What no one tells you about anger

09 June 2017 - Mindful Practices

We tend to think of anger as an unstable and undesirable emotion. Much of this stems from how we respond to anger; we either get aggressive or suppress it.

In recent years, there has been extensive research about the benefits of anger. Anger is tremendously useful when harnessed in constructive ways. We break down 3 of its useful benefits.

1. Anger is a great emotional detector.

It’s important to recognise the value of anger rather than write it off as a ‘bad’ emotion. Anger is a natural warning sign that signals to us that something’s wrong and needs to change. So pay attention when anger rises within you. See it as a warning sign; if you feel it, it means there’s an underlying issue or emotion that needs to be addressed.

When used constructively, anger is an emotional compass that provides us with self-awareness—the first step towards finding a solution to any problem.

2. Anger can become a toxic label.

How we view an emotion affects how we act on it. If you view anger as a negative emotion, perhaps seeing it as disgusting and uncontrollable, or you label yourself as ‘an angry person’, it becomes self-fulfilling and you give the emotion more power than you realise.

How can we create a healthier belief system?
See (and respect) anger as an opportunity for change rather than an undesirable emotion.
• See yourself as capable of using anger as opposed to being controlled by it.

Anger is a normal and human emotion, so don’t beat yourself up about feeling it. How we act on it matters more.

3. Anger is a good motivating force.

Anger is a dynamic emotion. In a new study published in Psychological Science, researchers found that anger activates a part of the brain that is normally associated with positive emotions, which motivates people to go after things. Unproductive anger (aggression or suppression) is destructive but productive anger can serve as a catalyst for change and action. For example, when you’re frustrated at an injustice or the current state of your life, anger can be turned into positive (and creative) energy to spur you into constructive action.

At the core of it, how we frame anything in our minds determines how we respond to it. Once we realise that anger can be used for good, we can make a choice to act with that intention.

Read on about how to let go of anger and bitterness.

- The Mindful Company Team