Is Anger a Bad Thing?

Angry man

In the recent US Open, Coco Gauff confronted the umpire over her failure to prevent delay tactics used by her opponent Laura Siegemund. Gauff was clear, concise, and angry. Some have developed this superpower. It is a skill I have had to learn and one that I can teach my clients.

Most people think getting rid of anger is the key. But getting rid of any part of ourselves is unhealthy. Anger is a naturally occurring energetic response generated by our nervous system. Anger is a healthy emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. It is often triggered by a perceived threat or injustice, and it can motivate us to take action to protect ourselves or others. While anger can be a destructive force if it is not managed in a healthy way, it can also be a powerful tool for positive change.

The Benefits of Anger

One of the most important functions of anger is to protect us from harm. When we feel threatened, our anger can give us the courage and strength to stand up for ourselves or fight back. It can also motivate us to flee from danger.

Anger can also be a powerful motivator for positive change. When we see something that is wrong or unjust, our anger can drive us to take action to make things right. It can also inspire us to stand up for what we believe in, even if it is difficult.

Here are some specific examples of how anger can be a positive force:

  • Anger can motivate us to stand up for ourselves or others. For example, if we see someone being bullied, our anger may motivate us to intervene.
  • Anger can help us to set boundaries. If someone is constantly taking advantage of us, our anger may signal to us that it is time to set some limits.
  • Anger can motivate us to speak up against injustice. For example, if we see a group of people being discriminated against, our anger may motivate us to speak out in their defense.
  • Anger can motivate us to make a difference in the world. For example, if we are passionate about a cause, our anger may fuel our efforts to make a change.

In another blog post, “Am I a Rage-a-holic?”, I discuss how to work with rage, the out-of-control anger that leads to negative outcomes. But for now, here are some tips for managing anger in a healthy way:

  • Identify your triggers. What are the things that typically make you angry? Once you know your triggers, you can start to develop strategies for avoiding them or coping with them in a healthy way.
  • Take a break. If you feel yourself getting angry, take a few minutes to calm down before you say or do anything you might regret.
  • Express your anger in a healthy way. Once you have calmed down, you can express your anger in a way that is assertive but not aggressive. For example, you could talk to the person who made you angry, write in a journal, or exercise.
  • Seek professional help. I use Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to help people learn how to accept, manage, and express their emotions in a way that is empowering and effective.

Anger is a powerful emotion that can be used for good. It is not something to fear or be ashamed of. It is important to learn how to manage your anger in a healthy way so that you can use it to motivate you to make positive changes in your life and the world around you.

Most people have the capacity to be like Coco Gauff and express themselves in a robust, healthy way that actually gets results. When the opportunity arises, will you be ready to approach anger in the same manner Coco did?

Reach out today to schedule a consultation so we can work through anger and other emotional reactions together.

Hi, I'm Sharla! I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, and I help individuals navigate the complex emotions and struggles that life often brings. Learn more about about my background and experience here.

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