It seems these days as if not enough people dial back the anger. And there’s evidence to back it up. Service workers, from flight attendants to fast food employees, are encountering far more hostility and abuse from customers now than in recent years, said Martin, who works as a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
A study from Harvard Business Review found a sharp rise in frontline employees experiencing rudeness and incivility at work. Where in 2005, nearly half of service workers said they’d encountered incivility once a month, it was up to 76% as of August 2022.
The report, conducted and compiled by Christine Porath, author of the book “Mastering Community,” cited several compounding factors: stress from the pandemic, the economy, war, divisive politics, the changing nature of work, and continued uncertainty; increasingly negative emotions; weakened ties to a community; our reliance on technology; and a lack of awareness, with ignorance, rather than malice, often leading to incivility.
“If people experience rudeness or bad behavior, or if they just simply witness it more pointedly, then they’re likely to take it out on others. It’s unconscious, so we don’t necessarily recognize that,” Porath said.
While there’s no “anger thermometer” at our disposal, Martin has a strong feeling the answer to whether we’ve grown angrier is a big red “yes,” based on the measurable indicators we do have.
That’s not to say that anger is inherently bad; it can be a valid and useful emotion, and a catalyst for change in the face of injustice. It’s also understandable for anyone to feel anger, particularly during what can be stressful situations – like the traffic, crowds and family pressure that accompany the holiday season.
But used indiscriminately — as it often is — anger can be unnecessary and harmful. And the impact is significant; there’s strong evidence for the relationship between anger and health issues like hypertension, cardiovascular disease and unhealthy cholesterol levels.
People became angrier during the COVID-19 pandemic
One watershed has been the COVID-19 pandemic, which upended life as we knew it. We were mad when we masked or unmasked, when mandates shuttered local businesses or when mandates lifted, when schools went remote or when they opened back up. Day after day, it was a lose-lose situation, with anger the common denominator.
The Mighty, a community mental health platform founded by Mike Porath — Christine Porath’s brother — surveyed more than 700,000 community members in March 2020 and again in September 2020 to determine their top three emotions surrounding the pandemic. The number of respondents who selected anger as their prevailing emotion more than doubled in the six months between surveys, rising from 20% in March 2020 to 45% in September 2020.
There’s little indication that prevalence has eased.
Christine Porath said that one of the issues from her research that jumps out is the spike in stress and feeling overloaded, which she said is the “driver of bad behavior.” And we’re not even at the peak, Porath said.
Read the full article via the link below.