The Upside of Anger

The more we align ourselves with our deepest truths, the clearer, saner and happier our inner lives become. In order to trust your gut and own your honest thoughts and feelings, everyone at some point must confront angry feelings. Anger is one of the most basic human emotions and the least understood, but even scary and dangerous emotions have their upsides, as long as they are used for the correct purpose. Self Esteem Coach Laure Redmond, author of Feel Good Naked, joined us to share the seven upsides to anger:

  1. Anger is NOT Rage Anger is a feeling or emotion that a person has when being offended or wronged. Rage is a retaliation to the anger that a person feels, as a result of avoided anger. When a person is not able to handle their anger in a constructive way or denies their angry feelings, anger turns into rage, which is an extreme expression that is not productive, healthy or acceptable. Anger is healthy - Rage is toxic. It's always better to allow emotions to unfold rather than to externally suppress them so that anger does not turn into rage.
  2. Anger is a Motivating Force It not only moves us toward what we want but fuels optimism, creative brainstorming and problem solving by focusing mind and mood in highly refined ways. Brainwise, Anger is the polar opposite of fear, sadness, disgust and anxiety (feelings that prompt avoidance). In fact, Anger itself is a kind of positive energy and a powerful motivating force that can make us push towards our goals in the face of problems and barriers. Anger makes people more willing to accept risks, which is a major feature of leadership.
  3. Angry People are More Optimistic Brain scans show that anger significantly activates the left anterior cortex associated with positive approach behaviors. Angry subjects perceive they can make things better, it helps people focus on what they hope things can be.
  4. Anger can Benefit Relationships Anger is a natural reaction to being wronged by someone else and it's a way of communicating that sense of injustice. Research has shown that hiding anger in important relationships can be detrimental because the other person doesn't know they've done something wrong or hurtful and so they keep doing it. Anger can be a way of increasing respectful relationships; without it, there would be no emotional environment in which to persuade, negotiate and progress through frustrations and disappointments.
  5. Anger Provides Self-Insight When you notice WHY you get angry, you then have an opportunity to learn what to do to improve your life. Anger is a messenger that can motivate change.
  6. Anger Increases Confidence You might tell yourself that letting out only cheerful thoughts is permissible, however the opposite is true. When you give voice to being treated disrespectfully, which creates anger, not only do you feel a deep sense of relief after the fact (even if your voice shakes), but you strengthen your self-esteem by not accepting mistreatment or insult from others. Anger allows you to detect your own value.
  7. Anger Fuels Creativity Anger often accompanies brainstorming in which people throw conflicting ideas out for debate. Consider the work of Sharon Olds, Francis Bacon, Steve Jobs, Virginia Woolf or David Mamet.

For more helpful information, visit Laure's blog.

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