There is an upside to feeling angry.
According to research published this week in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” anger is more helpful at motivating people to overcome obstacles and meet their goals than a neutral emotional state.
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Many of us have been taught to push away our so-called negative emotions and focus on the positive. But experts say that being relentlessly positive and leaning on happy platitudes, also known as “toxic positivity,” can harm us.
“Most positivity lingo lacks nuance, compassion and curiosity,” the therapist Whitney Goodman writes in her book “Toxic Positivity.” “It comes in the form of blanket statements that tell someone how to feel and that the feeling they’re currently having is wrong.”
The truth is that all of our emotions can be useful. “We evolved to experience negative emotions,” said Ethan Kross, a psychologist and the director of the Emotion and Self-Control Lab at the University of Michigan.
Anger often results after you have experienced an offense “and you still believe that you can right the ship,” he added. “It can be energizing.”