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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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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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