Recognizing & Managing Anger

10. Use Anger for Positive Outcomes

Believe it or not, anger can be used to reach positive outcomes. Often, your anger motivates you to change something—whether it is a process, a relationship, or an idea. However, these changes can only occur if the anger is discovered, the past is discarded, and inappropriate expectations are channeled appropriately. Most importantly, anger should not be used to perpetuate more conflict.

You can use anger in a positive way when you:

  • Construct goals and solutions
  • Fuel positive growth through redirection

Construct Goals and Solutions

Let’s say that your small boat has capsized and you are left in the water without a lifejacket. You could get mad and spend all your energy flapping your arms up and down in the water, trying to get attention. Or you could look for a solution. What would you do? Well, you could begin by reaching toward your turned-over boat and use it to help you stay afloat.

You need to see all the components of what is happening to you. Getting angry is fine, but only if you use that energy to construct goals and solutions to help you move forward. In order to do this you will need to identify the anger. This includes looking at the situation, your beliefs, and your feelings, and then disputing the irrational thoughts.

Fuel Positive Growth through Redirection

Anger is a powerful emotion that’s full of energy—your energy. Your challenge and goal is to redirect anger’s negative energy into positive energy. This can be accomplished by setting aside the negative force of anger and focusing on positive and appropriate ways to deal with discord, disagreement, and conflict.

First, it is important to establish some rules for fair fighting so you can move assertively into conflict by using the natural gift of anger in new dynamic and effective ways. Channeling anger into exercise, a renewed focus on work, or active problem solving are a few ways of positively discharging this powerful emotion.


Be aware of these common pitfalls as you learn to manage your anger more effectively.

  • Releasing anger before you understand it
  • Avoiding anger when it arises
  • Seeing anger as a method for getting things done
  • Not seeking help
  • Believing anger is logical

Indicators of Success

How will you know that you have become effective at recognizing and managing your anger? (Select the indicators most important to you.)

  • You will recognize anger as healthy and natural when it arises
  • You will be able to resolve conflict without overreacting
  • You will be able to act instead of react
  • You will see anger as an opportunity for making positive changes in your life
  • People will not be afraid of your expression of anger, but will be encouraged to solve the disagreement or conflict