How to Maximize the Value of Anger

“84% of people surveyed said Americans are angrier today compared with a generation ago*.”

Negative emotions can be useful, but they’re dangerous.

It’s better to maximize the value of anger than to simply manage your emotions.

Image of a baboon calmly sitting in a tree.

The next time you ignore anger, make an appointment to feel it again.

Three challenges of anger:

#1. Contamination.

You can’t compartmentalize anger.

Anger is a lens that changes the way you see life.

#2. Exhaustion.

Anger provides a burst of energy, but it’s draining when it hangs on.

#3. Stupidity.

Anger changes things, but often not for the better. How many of life’s embarrassing moments are connected to anger?

Three strategies:

Expressing, suppressing, and calming are three strategies for dealing with anger. Expressing anger when done skillfully makes life better. Suppressing delays the inevitable. Anger always comes out somewhere and somehow.

Calming strategies only help if you deal with the cause of anger.

A person who simply manages anger misses the point.

One question to maximize the value of anger:

How many times do you want to feel angry about this again?

Anger is like a screaming two-year old. It isn’t going away on its own.

Frustrations you ignore return with greater intensity. Put anger on tomorrow’s agenda if you ignore it today.

You might blame others for your anger, but only you can resolve it.

Look at yourself when you look for causes. What did you leave undone? What are you allowing that needs to change?

Anger is useful when it…

  1. Spurs useful action.
  2. Clarifies values.
  3. Shifts from don’t-want to do-want.
  4. Progresses from blame to responsibility.

The next time you don’t deal with anger, make an appointment to feel it again.

How might people maximize the value of anger?

*Anger Poll: 84% Say We’re Madder Than A Generation Ago – NPR

Full results of NPR anger poll

Anger management: Your questions answered – Mayo Clinic