5 Healthy Ways To Cope With Anger Or Frustration
Many people in recovery have trouble regulating their emotions. After all, we live in a world that has a lot of natural ups and downs. As a result, life can be upsetting, frustrating and leave you feeling like you can’t cope. But those are just feelings! In recovery, you learn to live with your feelings and healthily express them.
Anger is a normal human emotion. You’re allowed to feel it. What you don’t have a right to do is hurt others because you feel angry. You don’t have a right to drive aggressively or mistreat your spouse.
If you’re angry, you don’t have to act out in anger.
5 Ways to Cope With Anger
Instead of freaking out when you’re angry, give yourself a minute. Coping skills don’t just naturally appear overnight; they must be practiced. By stepping away from a situation when you’re angry, you give yourself time to react.
Take a deep breath, then try one of the following:
- Go for a walk and practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that can help calm anxiety, relax stress, and put you in a better mood. Youtube has a lot of videos you can check out or check your phone’s app store.
- Take a quick jog or bike. Getting moving can help calm your anger and fill your brain and body with the feel-good hormone, endorphins.
- Vent in a journal. If you don’t like to write, draw your feelings. These are private thoughts you don’t have to share with anyone. But once you’ve vented your emotions on paper, make a vow to leave them there for the rest of the day.
- If you’re in an argument, ask the other person to give you time to cool off. Then, sit down with your sponsor and plan what you’re going to say. Remember that each of you has the right to your own feelings. Try to look for solutions to the problem, not get “revenge.”
- Accept that sometimes you’re going to be angry. Sometimes life isn’t fair. Working on acceptance is a part of recovery; not everything will go your way all of the time. Talk to your sponsor about acceptance. Learn and practice the serenity prayer. And if things get complicated, take yourself to a 12-step meeting. There are plenty of people to reach out to and learn from there!
Consider Sober Housing
If you or somebody you love are looking for structured, compassionate aftercare, we’re here to help. Our community offers independence as well as structured therapy. Learn more about what we have to offer by calling us at 760-216-2077.
Everyone gets angry from time-to-time. There is nothing wrong with feeling and expressing anger. However, many people in recovery have trouble recognizing anger and expressing it appropriately.
Anger in Early Recovery
Newcomers to recovery often describe their emotions as raw and intense. If this sounds like you, it gets better. This too shall pass. Much of the intensity of your emotions in early recovery has to do with getting sober. Your body is re-balancing chemicals after a time you were using substances constantly. You’re also not used to feelings. Addiction helped you drown a lot of your negative feelings out.
After a few months sober, you’ll start to see the world differently. The effects of the substances you were ingesting will basically be wearing off. You may find you’re no longer so angry or moody in general.
After you’ve gotten a little sober time under your belt, your emotions will start to stabilize. But some people have trouble managing their anger. Do you blow up easily? Are you constantly feeling frustrated? Have you hit or punched things or threatened people when you were angry?
Are You an “Angry Person? How to Change
If this sounds like you, then you probably need some help with anger management. Lots of people have trouble expressing their anger in a healthy way. Luckily, there are tools available to help you vent successfully:
- Recognize what anger feels like for you. Does your pulse race? Do you feel yourself getting hot? Practice recognizing these symptoms so that you can have a plan to interrupt the anger cycle.
- Practice “defusing” when you’re angry. When you feel yourself snowballing into anger, give yourself five minutes to cool off. That may mean going for a quick box or shadowboxing in another room. It could also mean spending ten minutes or so meditating in a quiet place. Learn what tools help you feel less angry.
- Learn to use nonviolent communication. When you’re upset, don’t blame the other person. Focus on your feelings and use “I” when you’re speaking. For example, “I get scared when you don’t text me back. I sometimes think you’re dead!” is something you may say to your kid. Don’t blame. Instead, search for solutions that will keep you from getting upset in the future.
- Anger is healthy. But don’t let it take over your life or ruin your day. Let yourself be angry for a few minutes. Figure out a healthy way to express that anger. Then let yourself put it aside for later.
If you’re having trouble expressing your anger, ask for tips from your support network, sponsor, or therapist. There are a lot of different ways people cope with their anger. Just make sure you do no harm with your new coping method. (Smashing up somebody’s car is not a way to manage your feelings, for example!)
Consider Sober Living
Sober living is an opportunity to live in a small, peaceful community of others who share the same goals and values. Start your journey in recovery in a structured environment that helps you stay grounded. Call us for more information at 760-216-2077.
Are you angry a lot of the time? Many people learn to react angrily to life on life’s terms because they haven’t developed alternative coping skills. Some people blame others for their anger and avoid taking control of it and learning how to cope with it. It can be a toxic emotion if you haven’t learned how to deal with it. Being always angry is also a symptom of depression. It’s hard to have the right attitude in recovery when everything in your head is negative.
If the above description reminds you of yourself, it’s time to shift your attitude. Just like anyone, you can change your attitude and learn to let go of anger.
Owning Your Anger in Recovery
Owning your anger is an important part of coping. It’s okay to feel your feelings, but you don’t have to act angry when you feel mad. “They make me angry” is something a lot of people tell themselves. Not everyone is a mind reader, and not everyone lives to do your bidding! If you’re angry, it’s because there’s some hurt inside of you.
You may be angry because your feelings were hurt, or because a situation reminds you of something in life that has happened before. Either way, the anger is yours and yours alone. Blaming others for your emotions isn’t healthy. Think about why you feel angry – what triggered you? Did you have a bad day? Were you frustrated because you were stuck in traffic? Did you feel embarrassed about something?
There is always emotion behind your anger, and much of the time, it’s something deep inside of you that you haven’t ever examined before.
Things to Do If You’re Angry
Instead of telling somebody off, flying into a rage, or punching a wall, take ten minutes when you’re angry. Here are a few things to try next time you’re mad:
- Call your sponsor.
- Go for a 15-minute walk.
- Go for a swim.
- Write in a journal.
- Listen to your favorite music.
- Read a book.
- Take a long shower.
- Share at a meeting.
- Make art.
- Share your feelings with a friend.
- Write a letter to the person you’re angry with. (DO NOT send it.)
- Binge watch your favorite show on Netflix.
- Cook dinner for everyone.
- Take the dog for a long walk.
- Jump rope.
- Say the serenity prayer.
- Hand wash the dishes.
- Clean the house.
- Mow the lawn.
As you can see, there are a lot of easy ways to get “out of” your angry head and begin to cool off. When you’re less inflamed, you can start to examine the reasons for your anger and a better way to approach your anger next time you’re feeling it.
Remember that recovery is about progress, not perfection. It’s the little things that help you build new patterns and make changes. Try to let go of your anger one day at a time.
Considering Sober Housing?
Recovery is a process, and many people like the idea of transitioning to the “real world” after treatment. Living with other people who have the same goals, in a safe and hopeful environment, can help you stay focused on yourself and your recovery. Learn more about your options by calling us at 760-216-2077.