Last update: 12 November 2015
Anger itself is neither positive nor negative. What matters is what we do when we get angry. Anger is a tool that helps us analyze and respond to difficult social situations. However, how do you keep things from getting out of hand?
It is common to think that getting angry is a negative reaction. This is why we often try to suppress anger. However, contrary to what is usually thought, several studies show that anger or rage increases optimism, creativity and performance. These studies also argue that the manifestation of anger can lead to successful negotiations, in both personal and business life.
In fact, suppressing anger can be very harmful to health. By the way, Dr. Ernest Harburg and his team at the University of Michigan School of Public Health have been following a group of adults for a study on anger for decades.
These researchers found that those who repressed anger born in response to injustices were more likely to suffer from bronchitis and heart attacks. They were also more likely to die earlier than other group members who, on the other hand, let their feelings surface.
When anger arises, we feel compelled to prevent or end immediate threats for our own sake or for the sake of our loved ones. However, it is a mistake to assume that this action of goodness, compassion, love or justice is good. A healthy society is not a society without anger.
Despite this, attention must be paid to the way this anger manifests itself. Expressing one's anger may be appropriate with certain people and in certain situations. The question is how to manifest it without letting the situation get out of hand.
How is anger controlled?
When we want to express anger, or any negative emotion, one way to do this is to start with what we call "sickness alarm", which is to let the other explicitly know that we are experiencing intense emotions caused by something concrete that has happened. It's easy if we say it clearly.
If you think that you will not be able to explain yourself clearly, it is better to apologize in advance, not for the emotions you feel or how you will act, but for the possible lack of clarity in the way of communicating what you want to say. The goal of the malaise alarm is to disarm the other person, to prevent them from adopting a defensive position. When a person becomes aware that the other is not comfortable and that communication is difficult, the possibility of empathy increases.
After that, we need to go into the details of what bothers us, what we think and feel following what happened. Why do we feel anger and not a different emotion? It is difficult to manage anger, but you need to know why it arises and avoid ignoring it. Instead, one must recognize the difference between what can be changed and what is beyond one's ability to control. If what happened is beyond our control, there is no point in expressing anger, but if something can be done about it, communicating it effectively can lead to satisfying results.
The key to communicating anger is finding the right tone to express what we don't like.
At a later stage, it is important to put a stop to the situation. The general tendency is to act immediately, especially if the situation is very tense. To avoid unnecessary screaming and arguing or other violent relationships, take a moment to think, even if you are in the middle of a conversation or discussion with someone.
It is also great to let the other know that you need a moment, thus postponing the progress of the situation. Good decisions must take precedence over quick ones. Take a slow, deep breath. There are tons of options to choose from in an emotionally charged situation.