Anger is a normal human emotion that is common to experience from time to time. However, it is also essential not to hold on to it for too long or to let it get out of control. Doing so can not only lead to mental and physical health problems but can lead to impulsivity. It may even cause an individual to say or do things they will regret later.
Some people who struggle with substance misuse also struggle with managing their anger. This anger can be directed toward people or situations. It may even be connected to the reason that they turned to substance misuse in the first place. At the end of the day, anger doesn't do anyone any good. It just keeps them stuck in place, unable to move on. This is why anger management in recovery is so important.
Understanding What Anger Management Is
Someone with good anger management isn't free from experiencing the emotion of anger from time to time. However, they are capable of knowing what to do when this emotion arises and how to calm themselves down. They may also have a plan for when they feel this way. For example, they may remove themselves from the situation or reach out to a friend. All of this is done in order to prevent oneself from doing or saying something that one may regret.
Anger management is also about perspective. For example, someone is already having a bad day, and then someone cuts them off in traffic. They may instantly get filled with rage and feel the need to take revenge on this person. This may involve them engaging in risky driving that could put themselves or other drivers on the road in danger. It could lead to a costly car accident or even legal trouble. Is all this really worth it? After all, while what the person did could be considered rude and inconsiderate, did it really hurt anyone? Looking at things through this perspective can help one calm down and realize that it's not as big of a deal as it seems to be at the moment.
It can also help to try to put oneself in the other person's shoes. It's impossible to know what strangers on the road are going through in their personal lives. What if the individual who cut that person off was going through some real challenges in life? Maybe they could have been on their way to visit a loved one in the hospital. Or they could have been late for an interview for a job that will help them provide for their children. Thinking like this can really help put everything into perspective.
Tips for Anger Management Recovery
Anger management is something that is essential to work on during treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD). Otherwise, the individual might find themselves just turning back to using alcohol or drugs the next time someone makes them mad. Luckily, there are things that can be done to strengthen one's anger management. These things can be practiced on a daily basis. Before long, an individual may feel as if they not only have more patience toward others but are able to take control of their anger before it reaches a point of becoming an issue.
One of the best things that an individual can do to strengthen their anger management is to work with a therapist. A therapist can help the individual to process their emotions and better understand why they get so angry at times. They can also provide simple techniques for calming down when one finds themself getting angry.
There are also some things that an individual can do on their own to help more effectively manage their anger. Some examples include:
#1 Counting down: Whether it's counting down from 50 or even 100, this process can help an individual cool down and provide them with the time they need to get into the right headspace before responding. This can help prevent them from doing something they may regret.
#2 Practicing breathing techniques: Taking a slow deep breath, holding it for a few seconds, and then releasing it can really help reduce anger and stress levels. It can also help lower one's heart rate. Practicing this a few times until feeling calmer can really help.
#3 Distracting oneself: Sometimes, a person may be too angry to address a situation or respond to someone. They can instead try distracting themselves by doing something they enjoy, like reading, working on artwork, or watching their favorite show. Taking this time away can allow them to cool down before dealing with the situation.
#4 Exercise: Exercise is excellent for relieving stress and getting anger out. Using a punching bag or going for a run can do wonders.
Anger is a normal, common emotion, but it can become dangerous when it goes unchecked or gets out of hand. It can lead people to say things they don't really mean and do things that they will later regret. Practicing anger management is an important part of recovery; it is essential in order to make good decisions and avoid impulsive behaviors. Working with a therapist can help strengthen one's anger management. Breathing exercises, physical exercise, and distracting oneself can also really help to cool down and put things into perspective. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today.