Have you ever found that your anger gets the best of you? We often categorize anger as having negative effects on our life as well as on our social circles. This categorization is often due to the fact that sometimes we react negatively with our anger, leading to conflict with ourselves or with our interpersonal relationships. However, anger – the emotion – is neither all good nor all bad. The truth lies in what we do with our anger. In some situations, we may feel that our anger is justified or that we have been wronged. For example, if someone was to push their way to the front of a line is inappropriate behaviour which may lead to you feeling angry. However, anger can also help us problem-solve situations. Anger can be helpful or harmful depending on how we express it. When we ignore anger, it can build up within us, causing us to become like a pressure cooker. Until we learn how to release the pressure, we may suffer from the negative effects of anger. This article will outline how anger can lead to both good and bad effects on our personal lives.
The Good Effects of Anger:
- Energy and Motivation: Think about a time where you may have been in tricky situation outside of your control. Anger can actually provide us with adrenaline, which can transfer into energy. This extra boost of energy helps us to decide how to escape or fight a situation. Anger can also provide us with a source of motivation to take control of our life and situations that trigger us. The more we feel out of control, the more we may experience feelings like fear or failure. By addressing the impact of anger on our lives, we are able to problem-solve solutions that can support feeling in control again.
- Communication: Often, anger can lead us to make statements to ourselves or others that can be inappropriate or harsh. However, anger also allows us to communicate with others. By speaking about issues that may be bothering you within interpersonal relationships, you are able to relieve the tension that may build up within you. Allowing yourself to advocate for your feelings allows room for understanding and compassion.
- Information: Anger helps inform us that there is something wrong, allowing us to look for triggers that may be affecting the way you feel.
The Bad Effects of Anger:
- Become unclear about thoughts and actions: Ever heard the saying, “I was so angry, I was seeing red”? Anger can create a ‘tunnel vision’ effect that limits our ability to problem-solve. Anger can sometimes affect our thoughts, feelings and actions so that they become unclear, leading us to make unhelpful choices. This may lead to feelings of regret or sadness.
- Vicious cycle: When we do not appropriately address our anger, we may become more angry than we normally would, leading to a vicous cycle of anger. We may be angry about one thing, but because it does not get resolved, we become angry about the solution.
- Aggression: Anger that is left untreated can lead to aggressive behaviours. The difference between anger and aggression is that anger is a feeling, like happiness or sadness. Aggression is taking action out of anger against another person or object, resulting in either physical or verbal aggression. This may cause hurt or pain to others.
We all have experienced anger – the emotion. However, like all other emotions, anger can also be a transient feeling that is informing you that something is not right. By creating helpful solutions to cope with your anger can allow a safe place for your emotions and behaviours. By speaking to a psychotherapist, you can learn strategies that interrupt the vicious cycle of anger and directs you to using anger so that it may lead to good effects. Remember, it is not the emotion that is the problem – it is what we do with it!