Anger is often seen as a negative emotion that needs to be suppressed or avoided at all costs. But what if I told you that anger can actually be a powerful ally in your life? That anger is necessary, important and constructive? It may sound surprising, but learning to harness the energy of your anger can help you in your personal and professional relationships, and even improve your overall wellbeing. Let’s explore the nature of anger and how you can turn it into an ally.
Your Relationship With Anger
Before we dive into the benefits of anger, let’s take a moment to reflect on your personal relationship with this emotion. Do you love it or hate it? Do you find yourself losing control or struggling with irritability? Many people feel guilty or ashamed about their anger, but it’s important to remember that it is a natural and acceptable human emotion.
The Function of Anger
All emotions have a function, and they are all designed to move the human being in particular ways. Without emotions we wouldn’t be inspired to do much. The function of anger is to help us respond with strength when we are being attacked, accused, disrespected or ignored. Anger is there to help us speak up, stand up and set boundaries. Anger gives us feelings of power, control, confidence, focus and independence. Without some healthy anger, we might become a doormat whom others mistreat or we may lack the drive to make things happen.
The Difference Between Violence and Anger
One of the biggest misconceptions about anger is that it always leads to violence or aggression. While it’s true that poorly managed anger can be destructive, it’s important to distinguish between the feeling of anger and violent behaviour. Anger can be felt without turning to violence, however it takes presence, focus and practice – especially if your anger has been untamed for many years. Women are just as capable of expressing anger as men, although they often express it through communication and relationship rather than physical violence. But anger itself is not inherently negative. It is our expression of anger that determines its impact. Our feelings are not always a choice – but our actions most certainly can be controlled.
Anger as an Energy
If anger were a force of nature it would be just like fire. Fire can be a powerful and destructive force, it can burn down villages and destroy lives, when out of control and unchecked, but fire can also be harnessed and contained for positive outcomes, like cooking food and keeping us warm. Similarly, anger can be a friend or a foe, depending on how we choose to utilise its energy. When we understand the nature of our emotions, we can learn to channel them in productive ways.
The Dangers of Suppressed Anger
Many people are taught to suppress their anger, but this can actually be counterproductive. The natural way of all emotions is to appear, express themselves and then move on. Emotions that are pushed down will inevitably find a way to resurface, and with anger that can often happen in explosive or passive-aggressive ways – just like a ball that’s pushed under water – it will eventually explode up and out. Learning to acknowledge, accept and be mindful of your anger in the present moment can prevent these outbursts and help you avoid damaging your relationships.
Harnessing The Power of Anger
So how can you turn your anger into an ally? The first step is to learn to recognise and acknowledge your anger when it arises. Instead of pushing it down or allowing it to take over, try to channel its energy into productive action. This might involve expressing your feelings in a healthy way, setting boundaries, or taking constructive steps to address the source of your anger.
Techniques to manage anger include:
- Recognise your anger: Become familiar with your anger and what triggers it.
- Breathe and take a moment: Pause for a moment to breathe and calm down before choosing how to respond to feelings of anger.
- Express your anger appropriately: Use “I” statements to express your feelings and avoid blaming others.
- Use humour: Humour can be a great tool to diffuse anger.
- Release the energy first: Scream into a pillow, write an angry email (that you don’t send), do some push-ups or star jumps. You’ll find it easier to manage anger effectively when the physical energy has been released constructively.
- Seek professional help: If you find that you cannot manage your anger on your own, seek professional help.
Anger is a perfectly natural and acceptable human emotion that can be harnessed for positive outcomes. By learning to recognise, accept and channel your anger, you can avoid damaging your relationships and improve your overall wellbeing. Don’t be afraid of your emotions – embrace them and use them to your advantage.
If you need help managing your frustration and anger, or you struggle to constructively utilise your anger to set boundaries, be assertive, and voice your needs or wants, please connect with me to arrange an appointment.