Anger is Good!


Have you ever had the experience where you're talking with someone and all of a sudden a powerful, but unexpected idea escapes from your lips. I had that experience a few months ago at a workshop where I was speaking about emotions and leadership. During my remarks, someone asked a question about anger and my response shocked me. Anger is a powerful emotional signal from our amygdala that something we hold near and dear, a core belief or mental model about life has been violated or broken. We feel hurt, violated, and usually see our anger as being intentional caused by someone or something else. Typically, we respond to anger with with a fight or flight response. We become dispassionate, blame ourselves, or lash out with vengeance.

For as long as I can remember, I've thought that anger was something to be avoided–that it wasn't healthy. Then this idea, hellbent on getting out of my mouth, circumvented my prefrontal cortex and said, "Anger is a gift! It is a warning sign from the depths of our being that something is out of wack." Wow!

Rather than allowing the anger to control us, we have the power to use anger like radar to understand when a core belief or mental model has been breached. It gives us the opportunity to respect the pain we feel and to step back from the typical fight-flight-freeze response and choose a better path.

Anger is good!