Thursday, 6 March 2014

Is anger good or bad?

An article in the national press this week raised some interesting issues relating to anger that we thought worth commenting on.

Anger is a natural emotion and something we should all expect to feel from time to time. However, as mentioned in the article, anger is often seen as a very negative emotion and one we should aim to quash. Anger may be bad for us - but on the other hand it has its uses (The Guardian, 04/04/14)

What is the purpose of anger?
Anger is an emotion that kicks in when we feel violated in some way - it allows us to stick up for ourselves and in that respect it is a positive thing.

Well then it's good to be angry isn't it?
Despite its bad press, anger isn't a terrible thing, it has a very useful purpose. It fires us up and allows us to take action. Anger is our emotive response to something. However, our behavioural response to feeling angry, aggression, can be extremely damaging to relationships at home and work. Therefore in instances where aggressive behaviour in response to anger has become a problem, anger is worth addressing.

Surely if something makes me angry that isn't my fault?
Often people feel that things make them angry. However, as NHS website Moodjuice points out, it is important to note that it is not people or events that make you angry, but your personal reaction to them. Once you know that, you can take steps to address your feelings of anger.

What can I do to manage my anger?
There are many techniques that can help you manage your feelings of anger.

The website Moodjuice contains self-help materials you can use at home.

The ancient practice of mindfulness, as mentioned in The Guardian article, is currently a popular approach and one that can be very effective for increasing feelings of calmness and relaxation. It takes skill and practice to gain the maximum benefits, but is well worth the effort. Mindfulness does not aim to suppress how you feel, but is a way of learning to become more aware of your responses to the world around you.

There are also a number of other approaches that may be helpful for anger management so it is worth consulting an experienced professional if you are struggling to manage things by yourself.

More about anger
About anger and aggression
An article about anger by First Psychology

More about mindfulness in our next blog - coming soon!

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