According to society, anger rarely pays. That’s partly true, but the unfortunate omission according to what is socially acceptable is the difference between the type of anger that leads us to spiraling out of control, and that which has a positive role in not only our individual growth, but the entire world’s. Constructive anger can aid intimate relationships, work interactions and social expressions, including many types of responses that can change humanity.
“Don’t you dare raise your voice in this house,” says just about every parent in the modern world. Although anger directed at another human being can be hurtful and detrimental to our health, outward expressions of anger fueled to exercise or simply distress may help protect us from heart disease and stroke. Men with moderate levels of anger expression are less likely to have a stroke than those who rarely expressed anger.
We all know very bitter and angry people. We often judge them in ways that represent our own convictions relating to aggression and violence. But anger is not necessarily associated with either of those. In fact, anger seems to be followed by aggression only about 10 percent of the time, and lots of aggression occurs without any anger at all.
Yes, when not properly expressed, anger can come out “inappropriately” in the form of road rage, hurtful humor, procrastination, illness, memory loss, chronic lateness, gossip, depression, or violence.
Anger is a Beneficial Healthy Emotion
However, a number of studies show that in the places where anger is usually played out–especially on the domestic front–it is often beneficial. “When you look at everyday episodes of anger as opposed to more dramatic ones, the results are usually positive,” says James Averill, PhD, a University of Massachusetts Amherst psychologist whose studies of everyday anger in the 1980s found that angry episodes helped strengthen relationships about half the time, according to a community sample.
In its purest sense, anger is a normal, healthy emotion. It is a warning signal that something is wrong. It can alert an individual of the potential for physical or psychological trauma.
Anger is also a mixture of both emotional and physical changes. A big surge of energy goes through your body as chemicals, such as adrenaline, are released. The emotion can provide the energy to resist emotional or physical threats, allowing defense or escape. It can aid in our awareness of emotional or physical boundaries and help individuals set healthy limits. Anger can also mobilize us to make much-needed changes in our world when we are faced with injustices.
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