Do you think that anger gets a bad rap in today’s society?
We are often told that anger can be incredibly destructive towards work or family relationships, can result in hurting a person’s reputation, and even affect our overall health and wellbeing.
Anger can make the most sensible, and respectable person do the most crazy, undesirable and self-destructive behaviours. Read any newspaper, and you’ll see that anger will be identified as the root of road rage, divorce, domestic violence and revenge killings.
The most common ways we get angry are through feeling: –
When I was growing up my mother hated it when she saw I was getting angry. She would remind me that good girls don’t get angry. It was a family taboo. It was confusing because she was allowed to get angry but I wasn’t. As a result I’d bottle my feelings up, forcing myself to stay calm and then unleash them through binge eating.
I’m not alone in thinking it’s good to feel your anger.
At the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Dr Harburg and his team spent several decades doing a longitudinal study of anger with the same adults. What he found was that men and women who hid their anger when feeling attacked, were more likely to get bronchitis and heart attacks, and more likely to die earlier than their experiment peers who expressed their anger. (www.greatergood.berkeley.edu/)
Years later when I embarked on my psychotherapy and coaching studies, I began to look beyond the dangers of anger, and welcomed in the idea that anger was actually good for me.
How can anger be good for you?
Like all our emotions, anger too has its place and purpose, which is why it can be used for good effect. Here are some ways that anger can be beneficial to our self and others.
Anger helps with personal boundaries
Anger is an energetic signal that can tell us as much about ourselves as about the other person. It’s a way to communicate that we are not happy or have experienced an injustice. If you don’t get angry, how can the other person know you are unhappy or feeling frustrated?
Anger is Energy
Anger is very effective in harnessing the energy and motivation you need to resolve a problem or to express a viewpoint. In the work I do, I often hear my clients say how they want to turn their anger into positive feelings and energy. Research has shown that anger can be channelled into helping us achieve our life goals, push through barriers of change or face difficult problems.
Anger can protect you
When you see someone angry, you usually back off. Indeed anger keeps others away, which can give us the space we need to collect our thoughts and manage the situation or perform the task better.
We tend to label emotions as either positive or negative with anger named as both scary and dangerous, but it can be constructive if justified, and proportionate to the situation.
Anger is best managed through a high level of self-awareness. It’s important to know what triggers you and your anger cycles or patterns, the language used to maintain assertive and not aggressive behaviours, and how best to manage what stresses you in life.
Effective communication is the key to using anger as a handy tool. Allow yourself to be angry, but always be respectful. Say what’s on your mind but do it in a way that protects the other person’s feelings.
Always remember that the benefit of expressing anger is the expressing of ideas, feelings and parts of your personality that maybe hidden or unacknowledged by the other person.
Anger brings with it a certain truth and honesty and can lead to deeper levels of connection with the other person.
Fiona Craig is an NLP practitioner & life coach, psychotherapist, business mentor, and published author of the award winning self-help book, “Stuck in a Rut – How to rescue yourself & live your truth” helping women remove the fear, worry and guilt to confidently take the steps towards creating the life they want to live.
Fiona has been interviewed by The Australian Women’s Weekly, Women’s Fitness Magazine and The New Daily and written articles for Collective Magazine, Herald Sun Melbourne, Sunday Life Magazine, Career One, I Am Woman Magazine, plus Mouths Of Mums and other online publications. You can learn more about working with Fiona at www.lifebalancecoach.com.au or call 0405 433 217.
Image: Robert Kohlhuber:Stockys.com