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Science Explains How Anger Can Change Our Brains And Thinking In A Good Way

Science Explains How Anger Can Change Our Brains And Thinking In A Good Way

We are so often taught to avoid negative emotions in order to be our most positive selves and maintain a socially acceptable status quo. But what about the ways we could use negative emotions to our advantage? What about the ways we could harness emotions that are perceived as negative, but could be used productively? For example, getting agitated and losing your temper is bad, but using the energy that sustains agitation can quite possibly be productive. What’s more, anger can even change our brains in a good way!

How Anger Can Be Positive

There are good reasons why we tend to subdue emotions like anger, because it can be difficult to harness and harmful in its full effect. Yet anger is a good example of how we can take negative emotions and consider their full use.

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While we are taught that anger is largely detrimental and inhibiting to our daily lives, this may not always be the case. Studies have shown that when fuelled by anger, we are less likely to think in systematic ways and we have high-powered cognitive ability compared to people who feelsad or depressed. When we lack systematic ways to process information, we tend to look at the bigger picture to gather more clues. Such way of thinking is highly related to creativity.

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Channel The Negatives In Order To Be Positive

Studies also show that productivity with emotions like anger isdependent on the situation and on the person. It is an emotion deemed to be beneficial only in some, but certainly not all, contexts. For example, anger might be used productively in a negotiation, but only when the situation is confrontational. In other words, the heightened nature of the interaction may be fuelled with anger, but it is down to the person and the nature of the negotiation to be able to fuel the anger wisely. Studies showed that when these circumstances had productive results, it was because the participants wanted to feel anger in order to produce the desired result. They were aware of the scientific benefits and were able to harness the emotion productively.

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Be Aware When You Make Use Of Anger

Alternate studies have shown that angry people make better leaders, but again it is circumstantial. If those they are leading are not sensitive to conflict, the leadership can be successful. The research indicates an alignment of personalities. In order for the negative emotions to have a positive effect, the people involved need to be emotionally compatible and emotionally knowledgeable about the possible outcomes. They must be aware that anger can be beneficial, but also be able to recognize the dangers and the responsibility of such interactions. How negative or how positive our experiences maybe is dependent on what we are trying to achieve and how we approach these situations.

If we can recognize these things within ourselves and manage to harness them with maturity and knowledge, there is a chance that we can use perceivably negative emotions in a productive way and turn them into positive results. We can change the way we think about “negatives” and approach them with a sense of neutrality or even positivity. We can begin to understand that emotions — even the “bad” ones that we wish to avoid — can aid us for the better when it comes to our psychological and overall health.

Featured photo credit: Albumarium via albumarium.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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