Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Keeping Anger at Bay

Getting a handle on your emotions is hard for everyone — and you likely know that it’s even more difficult when you’re also trying to recover from alcohol or drug abuse. For example, if left unrecognized and/or uncontrolled, anger can hold you back from moving ahead in recovery. 

For one, it can lead to relapse. Uncontrolled anger can also jeopardize your relationships as well as your physical and mental health. Headaches, insomnia and digestive issues have all been linked to pent-up anger. This is especially worrisome, when you consider the fact that a substance use disorder can cause these issues as well.

While you never want to avoid or suppress anger, you do want to make sure it’s not controlling you and your actions. These tips can help.
  • Keep a log. This can help you identify your anger triggers and make you more aware of how you think, feel and act in angry situations. For example: What are the signs that you are becoming angry? Do you rattle your words off in rapid-fire or become exceedingly sarcastic? What causes you to become angry? Who were you with? Were you lonely, stressed, exhausted, hungry or scared? 
  • Postpone your anger. The next time you find yourself becoming angry, count to 10 or to 20 or to 30 before you speak or take action. Allowing some time to pass will help you calm down so you can act rationally rather than emotionally. 
  • Try relaxation techniques. This can include deep breathing, listening to soothing music, taking a hot bath, meditation – whatever helps you calm the physical sensations (increased heart rate, tightness in the chest, feeling hot or flushed, etc.) associated with anger.
  • Find a healthy distraction. The idea is to prevent your thoughts from feeding your anger, and this could be as simple as thinking about something that makes you happy or relaxed. 
  • Do something incompatible with anger. By embracing a loved one or petting your dog, you can displace anger with more positive feelings. 
  • Watch for signs of depression. Anger is often a sign that you're hurting inside. In fact, many experts define depression as “anger turned inward.” Many co-occurring mental conditions, including depression and anxiety, can certainly cause unhealthy levels of anger. In these cases, it’s essential to address the root of the anger problem along with the anger itself.
Anger Management for Women 
At Rising Roads, we focus on the unique needs of women in recovery. We help our female clients discover new coping strategies to manage (not run from) their emotions, so they can continue to heal and reclaim healthy, sober lives. To learn more, call today: 866-746-1558. 

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