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The Benefits of Anger

February 25, 2013

Volcano Erupting

So here is an emotion we often have to suppress in our interactions with other people, though sometimes it remains there just under the surface bubbling away. What benefit could such a destructive emotion, illustrated by behavior such as slamming doors, shouting obscenities, breaking things, possibly have for us?

It turns out it can bring many benefits if expressed and used in the correct ways and at the correct times. What we commonly label as anger is the end product of a build up of energy inside us, repressed energy, reaching breaking point, that needs to be released, like a volcano erupting. But this energy itself is a good thing, it is what gives us motivation to act fast and preserve ourselves when necessary. In anger as we commonly see it, this energy is being misused. We lose awareness of our feelings, they build up, and then take control of us in a destructive act of release.

The key is to build an awareness of the signs, the things that lead you to build up pent up feelings of anger. Notice them early and deal with them then. Don’t let it build up inside. Don’t become attached to negative feelings, they will just build up and get out of control eventually. It may be as simple as speaking up if someone does something that upsets you. They may not even listen, but just speaking your mind, and then moving on can be a great way to let something go. You have made your position clear, you have not gone along with the thing that upset you or you found disagreeable and now you can move on. The anger may still be there for a while in your body, the physical symptoms, elevated heart-rate, fidgeting. But it is out of your mind and so it wont come back later to hurt you when you least expect it with a self-destructive act of some kind.

This is something I learned while at an anger-management group. The main thing is building this awareness of things that trigger you to get angry and dealing with them there and then and not letting them build up. My problem in the past would be to keep it all inside, not deal with it there and then. It would build up inside, I would release it in some self-destructive act, such as punching a wall to hurt my hand, breaking some possession of value to myself, I would then feel bad, guilty and depressed for a few days or weeks, hold everything in again and the cycle would repeat itself.

It is no good to hold it in. There is no benefit. It does not make you mentally strong or stoical. It just makes you attached to negative feelings that build up inside you. Let the negative feelings go, become aware of them when they arise. Stop them at the source, move on and enjoy your life without a chip on your shoulder.

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One Comment
  1. Donald Miller permalink

    Hearing my neighbor slamming her dang door all day is maddening. I could just go freakin’ berzerk. But then I realize I’d be hearing a lot of door slamming in the slammer, so that helps calm me down for a bit–until she begins doing it the NEXT DAY!!!!!!!

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