When you think of anger, destructive force is the first thing that comes to your mind. Though anger is generally considered as a negative emotion, it can be converted and used positively. Psychologists who examined the expression of anger have found that it can help resolve disputes when combined with a proactive approach. Such an approach can strengthen relationships because it enables you to evaluate and express how you feel. Controlled anger channeled appropriately can bring about positive changes.
Psychological Benefits Of Anger
Anger motivates, alleviates uncertainty, reduces violence and hostility and can even be good for your heart. So don’t try to conceal your anger behind an artificial smile. Here are 7 ways how anger can benefit you psychologically.
1. Anger Impacts Negotiation
Anger can be used as a negotiation technique to get what you want. A study conducted to analyze negotiation showed that participants made larger concessions and fewer demands from an angry person than from a person who seemed happy.1 Though it can be used to your advantage occasionally, you cannot always lose your cool and expect things to happen the way you want.
Anger is most likely to work in your favor when it’s justified, when you appear powerful, and when the opponent’s options are limited.2 As a consumer, if you show anger to express your displeasure at a product or a service, the chances are you may be entitled to a redressal.
2. Anger Provides Self-Insight
Anger is one way to gain insight into ourselves, provided we are open to it. After a bout of anger, you may want to calm down and try to understand why you reacted with anger. One specific study analyzed how a sample of Americans and Russians were affected by an outburst of anger.3
The study results revealed that 55% claimed that expressing anger had brought about positive outcomes. A third of them said that anger provided an insight into their own faults. By understanding what makes us angry, how we react when angry, and how to convert a negative emotion into something positive, we can improve our lives. Anger can bring about self-change and transform you into a more mature person.
3. Anger Can Motivate
If you’re wondering how anger can motivate you, just observe how coaches of sports persons and athletes yell at them. They may even shout at them and show anger just to make the athletes work harder and excel better. Anger can sometimes be a kind of positive energy and a powerful motivating force.
Research shows that anger makes us try harder to achieve our goals, especially when faced with problems and obstacles. In one study, participants were shown objects they associated with a reward. Some of the participants were first shown angry faces. Those who saw the angry faces were more likely to desire the objects they were subsequently exposed to.4
When we seek something beneficial, the urge to acquire it or achieve it is stronger when we’re angry. Constructive anger makes you feel strong and powerful and drives you to attain the objective.
4. Anger Dissolves Frustration
A lot of pent up frustration is like a volcano waiting to explode. If you bottle up negative emotions and frustration, you will have to release it sooner or later. Frustration is like a ticking time-bomb that will go off without warning. So, it’s important to give vent to the accumulated dissatisfaction in an acceptable manner. Keeping resentment within yourself puts pressure on you and increases your tension. It’s OK to get angry once in a while and let out the steam.
5. Anger Can Prevent Violence
Although anger is associated with violence and often precedes physical savagery, it can sometimes help in reducing violence. Anger sends out a strong signal to the opponent that you are seriously miffed about something.5 It is a desperate call to resolve a situation. When people notice that you are angry, they usually try to pacify you and douse the situation.
Anger can occasionally help avoid physical confrontation and prevent a situation from going out of control. Anger signals your body to prepare for a fight. Understanding this signal can help you avoid a fight and ugly confrontations.
6. Anger Promotes Optimism
Some studies have shown that anger can make a person more optimistic. One study about fear of terrorism was conducted in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The participants of this study who experienced anger expected fewer attacks in the future.6
On the other hand, the participants who experienced fear instead of anger were more pessimistic about the future and expected more attacks. Anger is a way to express displeasure about something that’s not right.
7. Anger Benefits Relationships
Anger is a common reaction to express another person’s mistake. It serves as a mode of communication that voices injustice. But, we all have been taught to suppress anger as it can lead to dangerous confrontations. But, concealing anger in personal relationships can have the reverse effect and may impact the relationship adversely.
Studies reveal that hiding anger in intimate relationships can be destructive.7 By concealing your anger from your partner, you may be denying them the opportunity to realize their mistake, which results in them making the same mistakes more often.
Soon, it becomes very annoying and can ruin the relationship. If your anger is justified, then it may help the other person correct themselves and can help in finding a solution.
|↑1||Van Kleef, Gerben A., Carsten KW De Dreu, and Antony SR Manstead. “The interpersonal effects of anger and happiness on negotiation behavior and outcomes.” (2002).|
|↑2||Sinaceur, Marwan, and Larissa Z. Tiedens. “Get mad and get more than even: When and why anger expression is effective in negotiations.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 42, no. 3 (2006): 314-322.|
|↑3||Kassinove, Howard, Denis G. Sukhodolsky, Sergei V. Tsytsarev, and Svetlana Solovyova. “Self-reported anger episodes in Russia and America.” Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 12, no. 2 (1997): 301.|
|↑4||Aarts, Henk, Kirsten I. Ruys, Harm Veling, Robert A. Renes, Jasper HB de Groot, Anna M. van Nunen, and Sarit Geertjes. “The art of anger: Reward context turns avoidance responses to anger-related objects into approach.” Psychological Science 21, no. 10 (2010): 1406-1410.|
|↑5||Anger, Hostility, and Violent Behavior. University of Michigan. 2017.|
|↑6||Lerner, Jennifer S., Roxana M. Gonzalez, Deborah A. Small, and Baruch Fischhoff. “Effects of fear and anger on perceived risks of terrorism: A national field experiment.” Psychological science 14, no. 2 (2003): 144-150.|
|↑7||Baumeister, Roy F., Arlene Stillwell, and Sara R. Wotman. “Victim and perpetrator accounts of interpersonal conflict: autobiographical narratives about anger.” Journal of personality and social psychology 59, no. 5 (1990): 994.|