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Anger is generally viewed as a negative. We are told to control it, release it, and rid ourselves of it. But can anger be used for good?
Both ancient spiritual teachings and modern scientific studies have shown positive benefits of anger. Properly channeled, angry emotions can be funneled into positive plans and actions that, as the Bible notes, can help us overcome evil with good.
Athletes are a prime example of the ways anger can positively motivate. Some athletes become angry at the actions of an opposing player and perform. Others, however, find the anger building within them as an extra boost of energy to play better and harder. How can we learn from these examples?
Here are four ways to help transition your anger into success:
1. Use anger as an energy boost.
When someone steps on your foot, it sends a surge of energy through your body. You're angry and want to do something.
The same is true in non-physical attacks. Someone cuts you off on the freeway and you are ready to explode. A coworker gossips about you and your response sends your heart rate soaring.
Anger naturally increases energy. How you use the energy is the critical factor. Some methods teach us to just breathe and let it go. However, there are times when our angry energy can be the boost we need to push harder to complete a project or accomplish a goal.
Try this the next time you're angry: Take your angry energy and pour it into a project you need to finish. You might find the energy boost from your anger helps you in unexpected ways.
2. Turn anger into a plan for victory.
We can't always help what triggers us toward anger. We can, however, decide how to express our frustrations. When you're angry, one powerful way to channel your emotions is to use them to plan your response.
By planning, I don't mean preparing a revenge attack on someone who upsets you. I mean you can take your frustrations and use them for something beneficial.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was angry about the inequalities in his time regarding civil rights. He used his anger to mobilize and plan activities that brought about the change he desired. Our world is better because of it.
Likewise, we can be upset about something just and right, but we need a plan to improve the situation. Using anger to plan can bring about vital personal and social change.
3. Attack the problem rather than the person.
There's a verse in the New Testament that says, "In your anger do not sin." Even God knows we will get angry, but this is no excuse to hurt others.
When we're angry, the surface issue might be a person or group of people, but the deeper issue is a specific problem. For example, I remember the fury I felt when I first began to investigate human trafficking. I could not believe people were still bought and sold.
My initial response was to do something vengeful toward any trafficker I could find. But that would have only made matters worse. The deeper issue was to stop and prevent modern slavery. I've since been involved in several projects to help in this effort.
4. Notice triggers to prepare for future battles.
Each of us has specific actions that trigger anger within us. For some, it is traffic. For others, it's someone's hateful words. Others become furious over political issues.
It's important for us to become observant of the areas and items that easily frustrate us. Counselors note we most easily fall into bad decisions when we fall into the HALT categories:
When we notice these factors, we can address them and help alleviate unhelpful expressions of anger.
So, what about you? What makes you want to turn into the Hulk? How can you channel this anger into something positive? The difference between anger that hurts and anger that helps is how you respond. Turn your anger into a way to overcome evil today.