The surprising answer is yes — but it all depends on how we cope with it.
Anger is defined as an unpleasant reaction (either emotional or behavioral) to a demand, belief, or unmet expectation.
Typically, anger consists of three components: thinking (negative thoughts), feeling (disappointment, frustration, contempt, rage), and acting (shaking a fist, yelling, violence).
Understandably, these thoughts, feelings, and actions aren’t all that desirable, nor are they generally well-received in social situations. But tempting as it might be to repress our anger, doing so can have negative health consequences. Studies have found that suppressing anger can worsen the experience of pain and put stress on people’s cardiovascular systems; pushing anger down has also been tied to anxiety and depression   .
In contrast, the benefits of acknowledging and harnessing our angry energy are well-documented in scientific studies. Anger can be a motivating force that also might make people feel more optimistic and confident. Acknowledging anger can help lower stress on the heart and manage pain, at least in laboratory studies  . And expressing anger as it arises (instead of bottling it up and letting it all come out in one explosive fight) has also been found to benefit interpersonal relationships.
Perhaps more than anything else, anger benefits us by alerting us that something is wrong on an individual, interpersonal, or societal scale. In the simplest sense, anger may be one of the reasons why we no longer have segregated water fountains, why someone chooses to end a deadening career, or why a person leaves an unhealthy relationship. But does this mean we should all go around punching walls every time we get annoyed or witness injustice?
ADDRESSING ANGER — YOUR ACTION PLAN
As with so many health-related factors, moderation is key. Out-of-control expressions of anger (think screaming and escalating rage, maybe to the point of physical violence) can be bad for people’s hearts (literally) — these outbursts have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease . Such expressions can also have serious consequences for an angry person’s romantic partner(s) or family.
In short, there’s a difference between anger and mismanaged anger — and the key to reaping anger’s benefits lies in learning how to cope with it in a healthy way. Every person’s experience of anger is different, based on factors like age, gender, and context. But the basic steps for coping apply across the board, whether at school, at the office, or at home. One of the most popular anger management strategies goes by the acronym STAR-R, short for Stop, Think, Ask, Reduce, Reward. The steps look something like this:
Stop. Pause. Count to 10 if you’re having trouble being still, and don’t forget to breathe! Notice that you’re getting angry. Look for signs like muscles tensing, face getting hot, hands shaking, breath shortening, voice rising, and a desire to run away.
Think. Picture the consequences if you lose control — for both you and the person with whom you’re angry (e.g. I’ll…