Although uncontrolled anger can be quite costly, when channeled properly anger can also be very positive. Among other things, anger can motivate us to work harder to accomplish our goals. This could mean playing harder on the defensive end in a basketball game, studying longer for an exam, or putting in more time when learning to play an instrument.
Anger can sometimes lead to newer, higher level goals, possibly fueled by the desire to prove others wrong. Perhaps anger and frustration due to getting cut from his high school basketball team are what inspired Michael Jordan
to achieve such greatness in his sport.
Anger can also alert us that something is wrong and that we need to respond. When we defend ourselves or defend someone else, it is often our anger that spurs us into action. This can be the love of a mother protecting her child, a classmate or colleague standing up to a bully, or an innocent bystander intervening on behalf of a victimized stranger.
Generally speaking, anger is what prevents us from passively accepting societal wrongdoings and ignites us to take action. Many of society’s most important changes have come about because people got angry with the way things were and set out to correct those injustices. Some examples include the Women’s Rights Movement, the abolishment of slavery, and the Civil Rights Movement.
Over the years, many groups and organizations have formed in an effort to channel their anger in a positive, constructive manner. Among them are Mothers Against Drunk Driving
(MADD), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
(PETA), and the numerous anti-hate groups that exist today.
Outraged by the mistreatment of others, many have pushed for new laws over the years including those to protect children, the mentally ill and mentally challenged, people of different religions and ethnic backgrounds, the handicapped and disabled, and many other groups. Countless people have been helped by the actions of those who experienced anger and decided to do something positive to make things better.
So the next time that you lose your cool and say or do something that you regret, just remember that anger does not have to be your downfall. Instead of blaming someone else or wallowing in self-pity, take responsibility for your actions and get to work on improving your anger management skills
. After all, look at all the great things that can be accomplished when anger is channeled properly.
Dr. Lyle Becourtney, a New York State Licensed Psychologist and Certified Anger Management Professional, has a private office in Blauvelt, NY in Rockland County. In addition to running weekly anger management classes, Dr. Becourtney works with individual clients as well as couples who are motivated to learn new anger management techniques.
Copyright © 2007 Dr. Lyle Becourtney,
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