This section examines the common myths of anger, for example, the myth that frustration leads to aggression which some individuals use to explain and therefore excuse their anger. In fact, anger is only one of many responses to frustration and the book offers the reader a new range of choices on how to cope with frustration.
The authors suggest steps to take to personal responsibility for anger. Learning to set limits, learning about your own needs, learning to negotiate assertively, and learning to let go are some of the steps described. The succeeding paragraphs contains a summary of the concepts are discussed.
Experiences that are accompanied by intense emotions are not only clearly remembered but are also likely to have profound positive and negative effects on our personality. When the negative far outweigh the positive effects, it becomes necessary for us to control our emotions. Unless we do this, our mental health is jeopardized an we may soon find ourselves suffering from some form of maladjustment.
Our emotions, properly directed and expressed, will motivate us to action and give us enjoyment, strength, and endurance. Emotions, particularly the intense ones as fear, anger and love, energize or motivate behavior. It has been stated that when we derive satisfaction from an activity, we are motivated to repeat or continue with the activity. On the other hand, when we derive dissatisfaction from an activity, we are motivated to avoid the activity. The emotional component of the behavior acts as reinforcement for the behavior and causes either its repetition or inhibition. For example, a student's fear of failing a certain course may drive him to double his efforts in that course so that in the end he passes it, or a young man's love for his sweetheart may motivate him to write poetry or compose music. Many works of music, art, and literature are expressions of strong emotions.
Pleasant emotions as love, joy and happiness are sources of pleasure and enjoyment. As such, they sustain and contribute to our emotional as well as physical health. Emotions also enable us to perform our activities at top speed with maximum strength and vigor because of the stored energy released during a strong emotion. Such strength and endurance sustain us in our activities for longer periods without our developing fatigue easily and allow us to perform temporary "feats of strength."
Unpleasant emotions, on the other hand, can have negative effects on our health, efficiency, and personality. Frequent or prolonged experiences of strong emotions as anger, fear, jealousy, anxiety and worry lead to alteration of normal bodily functioning. It can result in loss of appetite, restlessness, sleeplessness, headaches, and diarrhea. In the long run, the general wear and tear of the heart and arteries, the adrenals and other organs will be injurious.
Intense emotions can also have inhibiting effects on our thought processes as thinking, remembering, reasoning and learning. Under strong emotions, we may be temporarily unable to think clearly, see things objectively, and decide wisely. The stronger the emotions the more irrational, forgetful, and disorganized we tend to be. They can be so disturbing that we may be unable to concentrate on the activity at hand.
Unpleasant emotions as anger, fear, worry and anxiety if repeated often enough lead to the development of undesirable emotional habits and patterns which in due time will sink into our consciousness and influence our future behavior. These emotions may