Emotions are a part of life. Our days can feature incredible swings of emotion. We can careen wildly from happy to sad in a matter of minutes.
Everyone, of course, likes to be happy, and no one really likes feeling sad. Some people might like a little fear in their lives from time to time (like a good horror movie), but anger and disgust are things we do what we can to avoid.
A new survey shows that – surprise! (yes, another emotion) – people are angrier these days than they were in the past. I say surprise sarcastically, of course. It is very apparent that people are angrier these days.
An NPR poll showed that a whopping 84 percent of people surveyed said Americans are angrier now compared to a generation ago. And 42 percent said they were personally angrier in the past year than they had been in the past.
Why? Well, there are a number of reasons I’m sure. The pay for most people has not gone up and more folks are working two jobs. Washington D.C. is a complete mess, with a ranting president, ranting senators and ranting congressmen and women.
Trade wars, immigration nightmares, measles outbreaks, the end of “Game of Thrones.” There is a lot of bad stuff going on.
But the survey pointed to one factor that I think is at the root of this anger issue, and that is social media.
Remember when you and your buddy Bob from work would have a beer from time to time and maybe catch a ballgame together? You kept the conversation light and enjoyed each other’s company.
But now you are friends on Facebook and realize Bob is a raving lunatic. He is angry, which makes you respond with anger. Soon, everyone is on Facebook yelling at each other.
That crazy uncle Jim who only ruined family holiday gatherings can now pretty much ruin every day for you if you let him.
Your crazy aunt Cindy who loves to tell everyone how to live their lives can now do it from the comfort of her cat-filled home.
Your brother can post a news story that makes your blood boil. Even the songs your niece shares make you mourn for the future of the arts.
Online, people tend to let their guard down and let it all hang out. That is fine to people who agree with them 100 percent. But for everyone else, it can make you angry. How can he/she believe that? How can they be so dumb? Don’t they know they are the problem?
Turns out a thing meant to bring people together is great at tearing them apart – and making them very, very mad.
I try to limit my Facebook activity to family, my pets, motorcycles and music. I don’t get into political arguments. I used to, but it is useless and draining. And yes, it is very, very negative.
Take a look at your own social media presence. If you are always posting about politics or other divisive topics, take a step back. Don’t feed into and off of that negativity. Try to spread a little light instead.
Being angry is not fun. Being happy? Now that is what we should be striving for.