The Upside of Anger

the upside of angerWhat is the upside of anger? For some people, the upside of anger can become a motivator or drive force. It can spring you into action, instead of procrastination. Anger can support you in finally shedding the extra 20 to 80 pounds. You might even use violence to prove someone wrong. Anger is not all that bad when it drives you to action, but it does come with a price. There will come a time when you must let go of your anger. If you do not, anger will deplete the body of vitality. For when we hold onto anger, we can develop many health problems.

 

Anger can be used in a passive manner, which in my mind is just a destructive to your health and well-being. An inactive form of anger is a slow killer of happiness, dreams and a way of living. Passive anger will keep you stuck, and it will create a stagnant environment. Soon the anger will envelop you and keep you stuck in the dark.

 

The upside of anger? Getting it out of your system. You got to express your anger.  You have room for more positive things. If I hold something in a long time, and then I speak it, it’s amazing how the light shines so much brighter.

 

ANYBODY can become angry; that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power that is not easy.

 

Upside Of Anger

To the extent that upside of anger is usually unpleasant to experience, it could be viewed as a negative emotion,” says psychologist Brett Ford at the University of California, Berkeley. We need to learn to use our anger strategically, rather than letting it control us.

 

Mad as Hell

When violence erupts, everyone becomes mad as hell, and it floods the bloodstream with adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. These stress-response hormones raise the heart rate, tense the muscles, and kick the fight-or-flight response into high gear. And even though the stress response is designed to energize us in an emergency, it can cause immediate problems.

 

The average heart rate is 80 beats per minute, but when anger storms the scene, the pulse can accelerate to 180 bpm. Violence can increase blood pressure from 120/80 to 220/130, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke

 

In A Bad Mood

The upside of anger can trigger poor lifestyle choices like overeating, abusing alcohol, smoking, and aggressive driving– behaviors that can result in obesity, the onset of Type II Diabetes, automobile crashes, and even death. And people who are chronically angry risk alienating their friends, family, and coworkers, and jeopardizing their personal and professional relationships. Those individuals who end up in a bad mood go out and consume bad food to allay the bad mood tendencies.

 

We’ve all had it happen. A friend, family member, or colleague pushes the wrong button– and we explode, or at least want to. And when we do explode, it’s often unhealthy, both for the other person involved and for us. On the other hand, only letting ourselves stew in the anger, suppressing it because we know exploding’s inappropriate, isn’t always healthy or helpful, either.

If we’re fortunate, whatever’s set us off isn’t part of an immediate, face-to-face confrontation, so we have time to consider our response.

 

How Not To React

how not to reactDon’t react immediately. Give yourself some time to get a clearer view of the issue and what’s at stake. Talk the anger out with someone, or write out a letter or email without sending it (or at least, have a trusted friend or colleague read it over before posting it).

Feeling bad is another matter entirely. Emotions that generate unpleasant feelings have been called sins (wrath, envy, anger), shunned in polite interaction (jealousy, frustration), or identified as unhealthy (sadness, shame). We suppress them, medicate them, and berate ourselves for feeling them.

Because such feelings are aversive; they are often called “negative” emotions, although “negative” is a misnomer. Each component of every emotion has a critical job to do– whether it’s preparing us to move toward what we want (anger), urging us to improve our standing (envy), or allowing us to undo a social gaffe (embarrassment).

 

An ex-girlfriend once told me she didn’t know how much I cared about her until I yelled at her. That succinctly summarizes a decade or two of research on what may be our most misunderstood emotion. Anger Results when we feel undervalued. It prompts us to reassert the importance of our welfare by threatening to harm others or withhold benefits if others don’t recalibrate our worth.

 

If you know what you deserve, and someone else sees things differently, anger arises. Your heart rate increases, you start to sweat, you think about all the things you could do to set the other party straight. Safety, civility, practicality– such concerns evaporate. When enraged, you can’t contain your physical energy. Across cultures, people use metaphors for anger related to hot fluids in containers: You’re a tea kettle or a volcano, ready to erupt.

 

Violence can seem like the ultimate loss-of-control emotion, perhaps because it triggers actions so against our norms of care and courtesy. But “any emotion, when it’s intense, takes over,” finds Maya Tamir, a psychologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

 

The frustration of devaluation that leads to violence quite often gets you what you want. It is a reliable tool for obtaining the upper hand in negotiations. Sure, anger that progresses to rage can exacerbate a situation, but swallowing the pain of devaluation can lead to depression and health problems. And by acting as a threat of further aggression, anger can forestall escalation. I yell, you back down, we’re good.

 

The upside of anger motivates an individual to take action. While most “negative” emotions encourage us to avoid situations– think of fear– anger typically stimulates approach. Anger boosts confidence, optimism, and risk-taking, necessary when the alternative is losing something important to you. Anger has reputational value, too; it signals to others that you have a strength of resources and resolve. Those who display anger are seen as higher in status, more competent, and more credible.

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