Monday, March 3, 2014

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Recognizing Healthy Anger

Anger is a common emotion we all recognize. Survey research shows that most people feel at least mildly angry several times per week. Fortunately, the experience of anger, while often unpleasant, is not necessarily harmful. In fact, some anger can be healthy for us.

It is helpful to think of anger as existing on a continuum, with mild annoyance or frustration at one end and intense rage at the other. Mild to moderate anger is not only normal, it can have positive effects when we express it appropriately. For example, anger helps motivate us to address injustices, seek solutions to problems, and assert ourselves in appropriate ways. Angry feelings can alert us that something is wrong and energize us to take action. If we were not able to experience anger, it might be difficult for us to stand up for ourselves when we are treated poorly. This could interfere with our ability to get our needs met.

The benefits of mild to moderate anger remind us that the elimination of angry feelings is not the goal of anger management programs. Recognizing these benefits also highlights the importance of having one's anger evaluated by a professional with experience in providing anger management services. Such a professional will use a variety of methods to help individuals considering anger management in order to determine whether their experience of anger is more frequent, more intense, and/or associated with more negative consequences than what would be considered healthy.

The Anger Management Program at the Community Counseling and Assessment Clinic offers evidence-based anger management services for individuals in the Hattiesburg area who want to learn strategies for managing their anger.