The Value of Anger: 16 Reasons It’s Good to Get Angry

Volcano on snowy mountain beginning to eruptThe angry man is aiming at what he can attain, and the belief that you will attain your aim is pleasant.” —Aristotle

Anger has a negative reputation when compared to positive emotions such as happiness, enthusiasm, and hope. Perhaps the lack of respect for anger is rooted in social, cultural, and religious reasons, as well as the obvious manifestation of its often destructive outcomes, such as aggression and violence. In fact, many believe we would be better off without anger as an emotion. However, more and more social and evolutionary psychologists, brain scientists, and mental health professionals are suggesting anger has valuable qualities and can be beneficial to the human condition.

From an evolutionary perspective, all emotions are appropriate in certain circumstances when experienced at an optimal degree, providing the resources to effectively operate toward a desired goal. For example, certain levels of stress and anxiety push us to perform at a high level. Sadness can be cathartic, filling us with appreciation for what we have lost while signaling to others we need support to recover and heal. Similarly, mild to moderate anger can help us positively move forward—yet, of course, extreme or chronic anger can be detrimental to our well-being.

Anger is not just aggressive reaction. It often provides us with information that allows us to better engage with the world around us (as well as ourselves). If we see anger as something that makes us more informed, we can adapt our response accordingly to better our position. To this end, the following is a list of benefits anger can provide when the appropriate level of the emotion is attained.

1. Anger Is Designed to Promote Survival

Emotions evolved to keep us safe. Our fight response, which evolved so we could defend ourselves from an enemy or danger, stems from anger. Anger is embedded in our primitive need to live and protect ourselves against aggression. Anger drives people to be extremely vigilant about threats and sharpens our focus. When we are threatened or attacked by a predator, anger is automatically activated and pushes us to fight back and act quickly and forcefully to protect ourselves.

2. Anger’s Discharge Is Calming

When you are angry, you experience physical and emotional pain. When you experience physical and emotional distress, anger strongly motivates you to do something about it. As such, anger helps you cope with the stress by first discharging the tension in your body, and by doing so it calms your “nerves.” That’s why you may have an angry reaction and then feel calm afterward.

3. Anger Provides a Sense of Control

Anger is related to a deep need for control. Anger protects what is ours, helping us feel in charge rather than helpless. The function of anger is to inflict costs or withhold benefits from others to increase our welfare. Individuals who experience and display their anger appropriately are in a better position to fulfill their needs and control their destiny than those who suppress their anger. That said, it’s important to guard against becoming obsessed by the sense of power anger may elicit.

4. Anger Energizes Us

From a survival perspective, we defend ourselves when we retaliate and make other people fear us. Anger guards us when someone wants to hurt us. It gives us the strength and aggression to help us overcome a stronger enemy. In day-to-day situations, anger serves as a positive force to motivate us to stand up for ourselves and creatively find solutions to the challenges we face. As Richard Davidson says, anger “mobilizes resources, increases vigilance, and facilitates the removal of obstacles in the way of our goal pursuits, particularly if the anger can be divorced from the propensity to harm or destroy.”

5. Anger Motivates Us to Solve Problems

When we feel like things are out of place, we can get angry. If things are not the way they are supposed to be and need to change, anger propels us to do something and motivates us to find solutions to our problems. Anger is triggered when we face an obstacle or individual (or something else) that blocks our needs. It prepares us to deal with the obstruction or problem in our path so we can get to where we want to be.

6. Anger Makes Us Aware of Injustice

We often experience anger when we are denied rights or when faced with insults, disrespect, injustice, or exploitation. Anger serves as an internal guidance system that indicates something is not quite right, that someone has treated us unjustly or unfairly. Anger helps communicate to others: “You’d better treat me fairly; otherwise, you’ll pay a high cost.” On a global level, standing up for a lack of fairness can prevent people from taking advantage of others. This type of anger can bring about positive change in society and increase the social cost of misbehaving.

7. Anger Drives Us Toward Our Goals

Anger pushes us to pursue our desired goals and rewards. When we don’t get what we want, anger is triggered and indicates we have moved away from our desired objectives. Anger tries to eliminate whatever prevents us from realizing our desires. It energizes and pushes us to act in service of achieving our goals and working toward our ideals.

8. Anger Injects Optimism

Surprisingly, anger can trigger optimism. It can encourage us to focus on what we hope to achieve, rather than merely focusing on the pain, insult, or victimization. The anger system is geared toward what is attainable, not the impossible. When we are angry, we often feel positive about our ability to change the situation, empowering us to take action and move from an undesirable position to a desirable one.

Anger serves as a social and personal value indicator and regulator. It is activated when our values are not in harmony with the situation we face. Accordingly, it makes us aware of our deep-seated beliefs and what we stand for.

9. Anger Protects Our Values and Beliefs

Anger serves as a social and personal value indicator and regulator. It is activated when our values are not in harmony with the situation we face. Accordingly, it makes us aware of our deep-seated beliefs and what we stand for. It also motivates us to rectify the discrepancy and take action to change the situation (or our belief) to align the reality we face with our values.

10. Anger Is a Bargaining Tool

Anger erupts naturally when someone puts a lower value, or weight, on your welfare relative to their own. Anger is designed to recalibrate the situation and thus increase our value. Anger also strongly asserts our position and may lead to compliance by others. Anger drives us to respond to conflict in a way that helps us bargain to our advantage. It causes others to rethink their positions against our position. It signals to the other side: “What you propose is too costly for me. You would be better off if you changed the value you assign to me (decrease my cost or increase your value).”

11. Anger Increases Cooperation

If anger is justified and the response is appropriate, usually the misunderstanding is corrected, leading to increased cooperation. Anger tells others it is important to listen to us—that we feel annoyed and it is wise to pay attention to our words. Anger communicates: “I don’t like the situation, and we need to work together to find a better solution.” Anger makes you stand up for yourself and constructively challenge the other side. As such, anger encourages cooperation.

12. Anger Improves Negotiating Positions

Anger may lead to better outcomes in business negotiations. While two parties negotiate, the negotiator who seems angrier may be in a better position to tilt the agreement in their favor. Similarly, when one party believes the other negotiating side is angry, they may be more willing to compromise. In that regard, anger serves as a negotiating tool used to persuade, reach a deal, or improve the negotiated position.

13. Anger Covers Painful Feelings

Similar to Sigmund Freud‘s defense mechanisms that exist to protect the personality from an unbearable anxiety when the ego is under attack, anger serves this critical psychological function. Anger is a raw, “superficial” emotion that prevents (defends/blocks) you from feeling even more painful emotions. For example, a person who was betrayed by their partner may use anger to control their partner rather than share their own pain, which is difficult to bear.

14. Anger Pushes Us to Reach a Deeper Self

Anger is generally a very apparent emotion and at times can be volcanic. Yet—like a volcano that is formed when magma pushes up through the earth’s crust from below, depositing lava on the surface—there are many forces that push anger to surface, such as fear and defensiveness. It might be a fear of losing control or fear of being alone, rejected, abandoned, unloved, etc. Anger provides insight into ourselves, as it is the layer of deeper issues that are most hidden. This is why it is important to trace the trail of anger and dig down to find and address its source. Only after addressing the blockage that leads to anger can we free ourselves from the misery it sometimes induces.

15. Anger Can Lead to Self-Improvement

Anger can make you a better person and can be a force of positive change. It provides insight into our faults and shortcomings. If looked at constructively, this can lead to positive outcomes. Just like motivation, it can lead to self-change. For instance, if one knows certain things make them angry, they can work on these triggers to improve their response to them and, by doing so, improve their quality of life and relationships.

16. Feeling Anger Enhances Emotional Intelligence

Individuals willing to embrace uncomfortable emotions such as anger, rather than avoiding or repressing them, have greater emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent individuals do not resist anger, instead utilizing its “wisdom” to gain its positives. As a result, they have highly flexible emotional response systems and are more adaptive and resilient.


Despite an unfavorable reputation, the concept of constructive anger is gaining more empirical support from researchers and can have a beneficial role in our lives. Anger is an integral part of our fight-or-flight mechanism. It had a survival necessity in the past and has some positive value in the present, too. The motivation and action that is powered by anger can move us toward reaching our goals. It pushes us to fix the wrongs we see in the world and make it right.

Extreme anger is effective in serious life-or-death situations. Yet, this modality is rarely useful in day-to-day living. The key to its effectiveness is for anger to be expressed with the appropriate intensity to the situation, while feeling it (rather than repressing it) and utilizing it in a wise manner. As Aristotle said, we have to be angry “with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way.” He added this is not easy.

I would like to end by using a metaphor: Anger, like a fire, is a primal force. When left unchecked, it can be destructive, yet when managed and used wisely, it can be a beneficial and powerful instrument that leads to enlightenment.


  1. Davidson, R. (2012). The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel and Live—and How You Can Change Them. London, UK: Penguin Books.
  2. Fischhoff, B., Gonzalez, R. M., Lerner, J. S., & Small, D. A. (2005). Evolving Judgments of Terror Risks: Foresight, Hindsight, and Emotion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 11(2), 124-139
  3. Ford, B. Q., & Tamir, M. (2014). Preferring Familiar Emotions: As You Want (and Like) It? Cognition and Emotion, 28, 311-324.
  4. Henk, A. et al. (2010). The Art of Anger: Reward Context Turns Avoidance Responses to Anger-Related Objects into Approach. Psychological Science 21, 1406-10.
  5. Lerner J.S., & Keltner D. (2001). Fear, Anger, and Risk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 146-159.
  6. Lickerman, A. (2012). The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc.
  7. Sell, A. et al. (2005). Regulating Welfare Tradeoff Ratios: Three Tests of an Evolutionary-Computational Model of Human Anger. Diss Abstr Int B Sci Eng. 2006;66(8-B):4516.
  8. Van Kleef, G. A. (2010). The Emerging View of Emotion as Social Information. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4/5, 331-343.

© Copyright 2017 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Moshe Ratson, MBA, MS, LMFT, Topic Expert

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • charlotte

    March 13th, 2017 at 9:19 AM

    Anger is a release for me. If I feel like I go for too long holding all those emotions inside, well what good is hat going to do for me? It only tends to amp up the anger and make it even worse. I just let it out, and while it might not be pleasant in the exact moment I always feel better after that release. I try to be mindful to not take it out on anyone else, but at the same time I don’t hold it all back either.

  • Cam

    March 14th, 2017 at 7:29 AM

    When done the right way then of course it can be a great thing for you.
    But when done wrong, you have to think about who may be getting hurt.
    Who are you harming by your anger coming out in a way that may not be the most appropriate or thoughtful?
    It is always good to acknowledge your own feelings, I can agree with that. But not when the cost will be that you are hurting another person in the process.

  • Ur

    November 7th, 2019 at 8:00 PM

    Ok Boomer

  • Ian

    March 17th, 2020 at 9:19 AM

    Cam, I agree. there is a process that has worked well for me in the past. when I get angry to the point where I think I might put others at risk of harm, I isolate myself and vent my frustrations/rage on non-living targets. no one gets hurt and I let my anger out of my system. from that point I either meditate or listen to something relaxing to lift me back up to a more stable and focused state of mind. from there, I can look at my problem objectively and with a level head, formulate a strategy to tackle the problem effectively, and deal with it so it doesn’t cause me any further distress. after that, I strengthen my defenses around that area that caused me distress, in other words: learn from past mistakes. when you think about it, its a very similar process to how the immune system works.

    catharsis just for the sake of catharsis and with no follow-up is unhealthy and can make you addicted to that feel-good sensation catharsis brings without actually dealing with your problems. a balance of both logic and emotion are necessary.

  • Austin

    March 14th, 2017 at 2:32 PM

    I don’t know, I grew up with a father who was always perpetually angry it seemed and it never did any of us any good.
    We were always scared of him, even my mom, and so most of the time we would all just tiptoe around him and walk on eggshells because we never knew if what we did would set him off, and no one wanted to be the one responsible for that!
    No, I guess there is a time to express that anger but how about learning to do it in an adult kind of way before deciding that you are going to take out every feeling that you have ever had that is negative out on another person.

  • Katie

    July 12th, 2018 at 1:51 PM

    I went ballistic at the police one night when wrongfully arrested. It was the defining moment of my life, I felt like I finally became an adult, stopped pussyfooting around trying to be friends with everybody and make peace etc, and finally stood up for myself. I even feel like a different person since then, like I have more self respect. Everything written in this article is true, even the line that cautions against getting off on a power trip that is inappropriate or unnatural, survival based anger. Anger is like fire, a good thing but take care…

  • Rossana H.

    September 7th, 2019 at 1:03 PM

    I would like to receive articles please.

  • James

    November 20th, 2019 at 4:06 AM

    I cannot think of any time in my life when anger was good. It makes me angry to get angry. It does not calm me. It is not a release. I cannot think of a single time when I look back and say “I am glad I got angry in that situation. It really helped me (and/or the other person) to escalate that into an angry exchange.” The best thing to do, if you find yourself about to speak or act angrily, is to disengage until you have had time to think things through and re-engage calmly — or not at all. Say calmly: “I need a little time to think. Let’s resume this discussion later.” Then go away. If the other person tries to continue, just keep repeating the same two sentences and if necessary physically remove yourself or hang up without the other person’s permission. You always have a right to take time and think.

  • Uncle Don

    January 31st, 2020 at 8:00 AM

    You need to calm down…..
    (see what I did there?)

  • Buck.A

    May 3rd, 2020 at 9:31 PM

    Luck can never last a lifetime

  • Edison.Boris

    May 10th, 2020 at 5:21 AM

    A healthy body is the cornerstone of achieving the goal

  • Nicholas F.

    May 11th, 2020 at 9:42 PM

    Its interesting how socially now anger is seen as a negative thing. Thank you for the insight. As a dad anger has helped me take control of my family, stir me the right direction, protect my family from physical harm and loved my wife more intensely because I feel alive as a man playing my role.

  • Stephens.D

    May 14th, 2020 at 1:25 AM

    Don’t ask what others have done for you, but ask what you have done for others

  • Gary

    July 31st, 2020 at 10:22 AM

    Don’t make excuses for failure, just find a way for success

  • Arujit

    August 8th, 2020 at 7:07 AM

    anger can create a great impact on us to get our goal
    so in my point of view it is a good

  • Skoonix

    September 25th, 2020 at 1:44 PM

    Anger IS healthy – when used right. Some of the comments on here – like the individual with an “angry dad” that everyone had to “tiptoe” around – well, that is not healthy. At all. But what is even more unhealthy is people who just suppress all their anger, they just push it way down and then months, years later they explode over some minimal thing and of course they are erupting not over that, but over the years of unexpressed anger. I was raised in a healthy loving family but we were taught when you get angry, express it and tell us why you are angry. So you get angry in that moment, over that situation and move on. If our parents got angry at us, they expressed it and that was that. They told us they always loved us, no matter what, even when they got upset with us. My wife, however, was raised in a very dysfunctional family – where anger was treated as this horrible monster that must NEVER be expressed. So unhealthy – so my wife has a very bad relationship with anger expressed of any kind. Her Mom acts like all is well but then she’ll explode over a salt shaker and of course it’s not about the salt shaker, it’s about the half dozen things she suppressed. Anger is a healthy emotion like all other emotions. Kids should be taught that – that it is all right to get angry, just express it, use your words when angry but then once you release it, move on. But no way is healthy to just ignore and lock away anger.

  • Wow

    June 5th, 2021 at 11:42 PM

    It is ignorance that gave anger any credit

  • keith Paul

    July 15th, 2021 at 1:22 AM

    A great article and great comments. Thank you

  • Beatriz

    July 27th, 2021 at 4:35 AM

    I would like to receive these articles.

  • Laura

    March 29th, 2023 at 12:47 PM

    Thank you

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