Anger Is a Kind of Madness
They didn’t have the studies to back it up, but they knew.
Anger makes you dumber. It makes you a worse leader, a worse decision-maker.
This is why Seneca wrote his On Anger to Nero. He didn’t think an emperor could afford to be ruled by his passions. “I tell you that anger is a kind of madness,” he wrote. A recent research study conducted and published by psychologist Michael Greenstein proves it.
According to the study, angry people were not only more susceptible to misinformation. They were more likely to use that misinformation to guide their decision-making and actions. Information and confidence, traditionally correlated, followed an opposite trajectory in angry people. As angry people got more false information, they became more confident.
Angry people, unknowingly, confuse their heightened state of emotion for heightened cognitive capabilities. They think their mind is alert, aware, firing on all cylinders. People after a few cocktails do too, but Greenstein implies that the angry-inhibited are more at risk than the alcohol-inhibited. Alcohol impairs memory. Anger gives you false memories.
“A constellation of risks” is how this new research refers to the implications of anger. But the Stoics have known this for 2000 years.
Ignore them at your peril.
For more Stoicism-based guidance that will teach you to control your emotions and not let your anger get the best of you, sign up for Daily Stoic’s Taming Your Temper challenge. It’s 11 days of exercises that will help you cope with your anger, create new habits to break out of the anger cycle, and more. Sign up now.