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 angercan 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.
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 abilitycomparedto 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.
Channelthe 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.
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 may beis dependent on what we are trying to achieve and how we approach these situations.
If we can recognize these thingswithin ourselvesand 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 themwith 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.
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