What is good anger?

What is good anger?

Good anger vs  anger which is defined as an unpleasant reaction (either emotional or behavioral) to a demand, belief, or unmet expectation. Typically, anger consists of three components: thinking (negative thoughts), feeling (disappointment, frustration, contempt, rage), and acting (shaking a fist, yelling, violence).

Understandably, these thoughts, feelings, and actions aren’t all that desirable, nor are they generally well-received in social situations. But tempting as it might be to repress our rage, doing so can have negative health consequences. Studies have found that suppressing anger can worsen the experience of pain and put stress on people’s cardiovascular systems; pushing anger down has also been tied to anxiety and depression[1][2][3].

The benefits of good anger

In contrast, the benefits of acknowledging and harnessing our angry energy are well-documented in scientific studies. Good anger can be a motivating force that also might make people feel more optimistic and confident. Acknowledging anger can help lower stress on the heart and manage pain, at least in laboratory studies[4][5]. And expressing anger as it arises (instead of bottling it up and letting it all come out in one explosive fight) has also been found to benefit interpersonal relationships.

Perhaps more than anything else, good anger benefits us by alerting us that something is wrong on an individual, interpersonal, or societal scale. In the simplest sense, good anger may be one of the reasons why we no longer have segregated water fountains, why someone chooses to end a deadening career, or why a person leaves an unhealthy relationship. But does this mean we should all go around punching walls every time we get annoyed or witness injustice?

Although uncontrolled anger can be quite costly, when channeled properly good anger can also be very positive.  Among other things, anger can motivate us to work harder to accomplish our goals.  This could mean playing harder on the defensive end in a basketball game, studying longer for an exam, or putting in more time when learning to play an instrument.

Good anger can sometimes lead to newer, higher level goals, possibly fueled by the desire to prove others wrong. Perhaps anger and frustration due to getting cut from his high school basketball team are what inspired Michael Jordan to achieve such greatness in his sport.

Good anger can also alert us that something is wrong and that we need to respond.  When we defend ourselves or defend someone else, it is often our anger that spurs us into action.  This can be the love of a mother protecting her child, a classmate or colleague standing up to a bully, or an innocent bystander intervening on behalf of a victimized stranger.

Generally speaking, anger is what prevents us from passively accepting societal wrongdoings and ignites us to take action.  Many of society’s most important changes have come about because people got angry with the way things were and set out to correct those injustices.  Some examples include the Women’s Rights Movement, the abolishment of slavery, and the Civil Rights Movement.

:What is good anger?

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