Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Seven Deadly Sins-Anger

By Nicole DeVendra

Most people can identify with the deadly sin of anger. It's hard not to be mad when something doesn't go your way. Too much anger, however, can actually be bad for your health.

Many people view the younger generation as full of rage. In his book "The Seven Deadly Sins of College Students," English professor Thomas Benton writes: "Seemingly more often than in the past, professors encounter students who are angered by challenging assignments, which they label - with bureaucratic self-assurance - 'unfair' or even 'discriminatory.' When students do not succeed, they sometimes conclude that their professors are 'out to get them' because of some vague prejudice."

Psychology major Leah Paul believes our generation's anger has been handed down from past generations.

"I think there is a lot of expectation from our generation to go and change or fix what generations in the past have done. I know I would be angry if something my grandparents or great-grandparents did was put on me," said Paul.

Computer Science major Grant Dennis is not sure he agrees that the present generation is angrier than those in the past.
"It's kind of hard to really tell since I don't know many people from previous generations, with the exception of my parents. Obviously violence is way more prevalent in society as a whole.

As for how much angrier this generation is compared to previous, I really can't say. I don't tend to be an angry person so I try to surround myself with others who are as laid back as I am," said Dennis.

Whether or not you agree with Benton's view of college students, it is a proven fact that unresolved anger can be damaging to your health. According to the Better Health Channel, unresolved anger can cause many problems, including headache, digestion problems, insomnia, increased anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, skin problems, heart attack, and stroke.

Wendy McGonigal, Director of Student Health Services, confirmed that these symptoms can be caused by anger, and added that these are some of the same symptoms associated with stress. McGonigal believes that unresolved anger is related to stress.

"For most people anger is short-lived. Your body can't maintain that level of anxiety for too long," said McGonigal. According to McGonigal, in her own experiences anger leads to higher blood pressure and increased heart rate. It can also cause an increase in stomach acid, and therefore stomach problems.

McGonigal believes that some people who get angry don't have a "check system." These are people who get physical when they are angry. McGonigal added that alcohol also reduces your ability to control anger, and may lead to physical violence.

McGonigal said that anger management classes are now a popular way of dealing with excessive anger.

Counseling and Wellness Services suggests that anger can have emotional as well as physical side effects.

"Anger results in an increased emphasis on self-centered wants, often at the expense of others. Anger can also create misperceptions that you are acting in a justified manner and decreases your awareness of alternatives, inhibiting your ability to solve the problem. When angry, we also often have difficulty attending to other emotions, restricting the ability to resolve painful emotions," according to the Counseling and Wellness Service's website.

To let go of the anger and move on to the virtue of composure, Counseling and Wellness Services can be a major asset. The website above contains dos and don'ts for dealing with anger, and has links to other resources for letting it go.

Students can also schedule an appointment with a counselor for free to learn things such as relaxation techniques and constructive ways to deal with anger. Students have twelve free sessions per academic year.

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