Perhaps a very black and white perspective, but I think as a society, many of us struggle with anger as an emotion. It’s deemed wild, dangerous and out of control, but I have to say, I would be concerned if the world existed without it. There are healthy and unhealthy sides to all our emotions including happiness i.e. the person that walks through the office smiling and asking how people are, when really they’re battling with suicidal thoughts - it’s a strategy, but it’s not he healthiest one.
Let’s look at just a few reasons why we can consider anger a positive emotion.
Anger Communicates Injustice
Anger is a natural reaction to being wronged and the way in which we communicate this injustice. When we suppress anger, our experience of being wronged is muted and this can have a negative impact on our relationships. Without communicating what you’re not happy about, the other parties don’t know that they have upset you and they are missing the vital information needed to make things right.
If you heard a voice inside your heard saying ‘they should know they’ve upset me’, ask yourself how well relying on this is working for you? Not everyone thinks and feels the same way you do so if you’re going to give your relationships the best chances - you must communicate openly; including anger!
Anger can be a Motivating Force
Think about the energy involved in anger and imagine that you’re able to channel that energy. When we are aware that we are angry, we can use it to inform our next move and the energy/anger is our motivator. Have you ever thought ‘I’ll prove them wrong’ or ‘I’ll do it on my own then’ - did you prove them wrong and do it on your own? I imagine you did and if so, then you experienced a positive effect of your anger.
Anger can Promote the Feeling of Control
It’s good to feel like we are in control of our own lives, the opposite of this would be helpless; people who are able to appropriately display their anger are in a better position to meet their own needs than those who suppress it.
Anger gives us Energy
From a survival perspective anger energises us which means we’re better equipped to keep ourselves safe. Due to the neurological responses of anger, we experience increased vigilance, better ability to access internal resources and promotes creativity for reaching our objective.
Anger is a Release Valve for the Body
There are psychological and physical implications for suppressed anger, I’ve been describing anger as an energy and in the same sense, the only thing the body can do if it isn’t expressed/released, is store it. Often, those who suppress anger will struggle with some of the following symptoms:
Alcohol and/or drug misuse
High blood pressure
In my opinion we sometimes blur the boundaries between anger, aggression and violence but they are not all the same thing. Perhaps you grew up with violence, it’s totally understandable that you may equate anger with aggression and violence, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t all develop a linear relationship with our emotions and due to experiences and messages from the world, we may become stuck.
Nonetheless, there are huge benefits to being able to feel and communicate your anger, and don’t forget - it’s never too late to learn, as long as you’re willing.
Wondering when anger becomes a problem - read more about this here.