a while, but this usually breaks down in the long run.

Addictive Anger: Some people want or need the strong feelings that come with anger. Their anger is much more than a bad habit - it provides emotional excitement. They don't learn other ways to feel good, so they become dependent upon their anger.

Habitual Anger: Habitually angry people find themselves getting angry often, usually about small things that don't bother others. They wake up grumpy. They can't get close to the people they love because their anger keeps them away.

Moral Anger: People with this anger style feel outraged about what bad people are doing. They often have rigid ways of thinking and doing things.

Hate: Hate is a hardened anger. It is a nasty anger style that happens when someone decides that at least one other person is totally evil or bad. Forgiving the other person seems impossible. These people feel they are innocent victims.

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