Psychological Well-being: Considering Anger

Anger is an emotion that every person experiences at some time in their lives. While it is understandable that we as humans may get angry, we have to consider how our reactions to the emotion can impact our psychological well-being. Below is a story that may help us begin to think about how we respond to anger in our lives.

The Fence

There was a little boy with a bad temper.  His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence.  The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.  Then it gradually dwindled down.  He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all.  He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.  The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.  The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.  He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence.  The fence will never be the same.  When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.  You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.  It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there, a verbal wound is as bad as physical one. ~author unknown

We should always remember angry words and actions do nothing to promote positive well-being, they only hurt feelings and damage relationships. Therefore, it is important to consider how and what we say prior to reacting to this strong emotion. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing challenges with anger our employee assistance program, can help identify resources to help.