How Anger Can Actually be Healthy

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Traditional wisdom suggests that we should avoid anger, but there is a growing body of research that shows benefits when it is properly managed.

According to a study conducted by The American Psychological Association, researchers found that nearly half of their control group reported a positive long-term outcome from angry episodes. Conversely, only 25 percent of participants believed the long-term outcomes of their angry outbursts were negative.

Clinical Psychologist Scott Wilson also believes that anger can lead to some good. He notes that anger can serve as an important sign that communication is needed. “We are hard-wired to pick up facial cues related to anger, and perception of these cues is an important aspect of social communication. The experience of, or expression of anger, communicates to others that we are unhappy with their behavior, or that we perceive their actions to be unjust or unfair.” The fact of the matter is, we are bound to face unpleasant situations and often times anger is the natural response.

everydayHEALTH does warn that angry episodes, holding anger in, and turning anger inwards can be detrimental to our bodies.  So how can you stop holding anger in and deal with it in a healthy manner? NY Times bestselling author Judith Orloff M.D. advised the best way to stay healthy is by addressing your anger in ways that are body-friendly. One of her coping strategies is simply pausing and counting to ten. “To offset the adrenaline surge of anger, train yourself not to lash back impulsively. Wait before you speak. Take a few deep breaths and VERY slowly, silently, count to ten (or to fifty if necessary). Use the lull of these moments to regroup before you decide what to do so you don’t say something you regret.” Anger is a completely normal and natural emotion and seems to have some benefits as well as risks. The key is finding coping methods that work for you.