Anger is uncomfortable. It makes us anxious. It makes us do things we regret.
In a society obsessed with the “pleasure principle”—seeking only “positive” emotions to avoid suffering—it often seems there is no room for anger.
But ignoring pain and anger isn’t healthy. Doing so maybe the reason why so many of us are confused and depressed.
All our emotions—positive and negative—are there to teach us something valuable.
So I’m sick of being told to “be positive” all the time.
It’s time to get frustrated, to get angry, and to feel whatever it is we are truly feeling.
I’m not saying that you should force yourself to feel anger at everything. I’m saying that you should release it when you need to.
Anger is normal. It’s healthy. Sometimes it’s even necessary.
1. Anger is biological
From a biological standpoint, anger is important for human survival.
Anger triggers our fight or flight response. It is embedded in our very nature as a means to protect ourselves. When we are threatened, anger is released to make us fight back.
These days, where predators no longer literally exist, anger is still useful for driving us towards success.
It’s the reason why we push ourselves, why we rebel at injustice.
And although anger shouldn’t be our sole motivation, we should still listen to it and give it space when necessary.
2. Anger, when released, is exhilarating
We are scared of anger. We think anger will bring out the worst in us.
Keeping anger within brings out the worst in us.
It is only when we nurture it that it eats everything up.
But when you acknowledge your anger and release it, you’ll experience the exhilarating release of tension and resentment.
3. Anger tells us something important
There’s usually a good reason why you’re angry.
You’re angry because you didn’t get the promotion you wanted or the thing you’ve been working hard for.
What does that tell you?
It means you cared for something—and that in itself tells you that you’re doing something right.
Anger reminds us every day that we are living for a reason, a purpose.
Sometimes, rejection is a necessary reminder for that.
4. Anger motivates us
There’s no other emotion that can drive us blindly into a goal than anger.
People believe that anger makes you do stupid things.
It’s true—only if you let it.
According to a 2010 study, anger is useful as an “approach motivation” when working towards a reward.
Yes, anger produces aggression. But you can use aggression in a good way.
Anger is good for you if you keep the fire low.
You can use it to work harder, to train better, to learn more. If managed right, anger can be your most effect motivator in life.
5. Anger makes you optimistic
Optimism and anger are two strong emotions that oftentimes don’t correlate.
But believe it or not, angry people are far more optimistic than others.
Researchers came to this conclusion after studying people’s reactions following the 9/11 attacks.
They observed how people’s emotions influenced their choices and behavior.
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They found that those who were angry made more optimistic choices that led to saving more people. Those who felt more fear had were pessimistic, making decisions that would mean more casualties.
Anger is a far more productive emotion than fear.
6. Anger makes our relationships better
One of the reasons why we all suppress anger is because society tells us that it’s dangerous.
In truth, the danger lies in suppressing anger.
As a result, our relationships suffer.
According to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, hiding your anger in an intimate relationship is quite detrimental.
When we suppress anger, we refuse to communicate with the people we love. However, when we express anger in a reasonable way, we let them know what they’ve done wrong and handle the conflict effectively from there.
7. Anger helps you speak clearly
We have a habit of not saying what we really mean out of fear of seeming insensitive or not “nice” enough.
But when we’re angry, aren’t we the most honest?
According to Ken Yeager Clinical Director of the Stress, Trauma and Resilience program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center:
“Too often people are busy trying to say it in a way that’s polite, but meaning gets lost in the process. When a person is angry, they’re in the midst of flight or fight. They’re going to say exactly what they need, exactly what they think to get their point across.”
8. Anger makes you realize your own faults
If you are a self-aware person, you know that anger can oftentimes lead to profound realizations of yourself.
A study shows that 55% of the time, angry outbursts can lead to a positive outcome. Furthermore, anger provides valuable insight into your life.
If you let it, anger can teach you what to do to improve your life.
9. Anger actually reduces violence
Contrary to what society would like us to believe, anger can be a healthy way of reducing violence.
It’s true, too much anger can precede violence.
But as I mentioned earlier, if the fire is burned low, anger can be a release that could prevent any violent tendencies.
More importantly, a display of anger is an immediate social signal that things need to get resolved. This then motivates everyone involved to fix the situation or placate the angry party.
10. Feeling and accepting anger improves emotional intelligence
Emotional resilience is something we should all strive to achieve.
It is the superhuman ability to handle uncomfortable emotions and derive wisdom from them.
A huge part of that is letting your emotions take space. It’s about allowing your anger to lead you to know yourself more deeply.
It’s not about if what you are feeling is “good” or “bad.”
Emotional intelligence means being able to understand your emotions—not letting them consume you—but letting them guide you into better mental health.
Anger can be a constructive emotion
A lot of self-awareness is needed for anger to become a useful emotion for you.
When you are blinded and refuse to understand every situation that angers you, then naturally, your anger will have negative consequences.
But if you assess your anger and the reason behind it, you can get something valuable from every frustrating experience.
This doesn’t only apply to anger. It applies to every “negative” emotion you experience.
Sadness, anxiety, numbness, pain—there are good reasons why you feel the way you do.
That is why it’s important to remember:
You are allowed your emotions.
It does not make you any less resilient to have these feelings. It doesn’t mean you are weak.
There is always strength in facing your emotions head-on and bravery in unpacking why they are there.
You just have to be open to it.
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