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How to Find the Good in the Bad to Help with Anger Management

Psychologists have a new name for finding something good in a bad situation — it’s called benefit-finding. Anger management attempts can be aided through the practice of benefit-finding.

Studies of patients with a variety of catastrophic, disabling illnesses — heart disease, breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis — suggest that most people can identify at least one benefit they derive from being ill. The possibilities include

  • An enhanced sense of spirituality

  • A greater appreciation for what life offers

  • Deeper, more meaningful interpersonal relationships

  • A heightened sense of compassion

  • Greater introspection — examining one’s inner self

  • Greater willingness to openly express emotion

  • Improved mood

  • Less tension, anxiety, and anger

  • Greater sense of mastery in dealing with day-to-day stress

  • Increased vigor and activity

  • Reduced fatigue-inertia

  • Better future health

Being able to find the silver lining was a key to Ann’s ability to endure chronic neck and back pain. Ann, a divorced mother of three, was only 36 when she was permanently injured while employed as a nurse.

Asked one day during group therapy by another pain client why she continued to be so upbeat despite intense pain, she said, “Hey, had I not been injured, I would just be another working mom who rarely got to spend time with her kids. At least now I can be part of their lives in a more meaningful way. And that’s a good thing.”

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