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Anger is a normal and healthy emotion. It's a part of everyone's life, and has an acceptable place in the emotional spectrum, along with other feelings like sadness, fear, wonder, and joy. Feeling angry is not inherently bad. So why is anger such a problem for so many, and why does feeling it so often lead to negative consequences? Perhaps the primary reason is that anger is generally viewed in a negative light. As a result, many people go to great lengths to avoid feeling angry. Drugs and alcohol can take anger away for awhile. Compulsive activities can provide a distraction and an outlet for as long as the compulsion is indulged. Many addictions like binge eating, gambling, sex, self-mutilation, and pornography provide temporary relief. Other addictions like anorexia (addiction to starvation) offer a sense of control, which translates into control of anger. If feelings of anger cannot be avoided, they can sneak out in emotions like impatience, frustration, indignation, irritation, and so on. Anger can be dissociated, repressed, or turned inward, toward the self, as with major depression. Anger can be denied, ignored, rationalized, and minimized. All these anger-avoidance strategies can have negative consequences because the anger isn't gone, just stored. Stored anger can create relationship issues, health problems, acting out, mental disorders, stress, exhaustion, and psychosomatic illness. When feelings of anger are accepted and experienced, there is the opportunity to release them, or use them positively. Anger can be channeled into constructive activities. It can be translated into courage, determination, persistence, assertiveness, and strength. Anger is energy. Whether it's used to create a positive or negative outcome is squarely in the hands of the one who feels it. Mental health professionals can assist clients with unresolved anger. The therapist can help the patient become accept feelings of anger by providing a safe place to vent. When anger is brought to the surface, felt, and released, the patient can then learn to identify anger, feel it, and develop a skill set to deal with it in healthier ways.
Anger, like many feelings, is not necessarily rational. It's important to let an angry person vent in their own way, rational or not. When the anger is felt and released, the patient will be in a better position to clearly assess what's causing it, and to be rational about dealing with it.
Anger usually comes when we experience situations we want to be different than they are. When this occurs, there are two possibilities. One, there are actions we can take to change or resolve the situation. Two, we are powerless over the situation, and nothing will change it.When a situation can be changed, the client can be taught to use anger as a tool for transformation. When the situation can't be changed, anger-releasing activities can be practiced. Venting, working out, throwing a "safe tantrum," or completing a project to gain a sense of mastery can all be learned and practiced. It's important for the client to understand that feeling angry is okay, and that anger can be used beneficially.
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