The Role of Anger

Just like stress, anger has its place and its positives. Just like stress, too much of it…. not so positive. In fact, just the opposite. Very destructive. Still, I think these two states often get a bad reputation because we tend to focus on the extreme. Even when I hear the word “anger” I tend to think of a crazy person screaming at someone else for no good reason. For example, some soccer parent yelling at the referee of his 7 year old’s game. Doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense – no matter what the ref may have done.

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

Angry Talk (Comic Style) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But, think about the typical, more subtle anger that you may experience on a regular basis. It’s the anger that makes you realize you aren’t being treated as you should. It’s the anger that makes you respond. The stress may have been the signal for your body and mind to pay attention, and then anger might take over as a call to action. The trick is really what do you do with that anger and when do you do it.

If you allow the anger to settle and you stew on it, this can be problematic. The event that stimulated the emotion might grow exponentially in your mind and unfairly so. But, on the other hand, if you wait awhile, your anger may dampen and you may act more appropriately rather than too passionately in the “heat of the moment.” Just as with most things in life, I am still learning and still trying to figure things out, and this whole anger issue is no exception. But, I also do know for sure that it is true what my mom always says “age tends to put things in perspective.” So the delicate balance of when to respond to anger is one of those things that you get better at determining as you get older.

I think the bigger issue is what to do with the anger. I know that anger can be used in a positive way. Anger can force someone to do something that he needed to do, but just didn’t want to do for various reasons. Anger can propel someone to create for the greater good for the injustice she saw. Think about how many wonderful organizations and groups were started because someone was “fed up” with a wrong situation.

The challenge to all of us is to use the anger in a directed way that will ultimately benefit us. I have come to learn that there really are positives in all things, even tragedy and crises. Anger should be no exception. Next time you start to feel anger creep in, consider what you need to do with it.

If you are interested in hearing more views on anger and strategies to overcome it and use it for benefits, please listen to my interview on Wednesday, February 27th at 9 am EST with Janet Pfeiffer of Anger 9-1-1 radio. If you click on this link  , you’ll see a purple microphone that you can then select (about halfway down the page).  It’s a live show, so I would love to hear from you.


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