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What it means when slow wanderers make you really angry

Back then, as I commuted to work in San Francisco, they did not seem to miss: couples occupying the entire width of the escalator rather than letting room for walkers on the left. Tourists are blocking the sidewalk to take pictures. Other pedestrians snaked slowly with their cell phones. Often forced to stop or mix behind them, I simmered softly. Hello? It is rush hour. Some people actually have a place to go.

If you live or work in a crowded city, you probably can relate to it. In fact, the spread of anger towards slow walkers has received a special label from some researchers: sidewalk rage. Think of it as the pedestrian version of street rage. It can penetrate inward to rant about irrational assumptions about other pedestrians ̵

1; or even violent fantasies about them – which can lead to hostility and aggression, says Leon James, psychology professor at the University of Hawai'i at the Manoa College of Social Sciences and leading scholar of Sidewalk Rage.

James explains that pedestrians move not only through the physical space, but also through the social space, which consists of socially acceptable and unacceptable routes. "When hikers stop suddenly, while they seem fascinated by their tiny mobile device, they violate normative pathways that force nearby pedestrians in both directions to move around them."

This is true of ours Understanding what causes anger: a violation of something that should be, "says Zlatan Krizan, a professor of psychology at Iowa State University, for example, that other pedestrians should make room for you to pass them by. The idea is that these violations will prevent you from achieving your goals, whether you arrive at the office on time or have lunch to calm your hunger.

Anger "creates a laser-like focus" that enhances your motivation to achieve these goals, says Stephanie Preston, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan. "When you are in this zone, do not think about other people or why they are moving slowly" – whether they are elderly or taking a leisurely walk. "They are simply seen as obstacles to their own goal."

Those who are more likely to experience sideways anger and anger issues in general have some important commonalities. For starters, "There is a sense of entitlement and privilege that makes the person in front of them an obstacle or an inconvenience," says Darald Hanusa, senior lecturer at the School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a private therapist Practice at Midwest Center for Human Services in Madison. In fact, research has shown a link between narcissism and aggression.

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People who fight with rage, often "dichotomize the world for good against evil" and make a narrative "If you get in my way, then you deserve to be treated badly for being a bad person." In fact, several studies have linked aggression to one another and the tendency to interpret other people's intentions as hostile Slow walkers may be annoyed: "They even try to annoy and annoy me," instead of interpreting them as "The people are just" unknown and distracted, "says Jesse Cougle, a professor of psychology at Florida State University.

People who represent this good-versus-evil view of the world are more likely to act on their anger, Hanusa says. To regard slow wanderers as "evil" makes it easier to justify hostility or aggression towards them. Those who endorse beliefs that advocate dominating others, such as "the ends justify the means" (meaning that aggression is alright if you get what you want) also tend to beat each other.

Ongoing research by Howard Kassinove, a professor of psychology, and Thomas DiBlasi, a PhD student in clinical psychology, both at Hofstra University, also show that people who experience severe anger tend to have a high personality trait called neurotic (neurotic people tend to struggle with the regulation of their emotions, and they are not satisfied with agreement, conscientiousness and openness.

This research, along with a previous study, has also shown that thoughts that focus on "claiming" or fixing rigid Expectations that are most likely to be in angry episodes – unrealistic expectations (let's say everyone should suit your own pace) can lead to impatience and anger, says Krizan, stating that people get frustrated when to prevent them from reaching a goal, to create such expectations makes it difficult for them eriger.

There are also cultural factors. Western culture values ​​power so much that if you are missing it (as if you're behind a tourist herd), you want to find a way to get it, says Hanusa. DiBlasi adds that the "American competition of the coasts" may also be partly to blame. His clients, who complain about slow walkers, usually come from New York City and other fast-moving coastal areas where "when you're not ahead, there's the idea that you're lagging behind."

The Digital Age has wired our motivational systems to expect immediacy, says Preston. Immediate gratification, as you may experience, when you receive a response to a text seconds after being sent, can trigger a dopamine burst, a neurotransmitter that is involved in a reward. Dopamine crashes the moment you expect an answer, but you have not received it yet. "If you assume that everything is instantaneous, everything will not be considered a failure."

Preston adds that in addition to this expectation of immediacy other aspects of modern life have merged into a "perfect storm" sidewalk rage. The fast pace increases productivity expectations and often causes employees to schedule their time. More pedestrian and vehicular traffic make it harder to get directly to your destination at the desired speed. Not only that, you go along with strangers without knowing their needs or problems, and whom you may never see again, so you have no incentive to be nice to them. These strangers, on the other hand, can come from other regions with different, sometimes conflicting norms to behave in public space.

Of course it is understandable to be frustrated under such conditions, and annoyance is not a bad thing in itself. However, it pays to respond when you get into arguments or draw reactions that could lead to disputes, says Raymond DiGiuseppe, a professor of psychology at St. John's University. "Maybe you say evil things or do you kill [people]." Even if you do not respond to your anger, it can be a problem if it interferes with your everyday life and general well-being – if it causes trouble. A significant part of your day causes you to feel drained, or to ponder the incident that triggered it, say the experts we interviewed.

The good thing is, you can take proactive steps to deal with the rage on the sidewalk. The experts we've talked to recommend that you get angry from the beginning by planning in advance to either stop your alarm earlier or choose a different route. DiBlasi also proposes to start with a coping statement or statement that contradicts your claim in advance, such as: B. "I can not control this person. That person will run at the speed they want to go. I can not tell you how to live your life. "Practice repeating while breathing deeply, so you can do the same the next time you hit a sidewalk.

You can also practice perspective taking. When you find that you have developed a theory that every pedestrian wakes this morning to get you ready, stop asking, "Are you really doing it on purpose … all those people you do not even know?" DiGiuseppe says Krizan suggests "zooming out of current reality" and wondering how important that moment is for the rest of your day.

You may even consider the extra time as an opportunity to enjoy the scenery or think about a project you are working on. And if you're late remember that "it's not the end of the world," says DiGiuseppe. "I will even survive."

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