The Other Side of Anger

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What is anger?

The dictionary defines it as: ‘a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong.’

Anger is an automatic emotional response to a real or perceived threat. It generates energy as well as motivation to reduce that threat. The greater the threat, the higher the level of arousal and greater motivation to eliminate it.

So the 3 key aspects of anger include:
Threat
Energy
Motivation

anger-wikipediaThese aspects show that anger can be a useful and positive emotion. Then why is it viewed negatively by most? We would need to study the varied reactions to anger provoking situations to understand this better.

Some of these reactions include:
Violent, destructive or harmful actions.
Tantrums.
Hurtful or critical remarks (sarcasm or teasing)
Passive-aggressive behaviour (hurtful actions such as being late, or cruel remarks that you don’t mean, and so forth).
Withdrawal (you retreat from the situation that incites anger, passive behaviour).
Hurtful or destructive fantasies.
Suppression (you’re angry but you pretend that you’re not).
Repression (you’re so good at suppressing your anger; you don’t even realize when something made you angry).
Constructive action (usually assertive or problem solving behaviour).

For most of us, anger is synonymous with the first three reactions. Since the others are not openly expressed they are not associated with the ‘term’ anger even though they are with the ‘feeling’ anger. Getting a better idea of how we respond to anger provoking situations goes a long way in helping us use our anger to our benefit. The goal being that we become confident in our responses.

Assertiveness Training is a program designed to learn how to use anger to energize us, motivate us and help us overcome our threats effectively and positively. It helps us become more confident and self-assured.

Few tips to get started:
Make an anger journal. Make a note of the anger provoking situations as well as your pattern of response. A better understanding of our reactions helps us modify them.
Identify your goals. It is important for you to know exactly what change you want to achieve.
Establish a regular study time. It is important to make a commitment to work on recommended activities for a specified period each day.
Find a study partner. Sometimes you would be unable to objectively view your responses. Having someone who relates to you well would help you understand yourself better and also provide support and encouragement.

Anger not channelized effectively is destructive. It destroys love, trust and relationships. But the same anger managed effectively builds love, trust and relationships. On which side of the fence of anger do you want to be?

3 Comments
  1. Rob Graham says

    I avoid anger the same way that an alcoholic who no longer imbibes avoids alcohol.

    I was an anger addict for many years. Like all addictions it eventually caused irreparable harm to me. So I keep away from it. It literally makes me sick now.

    And I use the word ‘addiction’ precisely. Anger causes the brain to generate the same chemicals as cocaine, providing a similar rush and causing the same adverse effects when a person ‘comes down.’ So many people become addicted to anger for the same reason people become addicted to cocaine. Here’s a good site on the subject.

    http://angermentor.com/secrets-of-anger-addiction-and-why-rage-feels-real-damn-good

  2. Michael Domino says

    Excellent content !!!

  3. Kendra says

    Great article with many useful points! I rarely, if ever see anger discussed in a way like this. I only see anger talked about as a “problem” that requires “anger management” and stuff like that that doesn’t offer much help to just a reader looking to simply improve. I really enjoyed reading this. Although I personally haven’t had anger get out of control for me much in my lifetime (thank God), I can see how these techniques would help keep things in perspective because I know when we’re angry, we can easily let things turn into something that we regret. Thank you for addressing this in a way that’s helpful. 😉

    Oh, and meditation or just trying to be a little mindful of your thoughts and thought patterns might be something else that would be helpful in anger? Perhaps that would also make a great topic! 😉

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