Being Angry Can Be Good For You!
I was not raised in an environment where it was alright for me to be angry, let alone to express it. I would watch my father when he was angry, yell and scream so loud that he scared me. Anger scared me, especially my own. I was not taught how to express my anger in a healthy way.
Over the years, my anger towards others came out as self hatred. I released my anger, not by confronting the people that I was angry at, but by participating in self destructive behavior. In the end, I punished myself over people and events that made me furious.
Culturally, it seems that for men, anger is deemed masculine. For women, society often tells us it’s unacceptable. The cultural messages that a woman’s rage is toxic can negatively affect our mental and physical health. Being told, as women, that anger is bad can cause shame to build, which can prevent us from expressing this healthy emotion.
Most of us find anger uncomfortable on several levels: In addition to the uncomfortable physical sensations triggered by our own anger, other people’s anger also makes us uncomfortable.
Recently, some events have occurred in my life and in our world that have filled me with rage. So, I decided to do research on anger, and found out that not only had I only been hurting myself by bottling my anger up, but that the healthy expression of anger, is actually good for you.
Four Reasons Why Expressing Anger Is Good For You
Four Reasons Why Expressing Your Anger Is Good For You
1. Anger Helps You to Get Your Needs Met
How do you know what your needs are? Listen to your anger. My insides feel like they’ve been lit on fire when I’m headed home after a long day at work and my teenage children—who are sitting on the couch watching TV—ask me to pick up groceries and make dinner. Instead of angrily trying to meet their needs, I decided to view it as a sign that I felt stretched thin and I need my children to help out more.
I sat them down and explained that there are three grownups in the house, and I did not feel that it was fair, that the bulk of chores were being done only by me. I explained that it makes me feel unappreciated and that there are days where I am too emotionally and physically exhausted to accomplish anything…let alone, take out the trash. By letting them know how much it would mean to me if they helped out more around the house, they have been making an effort to help me out more. My son even started cooking dinner for us!
2. Anger Helps You Discover Your Boundaries
My stomach used to twist into knots every time I got a phone call from my mother, because I knew that she was going to ask me a million questions about my job, my children and my love life. My mother was still lecturing me about the choices that I made in my life and as a parent, and I’m almost 50 years old. That was a good indication that I needed to set a boundary. It was time to say, “Please don’t lecture me, as it only upsets me and makes me angry. Please respect my choices and support my decisions.”
Once my mother realized how her actions were affecting me, she changed the way she communicated her thoughts and feelings to me. We talk daily and I no longer fear her phone calls.
3. Anger Helps Us Get Things Accomplished
It makes me angry that there is still income inequality in this country, racism, anti semitism being tolerated and hateful behavior towards the LGBTQ community. I have decided that just being angry isn’t going to bring about change. That anger motivates me to become involved in activism and speaking my truth. I found this scary in the beginning, but now I feel like a part of the solution, rather than just focusing on the problem.
4. Anger Strengthens Relationships
I’m a therapist, and I have taught anger management classes. One of the worst things I ever hear client’s say is, “I never fight with my partner.” This is terrible because anger strengthens relationships. It’s in your conflicts and disagreements that you truly learn about your partner, including their needs and boundaries. Equality in a relationship means working through things together, compromising, and seeing things from the other person’s perspective.
Is expressing your anger good for you? The answer is an overwhelming yes! And until you learn to examine your anger and the reasons behind it, nothing will change for you and you will continue to express anger in unhealthy ways. And what a waste of a perfectly good emotion that would be.
Source: Mindful Anger by Andrea Brandt Ph.D M.F.T.