Dr Tim Lomas is a lecturer in positive psychology at the University of East London, and the author of The Positive Power of Negative Emotions. Rachel Carlyle of The Times interviewed him for a half-page piece published in today’s edition. The section on ‘Anger can be a force for good’ is one of six sections in the piece, and makes sense but for two words, which I’ve highlighted in bold text:
Anger can be an intensely moral emotion. Much of what we label anger is actually frustration that life isn’t ging our way – our irritation at a traffic jam or an uncooperative laptop. We can learn from it; our annoyance at the traffic may lead to the realisation that we are over-stressed and prompt us to make changes.
When anger is truly about a sense of moral injustice, it can be harnessed for good, as the history of civil rights and feminism shows. There’s a distinction between feeling angry and being angry, and this is important to teach our children. If you feel angry, step back and examine why, then act to solve the problem. But being angry is almost always unhelpful and destructive. It’s very important to tease those two apart.
In a moment I’ll email Dr Lomas (firstname.lastname@example.org) to recommend Herbert Purdy’s recently-published book, Their Angry Creed: The shocking history of feminism, and how it is destroying our way of life.
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