Anger: Are you seeing red?

Angry people really do “see red” where others don’t . . . (see below for source).

The color red creates urgency – often used in sales and impulse sales (http://changingminds.org/disciplines/communication/color_effect.htm).

An impulse is a sudden strong and unreflective urge or desire to act (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/impulse).

So anger triggers an impulse – an unreflective urge – to say or do hostile things. I think we can and should control this impulse by making a conscious effort to not strike back when we have the urge to do so.

Personally, I made a decision to work on this aspect of myself after I consistently felt regret for the things I said or for the way I behaved while under the spell of anger. Also, after observing others in their states of anger, I decided that they look like little children with no self control. And well, this meant that I look ridiculous while angry as well.

I think that if people had to look at themselves in the mirror while angry, some would cool off and back off, while others would just see red and nothing else. I know some people who go from calm waters to storm in a split second. Yet I think anyone can neutralize their anger with conscious effort.

Taking a deep breath – counting to 10 – or excusing yourself and walking away – are better options than throwing an angry tantrum which most likely we’ll regret immediately. For me, it takes a long time to find my balance once I’ve reached a boiling point – probably several hours – or two sixty minute yoga sessions. I’ve measured ha ha.

Also stepping back and detaching myself from the situation helps. I think, in general, in the drama of life, a little detachment does wonders. I am an actor on the stage of life. And I am capable of directing how my character acts. It is difficult during the act, but – while off stage, in meditation, or while journaling – we can make a conscious effort to minimize impulsive behavior triggered by anger.

Visualizing alternative reactions to similar scenarios may be helpful such as imagining yourself staying quiet, smiling, or even making a joke. Something like rehearsal for next time. Because next time will inevitably come. I don’t recommend suppressing or ignoring any feelings however. You may have to go deeper and ask yourself why am I angry at all. Ego may be to blame. (See my post entitled, “Ego is a maniac”: http://wp.me/p6Hoh2-3e)

We can’t change the situations we encounter, but we can change how we react. We can overcome our impulsive and childish ways. We can stop seeing red. I think it may be all that blood rushing to our head. Chill out and take a breath. A peaceful way is an easier and less stressful way to live, I think. And that’s totally worth letting go of seeing red.

And here are a couple interesting studies for you on the topic of anger and the color red –

Angry people really do “see red” where others don’t . . . Red-preferring people were more likely to indicate that they would harm another person in the scenarios than those who preferred blue.

“Hostile people have hostile thoughts; hostile thoughts are implicitly associated with the colour red, and therefore hostile people are biased to see this colour more frequently,” the researchers said.

Red has a number of links with hostility, they said, and anthropologists have found that its association with anger and aggression are largely shared across all cultures.

Angry faces become redder because increased facial flushing, for example, while testosterone, a hormone associated with hostility and aggression, is responsible for red colours in a number of species.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/seeing-red-its-not-just-an-expression-for-angry-people-but-also-scientific-fact-9194815.html

In a cross-cultural study, word associations between concepts of color and emotions were studied in Germany, Mexico, Poland, Russia, and the United States. In all nations the colors of anger were black and red, fear was black, and jealousy was red. 

Cross-cultural differences were (a) Poles connected anger, envy, and jealousy also with purple; (b) Germans associated envy and jealousy with yellow; and (c) Americans associated envy with black, green, and red, but for the Russians it was black, purple, and yellow.

Source: http://m.jcc.sagepub.com/content/28/2/156.abstract

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2 thoughts on “Anger: Are you seeing red?

  1. Fascinating subject. There were some studies about how the side of the spectrum may be related with mood and possibly personality traits. Thus, the red side would be identified with industriousness, continuous energy, and, yes, anger, while the blue/purple would be linked to intuition, spare of the moment, empathy and unpredictability. Others tried to find connections with sports teams and their choice of colors, their collective ‘persona,’ and the kind of supporters they’d get. It was never rigorously scientific though, and it gave way to a lot of speculation and off the left field approaches – Astrologers offering input, for instance – even a certain deterministic view of how the brain perceives colors and associates them with its own disposition. More should be done. Thanks for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is really fascinating. And how the prime colors are sort of innate to us. The association with certain emotions is similar across cultures. That is interesting about blue and its association with intuition! I didn’t make the connection in my post, but now that you mention it – I came to the conclusion recently that anger disconnects us from our intuition. And it must be the same place where we find compassion. So this explains why we are capable of doing hostile and hurtful things while angry, which we otherwise wouldn’t do. Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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