We all get angry. It’s an emotion just as much as happiness, but anger is regarded as undesirable. You feel it rising up inside you until you can’t hold it ann..yy…mooo…re! Even though it may seem unpleasant, the truth is that certain levels of anger are actually good for you!
Why you should get angry
Anger has three components: thoughts, feelings and actions. Like anything else, they can be geared towards negativity (irrational) or positivity (rational).
Wesley Moons, a psychologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and his colleague Diane Mackie, conducted some studies on the subject, and they believe that anger makes you think rationally, which helps your decision-making process.
Let’s take a look at some examples of how anger, when used rationally, can be used to your benefit.
- It motivates you
Remember that feeling that you got when you lost a game of squash by one point, or failed to score a match-winning try in the dying seconds of the game? You felt anger, but think back to what happened afterwards: it drove you to train harder and eat a healthier diet so that you were ready for the next round.
You want things more when you’re angry, and when you use this in a constructive way, you can turn it into a positive force to drive you to getting the result that you want. You’ve taken action.
- It strengthens relationships
Have you ever just “lost it” with one of your friends and/or your spouse? Research suggests that holding anger inside can have negative effects on relationships. This is because he or she has no idea that they’ve done something to make you angry; they will keep on doing it, which will just fuel your anger.
By letting them know that you are irritated, you are one step closer to finding a solution to the problem; you’re engaging with each other – perhaps more than before – and this helps to strengthen the bond between both of you. You’re thinking rationally.
- It “cleanses” your body
Keeping your emotions inside can make you feel sick; it’s toxic and it needs to be flushed from your body – anger, used in the right way, is your antidote. You can experience physical symptoms such as:
- Heart palpitations
- Digestion problems
- Skin conditions like acne and eczema
You are also likely to experience depression, which has an impact on physical activity and nutrition.
The difference between managed and irrational anger
Irrational anger is destructive; it will not solve anything. It’s best to practice managed anger: this is a mind set in which you are in control; able to think about the repercussions of outbursts of anger that may put you in a high risk situation.
Here are a few tips to help you manage anger:
- Get some exercise. It will help you to dissolve your frustrations
- Take a break. You should literally walk away from the problem because this gives you time to reflect on how to solve the problem
- Learn relaxation skills. If you feel like you’re about to explode, you can try: deep breathing, listen to calming music and/or go and speak to a friend who you know will make you laugh.
Always remember that negative emotions weigh heavily on your body, but by using managed anger as an outlet, your body will feel better.