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July 10, 2013

From time to time I encounter an article or a post on the alleged benefits of anger and why people should get angry under certain circumstances. In this post, my mission is to inform you that on the contrary, you should strive to never get angry and here’s why;

Anger in my professional opinion is a useless emotion, it’s probably the default emotion that comes with just having a reptilian brain in regards to dealing with frustration (cognitive exhaustion) and resorting to self defense. However with the manual override that the cerebral cortex provides us, anger has become obsolete.

Understandably, people sometimes express skepticism when I state that anger is a useless emotion, this is because ego centrism to varying degrees is ubiquitous across all cultures. We make the mistake of externalizing our expectations towards the world around us, instead of internalizing expectations and externalizing preferences.

Here are three reasons why anger is obsolete.

Anger is Never a Solution.

Think about it, what good has anger ever served you? Take for example, in a relationship with your spouse or domestic partner, does getting angry help strengthen the relationship or bring you two closer to separation? Some times when I meet with a couple for the first time, both partners present with such anger towards each other that they begin competing in airing out each other’s dirty laundry. If things get really hostile, I will ask if they are paying me to learn tools on how to properly address issues in their relationship, or if they are seeking validation from me on why they should split up.

Often times when we get angry at someone or a situation, what we are really experiencing is cognitive exhaustion. The experience of cognitive exhaustion usually leads to two options, the first being to stop, rest and collect your thoughts and the second being to throw a tantrum.

If you have ever witnessed a two year old trying to tie his shoelace for the first time, you can probably attest to the tantrums which soon follow after several unsuccessful attempts. Good parents then help the child reach a state of calm before showing that child a technique for learning to tie his shoelace.

When we have adequate knowledge or tools for which to address our problems, we don’t get angry.

Anger is Never Useful for Self Defense.

If you have ever being mugged at gun point, knife point, or even threatened by a dog or wild animal, you can probably agree that getting angry at the time was the farthest thing from your mind. You probably simply wanted to survive the ordeal.

When your life is truly threatened, your mind immediately transitions in a problem solving mode. This means you will resort to any sensible bit of information you can think of, which increases the likelihood of you surviving the incident. If you have ever seen YouTube videos of people successfully defending themselves against an aggressor, I am willing to bet it’s because that person already had some sort of training, (if not extensive) on self defense. So in that instance they resorted to their knowledge to protect themselves.

Anger is not Inspirational

There is nothing inspirational about anger, I think people who believe anger to be inspirational get confused because of the surge of adrenaline going through their system when they get angry. Earlier on I wrote that anger is a default emotion that was originally programmed into the reptilian brain, this makes more sense when you realize that a surge of adrenaline helps you take off in flight or put up a last ditch effort to fight for your life. However adrenaline surges should never be confused with inspiration.

Inspiration comes from the belief or realization that a belief you hold, or something you have earnestly hoped for is about to be realized. When people become inspired it’s because they are being spiritually pulled in by a singular or shared vision of something they desire and not from a sense of anger of something they do not desire.

A revised copy of my book, Anger Management 101- Taming the Beast Within is about to be released and prior to announcing the launch date, I plan on offering subscribers to this blog, the book at a discounted price for a limited time. I will provide further information when my publisher and I finalize arrangements.

Please share this post with anyone you believe will benefit from reading it.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions PLLC, a professional counseling private practice.

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