Summary of Why We Get Mad – and Why It’s Healthy

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Why We Get Mad – and Why It’s Healthy summary
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Anger’s bad rap is undeserved, according to psychologist Ryan Martin. Humans feel this emotion for a reason, he explains, and understanding your anger and what it can do for you can transform this stigmatized emotion into a positive, productive energy burst and motivator.

About the Speaker

Anger researcher Ryan Martin chairs the psychology department at University of Wisconsin–Green Bay. 



Despite its stigma, anger is a necessary emotion that serves a purpose.

Anger is a highly relatable emotion, one that humans experience universally. Even newborns can feel anger when their cries don’t get them what they crave or need. Anger is embedded in grief and other painful rites of passage, but it can also surface during celebrations – for example, when the events somehow fail to meet one’s expectations.

Society tends to view anger as destructive or scary. In fact, anger is a healthy, meaningful human emotion. Anger exists because it gave humanity’s ancestors an “evolutionary advantage.” Anger notifies you of an injustice and triggers your fight-or-flight response so that you have the energy to address it. Your wrath tells you that you’ve reached a limit.

A combination of external and internal factors create anger.

People tend to pin their anger on an external “provocation.” Their

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