Angry: All about feelings (2)
Alea: There do seem to be differences in your ability to maintain your attention over a period of time, to keep your attention on whatever it is that you're choosing to keep it on.
Molly: Meditation helps you practice noticing things like your breath, small details in the world around you, and even feelings. And that seems to help when you have a big feeling like anger.
Alea: So you're able to see it as a reaction instead of feeling like, “I am my anger,” being able to feel like “I am the space around the anger and I'm feeling this anger come up.”
Molly: When you meditate, you practice noticing things without jumping to act. So you might start using that skill when you have a strong emotion too.
Alea: So it's not to reject it and not to push it down, but instead because you are not the anger, being able to make a choice on how you want to express that feeling.
DaCari: That way, it's up to you what you do next, your anger doesn't get to pick for you.
DaCari: This summer, get ready for season two of Smash Boom Best!
Molly: In each episode of Smash Boom Best, debaters go head to head in a knock out, drag down — verbal — matchup.
DaCari: Like chocolate vs. cheese! museums vs. libraries! Grand Canyon vs. Mount Everest!
Molly: Each side brings their finest facts. And their sharpest wits. All in hopes of winning over our kid judge.
DaCari: Listeners can follow along and pick their own winner. And if you stick around to the end of this episode… there's a sneak peak of this week's debate: Museums vs. Libraries!
Molly: Which one of those do you think is cooler, DaCari? Museums or libraries?
Molly: What's your favorite thing to do at the library?
DaCari: To read the books?
Molly: What's your favorite book you've read recently?
DaCari: Percy Jackson.
Molly: This is a really hard one. Libraries are so, so cool and museums have so much stuff there that is really hard to see anywhere else. But I think we definitely have to listen to the rest of the shows to make up our minds.
DaCari: After you listen to the preview, why not subscribe to the show?
Molly: And if the wait for new episodes is making you angry, maybe… take a pause to decide what to do with that feeling.
DaCari: While you're waiting for more episodes of Smash Boom Best, send Brains On a note at BrainsOn.org/contact
Molly: We love when you send us questions, debate ideas, mystery sounds, and drawings. Brains on dot org slash contact is the place to reach us.
DaCari: That's how we got this question:
Ben: Hi, I'm Ben
Max: and I'm Max. We're from Ocala, Florida.
Ben: And our question is: Why does the sound of nails on a chalkboard bother people so much?
Molly: The answer to that question is coming at the end of this episode. Right before that smash boom best preview.
DaCari: Keep listening!
DaCari: Welcome back to Brain On! from American Public Media. I'm DaCari.
Molly: And I'm Molly. We have some important business to attend to.
Are you ready for the mystery sound DaCari?
Molly: All right, here it is.
Okay, any guesses about what that sound might be?
DaCari: Glass breaking.
Molly: Oooh. That is a really, really good guess. We're going to hear it again, a little bit later in the show.
Molly: All of us get angry, but we don't necessarily get angry in the same ways. We asked you to tell us how it feels in your body when you get angry, and here's what you had to say.
Liam: When I get angry, my body feels like it does not want to talk. I just want to walk away and be alone for a little while.
Eve: It feels like I need a volcano to explode down my body.
Beckett: When I'm angry, I feel like my fists are crunched up inside my body and brain.
Jack: I also feel like energy builds up inside me, and I feel like I can go really fast or really strong.
Kathy: I feel overwhelmed.
Jack: I just feel like I want to punch somebody.
Josie: I feel like I want to shook up a fizzy water inside my body and it wants to explode.
Ava: When I'm mad and and sad, I whine a lot.
Kathy: Sometimes I play on my keyboard. I start with the low notes, and I play out my emotions and when I get more calmer, I play out calmer songs that I make up myself. And when I'm calm enough, most the time I'm able to talk out how I'm feeling.
Molly: Thanks to Liam, Eve, Beckett, Jack, Kathy, Jack, Josie, and Ava for sharing those answers with us. Now, we've talked in this series about how different people have different emotional thermostats.
[music: Oooh, emotional thermostat]
DaCari: Some people really get mad really fast, and other people take longer to feel upset.
Molly: It turns out even for just one person, one feeling can also have different temperatures.
DaCari: Like super-hot fire, explosive anger.
But there's also lukewarm simmering anger.
Molly: Exactly. People talk about those different angers a little differently depending on the part of the world they grew up in. Michaeleen Doucleff is a science reporter for NPR. She's looked into lots of different kinds of anger so we asked her to join us to talk about it.
DaCari: Welcome, Michaeleen.
DaCari: What are some different types of anger that you heard of in other languages?
Michaeleen: First of all, there's many of them. There's kind of an infinite numbers, but some of my favorites are, for instance, in German, they have a word that means a face in need of a slap, that you're so angry at this person that their face is just begging you to hit them. The ancient Greeks differentiated between a short burst of anger versus long anger that lasted a really long time.
But my favorite place to find anger is in India, it's like a treasure trove of anger. One of the best is an anger called “when the eggplant hits the hot oil.” So like when you put eggplant or something in a hot pan, it like sizzles and bursts. And so this anger is like you hear something and you just immediately become so angry, you want to burst and sizzle like something in a hot pan.
They also have a different anger that you express for people that you love and that are close to you, then anger that you express towards like the boss or the government. They separate these two out and they try not to mix them up.
Then finally they have an anger that's a loving anger. It's like when you're with your parents or a friend that you're angry at them, but you also just feel bad and sorry and you love them and you want to help them but they're not letting you. It's love mixed with anger and kind of mournfulness, it's a very, very beautiful anger, I think.
DaCari: What about your own anger? Do you have special names for any anger you feel?
Michaeleen: Yes. After I did this reporting, I started looking and paying attention to what made me angry, and I started trying to make up words and ideas for these different types of anger.
One that I found that I had a lot, my husband and I called disophonous anger or sophonous anger. It's when things are just too loud. Like in our house, we have a loud dog and a loud baby and sometimes people are shouting and it's talking and it's just too much sound. We call that like a sophonous anger.
We use it in our house, my husband will say, "Disophnous anger, Michaeleen". Then it's useful. I'm like, “Oh, you're right, let's turn that radio off, or let's put the dog out". It tells me why he's angry.
Another one that I have a lot is what I call “hurry up anger.” When people aren't doing something fast enough for me, which is kind of ridiculous when you start saying it, but someone's not driving fast enough, or my kid's not putting her shoes on fast enough, and I'm like, “Hurry up, hurry up". I call it hurry up anger.
Naming it like that made me realize how silly it was. Why am I getting angry? Because you're not moving fast enough.
Here's another one. This is very useful, I call it boomerang anger. This is when somebody does something to you that really hurt your feelings or makes you feel bad, and you have a right to be angry and you get angry at them and then they get angry at you back. They boomerang the anger back to you. (laughs)
At first, I would get upset or I get more angry back and everyone just gets anger and more and more angry. But since I've labeled it and figured this out, boomerang anger, I say now, “Hey, you're putting that anger back on me, but you're the one that hurt my feelings". That is way more productive than just boomeranging anger back and forth to each other.
Molly: I've seen all these angers. Do you have any of the ones Michaeleen just mentioned? Do you ever feel yourself getting any of those?
DaCari: The boomerang anger.
Molly: Yeah. So Michaeleen, what made you interested in anger in the first place?
Michaeleen: I grew up in a house that was just full of anger, door slamming and shouting were just basic means of communicating with one another. When I got married, my husband was always like, “Why are you yelling? Why are you shouting?” I was just like, “I don't know, this is the way I was taught to communicate.”
Then when we had our daughter three years ago, I really was like, I don't want her to grow up in a house full of anger. So I wanted to figure out what to do with it. Deal with my anger in a more productive way.
I don't want to come across as saying that all anger is bad and we should you know completely all never be angry. I think that though understanding the anger and the different types of anger helps us deal with the anger in a way that's more productive.
DaCari: Thanks, Michaeleen.
Michaeleen: Thank you, DaCari. It was a pleasure.
Molly: Okay DaCari, are you ready to get back to the mystery sound?
Molly: All right. This time I'll give you a hint before you guess. This is the sound of something you might feel like doing when you're angry. Here's the sound.
Before, you guessed that that was breaking glass, do you want to stick with your original guess or do you have any new thoughts?
DaCari: I think like you're throwing something at glass?
Molly: Well, the sound you just heard was indeed glass breaking and people breaking it. Really good ears. And this sound is from a place called Rage Ground in Los Angeles where you can smash things safely to let your anger out.
Brains On! producers Meneka Wilhelm and Kristina Lopez got to live out that impulse. Basically each room there is empty, except for a bunch of smashable things and a few baseball bats that you can smash with. Here's what it was like.
Peter Wolf: My name is Peter Wolf.
Edwin Trivia: My name is Edwin Toribio.
Peter: You can break stuff here.
Edwin: We like to say that we're at a place where people can come to break stuff in a safe environment to release out any anger, pent up emotions and stress. It says, “a place and time for everything.”