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Is Anger a productive emotion or not?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

We are currently surrounded in America by much divisiveness, conflict and turmoil. Many of the issues we are hearing about can cause anger to arise within us.  But is this anger helpful or not?

Anger is helpful in that it helps us know what we care about and sometimes indicates that an injustice has been done. It can provide us with the energy to stand up to that injustice.  However, it has an edge which can cause damage.  Striving for emotional balance and equanimity can help one ensure that this edge is minimized or eliminated.

Our mind creates all kinds of thoughts tied to anger. Which are valid?   Which actually need to be acted on?  Thoughts coming from anger keep the anger going.  Resentment is these thoughts of anger.  There is a saying “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting others to feel the pain.”  Solutions coming from resentment are limited and short sighted in their scope.  They typically cause us to protect ourselves at the expense of the other person.  Important facts that actually might create compassion within us for the other person are ignored.  So we are not seeing the full picture or making decisions on all of the information.  Are our solutions from this place really helping or are they causing harm?

What was described above is called by those in the field of emotional intelligence “emotional hijacking”. Emotional hijacking causes the brain activity to stay centered in the amygdala rather than the prefrontal cortex where higher level decision making can take place.  If we use what I call slow down/cool down, the emotional hijacking will pass and you will have more clarity in its place and access to the full picture.

Boundaries can then be set with consideration for what benefits all involved. Compassion for all involved does include boundaries, because boundaries are compassionate.

This is all easier said than done, and much practice is needed to truly master this skill. Outside assistance from a coach can be helpful.  Please contact me at 727-215-2039 or to obtain assistance from our coaches on healthily transforming anger into action.