Aggression is defined as physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt someone, [Read: How Anger Can Affect our Social Life]. This excludes auto accidents, dental treatments and sidewalk collisions. It includes actions intended to hurt someone-slaps, direct insults, even gossipy ‘digs’.
Frustration Blocks our Attaining a Goal
In our social behavior and interactions the question arises; is aggression a response to frustration? Take an example. It is warm evening. Tired and thirsty after two hours of studying, you borrow some change from a friend and head for a nearby soft drink machine. As the machine devours the change you can almost taste the cold, refreshing cola. But when you push the button, nothing happens. You push it again. Then you flip the coin return button, still nothing. Your throat is now feeling parched. Again, you hit the buttons. You slam them. And finally you shake and wreck the machine. You stomp back to your studies, empty-handed and short- changed. Should your roommate beware? Are you now more likely to say or do something hurtful? No doubt you are now a frustrated guy and your behavior and attitudes will be guided by the rules of aggression-frustration theory.
According to a researcher, frustration is anything (such as malfunctioning of the vending machine) that blocks our attaining a goal. Frustration grows when our motivation to achieve our goal is very strong, when we expected gratification, and when the blocking is complete.
Monitor Aggression signs
Your heart beats faster and you breathe more quickly, preparing you for action. You might also notice other signs, such as tension in your shoulders or clenching your fists.
The aggressive energy need not explode directly against its source. We learn to inhibit direct retaliation, especially when others might disapprove or punish. Instead we displace our hostilities to safer targets. Displacement occurs in the old anecdote about a man who, humiliated by his boss, berates his wife, who yells at her son, who kicks the dog, which bites the mail carries.
Immediate Measures to Control Aggression
1. Start Counting till 10 or 20. It seems to be funny, still matters a lot. You can try this at home, if you feel angry. First thing comes to your face is smile! it’s true because we have got reviews from people who start counting once they are angry and they end up smiling because they also find it funny. Mostly people think what the hell am I doing, but just see the result in the longer run. You have got an immediate remedy against your aggression. [Read: What are the 5 Stages of Grief and Loss]
2. Breathing Slowly. Here it’s important to note that once you are heading towards aggression, your heart beat rises followed by deep breaths. Now, you cannot control your heart rate, but what you can control is your breathing. If you breathe at a lesser pace during this situation, this is definitely going to help you to control aggression.
3. Practice Relaxation skills. When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming phrase. We have seen people relaxing themselves once they are angry by just uttering word, “Relax” repeatedly.
4. Imagine Something Good. Remember best moments of your life now and whenever you are heading towards an aggression, start remembering them. Events like your first love, your parents, friends, jokes etc whatever has made you happiest in the past and brings smile on your face even when you are alone. Keep them in your immediate memory and bring that memory in front of you once things are flared up in your head.
5. Humor. Humor is the best antidote to anger or aggression. You can simply control your aggression by saying something funny. Instead of using foul language say some funny quote. Everyone has some funny quotes in his or her life. If you don’t know anything funny, go for some funny TV Shows or movies, you will remember some interesting lines from them at the time of need.
The Sight of Weapons can also Stimulate Aggression
Frustration produces anger, an emotional readiness to aggression. Anger arises when someone who frustrates us have chosen to act otherwise. A frustrated person is especially likely to lash out when aggressive cues pull the cork, releasing bottled-up anger. At times the sight of an aggressive cue-like a weapon-can also heighten aggression. Mere playing with toy weapons increases the aggressive attitudes in a child. That is why people rightly say that even keeping handguns at home are far more likely to kill household members than the intruders. Guns not only permit violence they can stimulate it as well. The finger pulls the trigger but the trigger may also be pulling the finger. This is the reason that countries which banned handguns had lower murder rates.