Benefits of anger:
There are some positive aspects of anger. The first aspect is self-protection, where our bodies are aroused into a state where they can respond with maximum physical energy for our defence in response to potential hurt. This is often referred to as the 'fight’ component of the fight-or-flight response. The second is decompression, where our bodies are given a chance to release pent-up physical tension caused by overexposure to frustration. The safe physical ventilation of anger is an effective way of helping our autonomic nervous system to switch back to its normal relaxed functioning state, which is commonly referred to as the ‘calm after the storm’.

At the end of the 19th century, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, argued that individuals are born with an innate aggressive instinct, and when this is blocked, they have a natural urge to become hostile or angry. Since that time, many of Freud’s ideas have been proven incorrect. In 1988, the American Psychological Association and the American Anthropological Association reviewed all the research and concluded that we are not genetically predisposed to violence, nor can it be scientifically related to natural evolutionary processes. Our physiological and genetic makeup does give us the physical equipment with which to become both aggressive and angry, but the manner in which we use it is very largely determined by our psychological and social development.

Physiological effects:

  1. In response to an electrical stimulation to the hypothalamus area of the brain, production of the hormone adrenaline is increased.
  2. Respiration deepens.
  3. The heart beats more rapidly and may palpitate. Blood pressure rises.
  4. The sympathetic nervous system diverts blood from the skin, liver, stomach and intestines to the heart, central nervous system and muscles.
  5. The digestive processes are suspended.
  6. Glucose is freed from reserves in the liver.
  7. Cortisol production is increased in order to depress the immune system.
  8. The spleen contracts and discharges its content of concentrated corpuscles.
  9. Men have an increased supply of the hormone testosterone.