Anger is temporary madness: the Stoics knew how to curb it
Pigliucci (Massimo)
Source: Aeon, 13 October, 2017
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Conclusion

  1. So, here is my modern Stoic guide to anger management, inspired by Seneca’s advice:
    • Engage in preemptive meditation: think about what situations trigger your anger, and decide ahead of time how to deal with them.
    • Check anger as soon as you feel its symptoms. Don’t wait, or it will get out of control.
    • Associate with serene people, as much as possible; avoid irritable or angry ones. Moods are infective.
    • Play a musical instrument, or purposefully engage in whatever activity relaxes your mind. A relaxed mind does not get angry.
    • Seek environments with pleasing, not irritating, colours. Manipulating external circumstances actually has an effect on our moods.
    • Don’t engage in discussions when you are tired, you will be more prone to irritation, which can then escalate into anger.
    • Don’t start discussions when you are thirsty or hungry, for the same reason.
    • Deploy self-deprecating humour, our main weapon against the unpredictability of the Universe, and the predictable nastiness of some of our fellow human beings.
    • Practise cognitive distancing – what Seneca calls ‘delaying’ your response – by going for a walk, or retire to the bathroom, anything that will allow you a breather from a tense situation.
    • Change your body to change your mind: deliberately slow down your steps, lower the tone of your voice, impose on your body the demeanour of a calm person.
  2. Above all, be charitable toward others as a path to good living. Seneca’s advice on anger has stood the test of time, and we would all do well to heed it.

Comment:

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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