Cole Tankersley, Tyler Muntz, and Benjamin Cowgill
- Believing in Free Will
Do you think you choose your actions, or do you believe they are predetermined? Roy F. Baumeister and E. J. Masicampo, of Florida State University, conducted a research study that suggests if one believes in the power of free will, then they will be more likely to show less aggressive tendencies in their daily life. The study also found evidence of a positive correlation between individuals believing in free will, and exhibiting behaviors characterized by helpfulness. Baumeister, Masicampo, and their team attempted to develop possible explanations for the link between free will, helpfulness, and less aggressive behavior amongst humans, but this concept still has many gray areas. All of the reasons why this technique is successful are not readily known at this point in time, but basically- if you believe you can make a positive difference in the world, then you are more likely to be less aggressive, and be more willing to help your fellow man. And isn’t that what we all want? The world could use a little less aggression.
2. Taking a Music Class
It sounds fun, and it could prevent you from a heart attack brought on by excessive aggression. A research study conducted by Ae-Na Choi, Myeong Soo Lee, and Jung-Sook Lee suggests that taking a structured, recreational music class could lower one’s aggressive tendencies overtime. The researchers randomly placed highly aggressive participants into two groups. One group was enrolled in a 50-minute music course twice a week for 15 consecutive weeks. The other group of excessively aggressive participants were given no change in their weekly routines. The participants involved with the music class were found to show less aggressive traits, and furthermore, were rated to exhibit higher levels of self-esteem. This is quite a welcomed change considering the group with no alteration in routine displayed no adjustment in aggression or self-esteem levels. Picking up a new musical hobby just might melt away your aggressive impulses. Groovy.
3. Watching Less Violent TV
It was thought for a while that watching violent television or playing violent video games could be a good way to "blow off steam," and actually reduce aggression. However, lots of social psychological research has indicated that the opposite is true. For example, a longitudinal study, administered by Leonard D. Eron, looked at aggression in both males and females at the age of 8 and then 10 years later. Eron and other researchers suggest that aggression can be increased--especially in children--by watching violent television. Eron suggests the way in which television is being viewed at an early age could potentially change views of aggression later on in life. This means that having a guardian to watch TV with a child and telling them what they are watching is fiction, will help the child to distinguish reality and perhaps not reenact what they view in their real lives.
4. Drinking Less Alcohol… Partaking in Reefer?
Do you ever find that you do things that "aren't you" when you drink? A meta-analysis of 30 different studies showed how alcohol consumption can increase aggression. The different studies are straightforward in illustrating the fact that alcohol has been linked to various forms of aggressive behavior such as verbal instances and direct physical contact. What is interesting about the findings from these various studies is that: in one experiment in particular, the researchers gave one group marijuana and supplied another group with alcohol. After the respective effects of the substances had come to fruition- The researchers then measured participant behavior in conjunction with typical aggressive tendencies. The results saw less aggression within the marijuana group as compared to their alcohol counterparts. The results also showed evidence that alcohol has a negative, aggressive effect on individuals regardless of gender. Interesting. “So are you cool man?”
5. Counting to Ten
Often aggressive behavior is impulsive and not well thought through. People will recommend counting to ten before responding to an insult or negative comment. One study, at SUNY Albany, found that counting to ten can help reduce aggression; however, it only works if that time helps participants identify negative consequences of being aggressive. Participants who were not exposed to consequences became more aggressive after a delay in their responses to the negative stimuli. It can be possible to calm down with techniques as simple as this!
6. Trying Yoga or other Mindfulness Practices
Along the same lines as pausing before making a reactive decision, one study showed that certain mindfulness activities can reduce aggression. One study compared an 8-week yoga course to a control group who exercised moderately and took a management class. Not only did the Yoga group have reduced aggression, but they also displayed lower instances of counterproductive workplace behavior that the management course sought to erase. Trying Yoga or another mindfulness technique can be a great way to reduce aggression - and a cheap one too! Dozens of free or cheap applications can help you build a yoga habit and learn techniques, as well as free videos on youtube. Also, Yoga classes are taught at many local gyms - though gym memberships and class fees can be a bit more expensive. Namaste!