Anger is a misunderstood emotion. Many people fear their own and other's anger rather than channelling it towards self-empowerment or conflict resolution. There are many positive sides to anger:
- Anger is an energizer: It can mobilize you and give you stamina when things get difficult.
- Anger helps you communicate: The constructive expression of anger is an important way to improve your relationships.
- Anger is a cue: It gives you information to tell us that something is unjust, threatening,or frustrating. It tells you that it is time to approach things in a different way. It can give you insight. It can be a warning sign that your stress is out of control.
- Anger gives you a feeling of being in charge. When used correctly, it can enable you to assert yourself and control a situation.
When used incorrectly, however, anger can do serious damage. For example, if you feel that someone has treated you unfairly, you may become obsessed with them. You many ruminate about how they should not or must not act. You may think about or seek revenge on the person. You may abuse weaker individuals (e.g., subordinates or family members) over whom you have control. Uncontrolled anger is also a factor leading to many crimes such as assault and rape as well as prejudice and bigotry. Intense unexpressed anger can often lead to depression and somatic problems.
Anger is not an automatic reaction; its cognitive and physiological response that develops through a series of stages.
First, you evaluate an event in terms of how relevant it is to you and how threatening or harmful it may be to you. The anger response is a likely outcome if the event is seen as something that should not have happened. Anger increases when the event seems unfair and might have been prevented. Furthermore, if someone has intentionally acted against you to make the event happen, your anger is likely to be even stronger. Finally, if you believe the person responsible for the event should be made to pay or suffer for their actions, then you will be even angrier.
One way that anger is bypassed is if you believe that you can tolerate, cope with, or change the event.