Anger and Other Emotions

Rubin (2009)Gretchen Rubin (2009), in her silly book The Happiness Project, urges people to reject the adage that people shouldn’t go to bed angry.

Researchers have discovered, she reports, no evidence that airing grievances is useful but, rather, evidence that refraining from expressing anger often allows it to “disappear” (64). She elsewhere argues that one of the happiness myths is the belief that venting anger can relieve it

Although anger can burn uncontrollably, these and other passionate emotions can sometimes be alleviated by expressing them. In addition to emotional relief, such expression can enable emotional recognition, especially when listened to and heard by others, and it can (re)establish human connection and provide another perspective.

Anger, like fire, can be useful and certainly is valuable, and yet it must be managed to prevent it from raging out of control. Perhaps the secret is learning to distinguish between times that these emotions need to be expressed and those that they do not, as well as how to handle powerful emotions appropriately.

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