Going through the process of recovery is challenging. However, one of the most important things to master is knowing how to control anger. Like finding a guiding lighthouse that steers you clear of turbulent waters, anger management can help you prevent potential relapse. Ultimately, it can help you advance with serenity and resilience. 

When unmanaged, an emotion as intense as anger can quickly become a strong impulse for falling back into old habits. This blog will discuss practical techniques for overcoming this complex emotion.

addiction recovery

Source: Oregon Trail Recovery

Why Do We Get Angry?

Anger is a powerful yet complex emotion. It serves as our brain’s defense mechanism against perceived dangers, in whatever form. 

Anger triggers the release of adrenaline, elevates the heart rate and blood pressure, and sharpens the senses. It also primes the muscles for response, preparing the body for immediate action. 

Although this biological basis emphasizes the human instinct for survival, other external factors can have an impact on it. 

For example, when looking into the effects of parents’ addiction, you’ll find that children of parents with substance use disorder (SUD) could be more violent as adults. It also increases their chance of developing SUD.

Recognizing the Triggers

Knowing what triggers your anger, including repressed anger, is vital to managing it. Here are some examples of triggers:

  • Feeling disrespected or unloved
  • Perceived threats to safety or well-being
  • Compromised sense of fairness 
  • Obstacles in the path toward goals
  • Criticism or feeling ignored
  • Stress from work, financial pressures, or relationship issues
  • Reminders of past substance use
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Repressed anger from unresolved conflicts or unexpressed displeasure

Ways to Control Anger

Want to learn anger management techniques? Here are some tips to help you out.

Develop Healthy Coping Strategies

Are you in addiction recovery? Keep in mind that developing healthy coping strategies is necessary. You can start with these three to help you diffuse your anger.

  • Deep Breathing. Deep breathing calms the nervous system. To do this, inhale deeply through your nose, then hold it. Then, exhale through your mouth. Repeat several times.
  • Meditation. Meditation increases mindfulness, helping you understand your emotions better. You can use apps and other educational resources to make possible short daily sessions.
  • Physical Exercise. Engaging in physical activities releases endorphins, hormones that can aid in combating stress and anger. Incorporate activities like walking or yoga for at least 30 minutes most days.
repressed anger

Source: Pexels.com

Communication Skills

Learning to control anger has much to do with sharpening your communication skills. 

When expressing your feelings and needs, do it assertively but without aggression. How? Clearly state what you feel and need in a situation. Use “I” statements to focus on your experiences rather than blaming others. 

For instance, if you feel others disregard your opinions, you can say, “I feel upset when I’m interrupted because I feel like my opinion isn’t valued.” This approach feels more constructive than saying, “You always interrupt me.”

Active listening also plays a crucial role. To help manage your anger, you must learn to acknowledge others’ feelings and outlook. When conversing with someone, give your full attention to the speaker, understand their message, and respond thoughtfully.

Seek Support

Enlisting support through groups, therapy, and counseling is invaluable for managing anger. 

When joining support groups, you can access a safe space to share experiences and learn from others who may be facing similar challenges. This communal aspect also offers unique insights and strategies for anger management.

Meanwhile, therapy and counseling go deeper. They give personalized approaches to understanding the roots of anger and how it ties into addiction. Professionals can equip you with tools to navigate emotions effectively, promoting lasting change — even after rehab.

Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Mindfulness is a practice that involves being fully present and engaged in the moment without judgment. It allows you to observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance. Doing so can give you the space to choose how to react to those emotions, including anger.

In particular, guided relaxation techniques can help you systematically reduce tension and stress. It can lead to relaxation, mitigating the intensity of your anger and other overwhelming emotions. Some popular methods include progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing exercises, and guided imagery. 

relapse

Source: Oregon Trail Recovery

Time-Out Strategy

Sometimes, getting into a situation where heated moments can provoke your emotions is unavoidable. When that happens, implementing that time-out strategy is the wise thing to do. 

A time-out strategy is a powerful technique that is a way to control anger before it intensifies further. Here, you must recognize early signs of rising anger. When these signs emerge, allow yourself to step away from the situation temporarily. Whenever applicable, signal to others that you need a brief break. You must do all this in a calm and collected manner.

After that, find a quiet space where you can be alone. Then, focus on calming techniques, such as deep breathing or mindfulness, until your anger subsides. The goal is to give you that much-needed pause and allow your emotions to cool down.

Journaling

Journaling is a contemplative activity that enhances your ability to express your emotions. Think of it as both a mirror and a guiding map for traversing your thoughts and feelings, including anger.

Documenting your emotions through writing allows for a deeper exploration of these feelings. Doing this allows you to process your emotions and identify particular events and situations that ignite your anger. It serves as a therapeutic vent, letting you discover patterns and root causes behind your emotional reactions.

Setting Realistic Goals

If you’re in recovery, it’s vital to have realistic and achievable goals. This will help you lessen frustration and anger, giving you a clear direction and a sense of purpose. It minimizes the feeling of being overwhelmed or disappointed by unattainable standards.

You can do this by breaking down larger objectives into smaller, manageable tasks. As you tick off those smaller, manageable tasks, don’t forget to celebrate your small victories. Remember: Acknowledging progress, no matter how small, boosts self-esteem and reinforces positive behaviors.

anger management techniques

Source: Pexels.com

Addressing Underlying Issues

To manage your anger effectively, one critical thing to do is to address underlying psychological issues. It’s especially imperative if your situation is intertwined with recovery.

Anger is not a standalone emotion. Rather, it’s a surface reaction that often presents more psychological challenges, such as past trauma, anxiety, or depression. Failing to address these can make your anger harder to control.

To explore these deeper issues, you must seek the help of a professional. Therapists and counselors are trained to help you navigate such emotional landscapes, identifying the root causes of anger and creating tailored approaches.

Through therapy, you can learn coping mechanisms and strategies to deal with these underlying issues more effectively. This process helps reduce anger and, ultimately, fosters healing from the conditions that contribute to it.

Control Anger while Embracing Sobriety 

You must control your anger before it controls you, especially when recovering from addiction. Not handling your feelings well can lead to slipping back into old habits. First, figure out what makes you angry. Then, learn good ways to cope with it.

Healing also entails seeking support and setting realistic goals. Are you looking for a dependable partner to help you cross the path forward with strength and grace? Oregon Trail Recovery offers just what you need. Reach out today.