Why Anger Is Good For Usby Dr Emma Gray - 19th June, 2012
Anger is without a doubt the emotion with the worst reputation. It provokes more fear, shame and attempts at suppression than all the other emotions put together. More than 1 in 10 people report having a problem controlling their anger but less than 50% of those actually seek help. However anger, like all the emotions that we experience serves a vital function; we have evolved to experience it to enhance our survival.
Anger alerts us to threats to our wellbeing (physical and psychological) and then motivates us to tackle them. It is not the experience of anger that is ever problematic but the way that we respond to it and the way that we express it. The expression of anger exists on a continuum, with passive expression and aggressive expression lying at the extreme points. As with all behaviour, the extremes always lead to potentially detrimental consequences so it is important to try and discover the response that lies at the midpoint, in the case of the expression of anger, assertive expression. This response to anger allows the consideration of both the expressors and recipients needs unlike the extreme points where one is prioritised over the other. As Lyman Abbott said “Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry”.