Anger issues are totally normal during recovery and they can lead to relapse. Learn these anger management skills to help you stay calm and remain sober.
Everyone experiences anger from time to time. For someone in recovery, it’s normal to experience many emotions, and there is nothing wrong with feeling sadness or anger.
But if you are in recovery, uncontrolled anger can lead to a relapse. That’s why it’s important to understand this possibility and do everything you can to work through feelings of anger.
The goal of anger management is to help you keep your emotions in check and your recovery on track. Here are some anger management skills to help you stay calm and remain sober.
Deep Breathing and Relaxation Exercises
This relaxation technique can help you slow down and learn to calm your response to anger. When emotions run high, try to remove yourself from the situation and practice deep breathing exercises.
This may include counting to a certain number such as 50 or 100, focusing on breathing in and out, or trying to breathe at a deliberate pace. Other relaxation techniques include imagining a relaxing scene, listening to music, or practicing yoga.
Repeating a calming word or mantra can help. Repeating a phrase like “You are calm,” or “This, too, shall pass” helps instill a feeling of peacefulness.
There’s no right way to relax. You can find what technique works for you and use it to calm your anger before emotions get out of control.
Cognitive restructuring is another helpful anger management tool. If you can learn to change the way you think about your emotions, you can change your response to anger.
If you can look at a difficult situation and replace catastrophic thoughts with rational thoughts, you can deal with adversity in a more positive way. Cognitive restructuring involves understanding that things will not always go your way or as planned.
You will get upset or frustrated sometimes, but it doesn’t have to escalate to extreme anger. When you keep your emotions in check, you are less likely to engage in destructive behavior.
Take Time to Exercise
Physical activity is important for a healthy body, but there is also a psychological effect of exercise. It can reduce feelings of stress, which is a common trigger for anger.
If you feel anger brimming, remove yourself from the situation and get some exercise. Go for a walk or run, head to the gym, or participate in something you enjoy.
Exercise helps you feel better about yourself, and that is good for your recovery.
Engage in a Hobby
Focusing on a hobby is a long-term coping mechanism. Doing something you enjoy is crucial for mental health.
When you take the time to participate in an activity you enjoy, you are less likely to feel stressed. Lower stress levels help you be less reactive to difficult situations.
Part of taking care of yourself involves focusing on your mental health. A long-term hobby is a great way to fill your spare time with a positive focus.
Think Before You Speak
This may seem like simple advice, but it’s so true. In stressful situations, it’s much easier to react in anger than it is to pause and gather your thoughts.
If you will make it a habit to think before you speak, your responses will be more rational. When you are calm, it’s easier to express yourself in a clear, nonconfrontational way.
This allows you and others to express your needs and concerns with attacking or controlling someone else.
When problems arise, your normal response may be frustration or anger. But if you stop to think about the situation, there’s probably a solution to the problem.
Instead of focusing on what’s making you mad, focus on a possible solution instead. Changing the way you look at life’s inevitable problems can keep you in a more positive mindset and focused on your wellbeing and recovery.
If you feel upset and anger starts to take over, a little distraction may help. Sometimes it’s good to take a break.
For some people, simply thinking about something else may help. Others need to remove themselves from the situation and focus on a concrete distraction.
This could be reading, watching a movie, exercising, or even visiting a friend. The point is to diffuse the situation and, if necessary, revisit the issue when you are calm and rational.
Forgiveness is powerful and freeing. Extreme anger and negativity are toxic and can consume you.
Forgiving someone who has hurt you recently or in the past is a way to focus on the future and a new way of living. Your wellbeing during addiction recovery needs to be your priority.
Forgiving yourself or others for past mistakes is a way to move forward and let go of negative feelings.
Use “I” Statements
Anger escalates when blame becomes part of the conversation. You can get your point across without placing blame.
Using “I” statements lets you express how you are feeling without attacking someone else. They are more likely to listen and less likely to get angry.
This can keep a disagreement from escalating into an argument. For example, instead of saying, “You are always late for dinner,” say, “I’m upset that we aren’t having dinner on time.”
It’s always better to talk respectfully about an issue, and you’re more likely to solve the problem too.
Anger Management Skills
It’s normal to experience lots of different emotions during recovery. Feeling angry isn’t a sign of failure or weakness.
There are many anger management skills you can use to keep your emotions in check. You can control your anger and stay on the path to recovery.
Don’t hesitate to consult a mental health professional if you feel overwhelmed. Your recovery is too important to let anything get in the way.
For more information about our addiction recovery programs, contact us today.