5 Healthy Ways To Cope With Anger Or Frustration

young man thinking about anger

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. 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.

For people in recovery, coping skills can be a significant challenge. Unfortunately, when you were in active addiction, these skills may have been in short supply.

After all, when you were sad, you probably got high or drunk. When you were angry, you probably got high or drunk. When you felt lonely, happy, confused, or lost…you probably got high or drunk, if it was an option. When you get sober, you learn that you don’t have the best coping skills. Discovering new ones will be a lifelong process. But there are some you can try on for size right away. So what are some good ones to practice?

New Coping Skills To Try On For Size

Not every coping skill works for every emotion. Here are some ones to try on for size. If they don’t work for you, you can always try another one, instead. Keep what you need and leave the rest.

  • When you’re angry: Go for a walk or a jog. If you don’t like that type of exercise, choose something like bicycling, surfing, or shadowboxing. Exercise can release calming hormones that also provide a mood boost.
  • When you’re sad: Permit yourself to cry. Then, listen to sad music for 10 minutes, and let it all out. Or, pick up the phone and call somebody in your recovery network to talk it out.
  • When you’re lonely: Send somebody a text message or get yourself to a 12-step meeting, pronto. People are the cure for loneliness. Yes, you can feel lonely in a room full of people. But, if you share that pain, it often is lessened.
  • When you’re happy/excited/proud: Believe it or not, your coping skills for celebrating may not be the best! Many people use good news as a reason to use substances. Instead, make a date with a friend or your sponsor to go out for ice cream. Share your good news with friends in recovery. Happiness multiplies when it’s shared.
  • When you feel like getting high/drunk: Call somebody who doesn’t, and make arrangements to get to a 12-step meeting. Share about how you feel, don’t hold it inside. The feeling will pass, but keeping it secret can be dangerous to your mental health.

Consider Sober Living

Are you or somebody you love interested in a living situation that offers structure and aftercare? Sober living may be the right decision for you. Learn more about your options by calling us at 760-216-2077.

Once you’ve been in sobriety a while, life becomes more interesting. When you were drinking and drugging, you probably had goals that you thought about. But as addiction takes over, goals and relationships go by the wayside. It’s hard to remember your sense of purpose when you’re using drugs or alcohol. But once you’re sober, you’re probably already thinking of the new possibilities in life. Setting goals is a part of your new life. Using to-do lists can help you stay organized on a daily basis.

Getting Started with Your List

Many planners and organizers online offer to-do list pages. There are many ways that people in recovery learn to chart their progress and set goals. A list of things you want to accomplish every day can help you set aside specific times to work on things.

How many goals do you have right now? Pick up to five to start out with. List them on a piece of paper.  For each of your goals, there are steps to achievement. This is how you can begin to pursue them.

How to Create a List that Makes Sense

For example, if you want to go back to college next year, what are the steps that you would need to take? Break it down into easy steps, such as:

  1. For one thing, you’ll need to choose a school.
  2. You’ll need to apply and wait to be accepted.
  3. You probably need to get your high school or college transcripts and send them to the schools of your choice.
  4. You’ll need to figure out how to pay for school.
  5. You’ll need to decide what semester you’ll go back.
  6. Finally, you’ll choose your classes and take them.

For each of these goals, you can write a new to-do list to accomplish it. Once you’ve done this, you can break each goal into small tasks that move you forward.

Consider Sober Living

Many people who have completed treatment feel like they need more time to focus on their recovery. Sober housing, in a safe and serene environment, can help you learn more about what you want out of recovery. Learn more about how sober housing can help you learn more about life in recovery by calling us at 760-216-2077.

The holidays can be stressful for people in and out of recovery. Getting together with family can sometimes cause anxiety for newly sober people. There are a lot of potential triggers to deal with if it’s your first holiday in recovery. You may be seeing family or missing family. There will always be feelings to cope with.

Here are some ways to cope this holiday season:

  1. Reclaim your time. You don’t have to go to a family get-together all night. Stay for a few hours, and then give yourself time to do something for yourself. You’re not obligated to stay at any event until the end. Being in control of your own time is an excellent skill to practice.
  2. Plan to go to a 12-step meeting. There are often events for Christmas and New Year planned strategically to help people out who are struggling. Many cities with 12-step meetings will host “marathons” that have meetings back-to-back for 24 hours.
  3. Make a deal with your sober friends to check in with each other. If you’re feeling worried about triggers or emotions, let other people know ahead of time. Let sober friends you want them to check in on you, too. Texting at certain times and venting can help do wonders. You can also get advice if you’re feeling anxiety or anger. Make your network into a tight-knit group over the holidays.
  4. Speak with event hosts ahead of time to let them know you’re sober. If you expect there will be drinking or drug use at the party, ask them directly to keep alcohol away from the other drinks. Bring a two-liter of your favorite non-alcoholic beverage.
  5. Plan daily self-care. This may mean getting up earlier to meditate or go for a jog. Do what helps you feel safe and calm.
  6. Journal when you’re feeling angry or hurt. Holiday seasons, especially for people relatively new to sobriety, can bring up intense feelings. It’s not wise to get into heated discussions when attending family events. If something comes up, find a quiet spot to journal it out.
  7. Agree to disagree or speak later if sensitive discussions come up. You’re not the only one who may feel emotions this holiday season. If things get uncomfortable or intense during a discussion, ask the other party if the conversation can wait.

Staying sober during the holidays is essential. You’re not alone this holiday season. Reach out and go to meetings if you’re feeling lonely, angry, or scared. Many people have a tough time during the holiday months. You can get through it with the help of your support network and peers in recovery.

Sober Living is a Safe Place

Many people discover that they're not ready to confront the world alone after just thirty to sixty days of treatment. Are you interested in learning more about a safe, fun sober living environment? We offer a haven for the transition to a new life full of hope, progress, and camaraderie. Learn more about how a sober home can help you continue your journey in recovery by calling us at 760-216-2077.

 

Stress is a fact of life for so many people nowadays. It’s not limited to those in recovery. However, this time of year is especially stressful for people new to recovery and old-timers alike. How can you use stress in a way that helps you?

Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress happens, but avoiding it may seem impossible when you’re in its grip. For many people, feeling stressed and anxious can be a trigger for drinking or drugging. Stress is no reason to get high, but may not know what to do with an urgent-seeming emotion, or maybe you feel anxiety take over and have trouble taking action. Luckily there are ways to reduce the impact of stress in your life.

While you can’t eliminate stress from your life in recovery, there are ways that you can minimize it. For example, if you know that you have to do something that makes you feel stressed out, you can make plans for the aftermath.

For example, maybe you have a large family gathering that you’re planning to attend, and you’re not sure how you’ll cope with any questions. Talking to your sponsor and preparing your answers to challenging conversations can help you feel prepared. If your Aunt Sally wants to ask you about your recovery in front of people you’re not comfortable with, you can go ahead and tell her you’d love to catch up with her later. Or maybe you’re worried somebody will bring you a drink. If so, prepare to have a way of saying “no” that you’re comfortable.

Identifying your triggers and learning ways to react that are healthy is part of recovery. Nobody is perfect, and that’s true about others in your life, too. Learn to respond with empathy and kindness when possible, but don’t go out of your way to make others happy if something makes you feel uncomfortable.

Coping With Stress Through Self-Care

Self-care is a way that you can handle the stress that life throws at you. There’s no way to eliminate most types of stress that people experience, so coping skills are needed to help you get through your tough times. Many people in recovery use self-care to feel a little better.

Meditation, exercise, relaxation exercises, and even doing something as simple as reading or watching a television program all count as self-care. Take some time for yourself and do something that makes you feel better or re-rejuvenated. There are many types of self-care available, so choose what works for you and leave the rest.

Going to a 12-step meeting or calling your sponsor are essential types of self-care in recovery.

Sober Living By the Sea

Many people new to recovery benefit from living in a sober housing situation. In sober living, there are rules as well as recovery adventures. You’re surrounded by people who are sober, working their 12-step programs, and rebuilding their lives in recovery. To learn more about what our programs offer, call us at 760-216-2077.

Do you have a lot of expectations in life? Many people who struggle with addiction come up with a great list of goals they expect to reach in recovery. Some of these goals may be tangible and easy to work on and achieve. For example, learning to wake up at six in the morning is an immediate goal that you might make so you can keep on schedule. But another goal you have, such as re-establishing a relationship with a family member, may take time to achieve. For some people, these bridges are burned and won't happen any time soon. It may be hard to accept that your action doesn’t have an immediate payout. But it’s merely a fact of life – many things take time to achieve.

You didn’t become addicted in one day. Do you really believe that you can change your whole life in one day? That’s a huge expectation that you’ve placed on yourself. It’s time to learn how to give yourself a break.

Accepting Your Life As It Is

In recovery, you’re probably learning a lot about acceptance. Accepting that your life is what it is right now. You can help you learn to slow down and take one day at a time.

When you were a kid, you probably wanted Santa and all of your relatives to give you something you thought was really cool. But for whatever reason, not one person got you that toy. Maybe you got some socks and smaller, less fancy toys. You probably accepted those gifts, anyway, if you were a polite kid. After all, a gift is a gift.

Acceptance doesn’t mean that you’re settling for something less than you want. It means you’re accepting what the world has to give. This is something you can do just for the present. Acceptance can give you a lot of peace.

Working Towards Goals

Acceptance is a way to a more peaceful way of life. After a time, it will be easier to realize that you’ve done what you can, and that’s all you can do. The only thing you have control over is your actions and reactions. However, you can become more mindful of how your personal actions can affect others and treat people with kindness.

Working on goals that you’re not sure that you will achieve requires a leap of faith. But everyone in life has failures and successes. That’s how we learn and grow. In recovery, you’ll learn to accept that life isn’t perfect, and things won’t always go in your favor. But putting in the work to change yourself is still worth it because it’s bettering you. Facing challenges, living your life, and taking action help you grow.

You can’t force your mother to forgive you or your children to want to spend time with you if your relationship is damaged. Getting clean or sober for a certain amount of time doesn’t make you a perfect person. Healing takes time. Now it’s time to work on yourself and take action to become a better person. If you’re not sure what will help you achieve your goals, ask your sponsor or others who have been in similar situations.

A Day at a Time

Goals can be daunting if you try to fix them all at once. Taking life a day at a time – with daily action towards your goals – will help you keep your focus. Recovery is a journey, not a destination.

Working the steps and taking suggestions will help you make changes in your life. You’ll begin to heal your own issues, and become a better person.

Everyone in recovery has dreams and goals, but accepting your life as it is, and letting go of expectations can help you grow and live a more peaceful life. You deserve peace! So give yourself a chance and take it a day at a time.

Consider Sober Living

After treatment, transitioning to the “real world” can be stressful. Many people find that sober housing offers them the support and structure they need to stay focused on their recovery. Learn more about our inspiring living program and joining our community by calling us at 760-216-2077.

We’re all human. We all make mistakes and feel sad, angry, and lonely at times. Part of being human is the ability to handle and process a multitude of emotions. In recovery, you’re learning how to cope with these emotions as well as recognizing them. It’s hard to learn emotional regulation, but it’s a skill to think of as lifelong.

What is Emotional Regulation?

In recovery and the world of mental health, you may hear this term without really understand what it means. Counselors and therapists especially like to talk about how you can regulate emotions.

A basic definition of emotional regulation is an individual’s capacity to both experience emotions and react – or not react – to them.

Feelings are natural and healthy. Everyone has them and has to cope with them in daily life. As a person new to recovery, you may experience your feelings intensely and feel like you have to “do something about them.” The truth is that many people think this way, but reacting may not be the most excellent idea. If you’re angry, and you try to “do something about it,” you’ll probably damage a relationship, put yourself in jeopardy, and feel guilty about your reaction.

Emotion Regulation Helps You Control Your Reactions

Emotional regulation helps put you in control of your actions and reactions. While you can’t change things that other people do, you are entirely in control of your response to them. You may feel awful, but you don’t need to retaliate for your feelings, even if you think that somebody else caused them. You'll need to learn to live through your feelings without using drugs or alcohol.

Your response to emotions can be unhealthy if you don’t try to regulate your emotions. Examples of unhealthy responses include using drugs or alcohol, reacting with violence or self-harm, and lashing out at others. Some of these coping techniques may be almost automatic because you’ve used them for so long.

In recovery, breaking unhealthy patterns is essential. You’ll probably find that these types of reactions to emotions don’t even “work” anymore. Now that you’re no longer numb, when you react poorly to something that hurts or angers you, you’ll find that you don‘t feel better. You probably will feel even worse about yourself and the situation that brought you there.

Creating New Responses to Emotions

When you’re feeling anger, sadness, fear, hurt, or anxiety, there are dozens of ways you can cope with those emotions. Creating new responses may seem a steep hill to climb at first. As you continue to learn new coping skills, healthy reactions will come more naturally.

Instead of using your older coping skills (using drugs and alcohol), try something new, such as:

  • Go for a walk
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Talk to a friend or sponsor
  • Go to a 12-step meeting
  • Write in your journal
  • Watch your favorite TV show
  • Read your Big Book
  • Do your schoolwork
  • Do something fun!

Emotional regulation can take a while to get used to. Your emotional responses may be triggered more when you aren’t getting enough sleep or feel overwhelmed. Taking care of your body as well as your mind is important to helping you cope with your feelings.

Pay attention to when you feel negative emotions and take time to slow down instead of reacting immediately. It will take some work, but it will help you grow as a person. Don’t be so hard on yourself or beat yourself up. If you’re feeling lonely or down, seek out some friends or go to a 12-step meeting. You’ll be able to connect with others who understand what you’re going through.

Consider Sober Living

Have you thought about sober living? Many people in recovery find that living with others in recovery is a powerful way to start their new life. Aftercare can also help you back on your feet. We offer the highest sober living standards, structure, sober living culture, and a safe space to get back on your feet. Call us 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.

 

In recovery, you quickly learn that stress is still a part of your everyday life. Whether you’re in groups all day, working part or full-time, or returning to school, there can be little things that set you off or frustrate you. Recovery doesn’t make anyone immune to stress. In fact, you might discover you’re more sensitive to it at first. It’s normal to feel stressed or overwhelmed when you’re re-entering the world. What is important is that you learn that there are things you can do to lessen the effect of stress.

Here are five great ways to tackle daily stress:

  1. Take a break. In fact, it’s healthiest if you take 5 or 10-minute breaks throughout the day if you can. If you can take breaks at your workplace, take a short walk around the building when you can. College classes with intermissions are a chance to sit on a bench and practice deep breathing. If you’re at home and you’re stressed while paying the bills, take a breather. Water the plants outdoors or spend a few minutes sitting and soaking up the sun. Everyone needs a break now and then. Give yourself that precious time to recuperate.
  2. You don’t have to be a gym rat to benefit from exercise in many ways. Use exercise as a de-stressing tool. It's been proven to keep blood pressure low and help prevent obesity and heart disease. People who exercise often get better sleep. It’s also an excellent way to release “feel good” chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These chemicals can prevent anxiety and help you better regulate your moods. Listen to uplifting music while you’re moving.
  3. Do some household chores. Believe it or not, getting things done and making our homes more liveable is a way to de-stress that is often overlooked. For one thing, clutter and dirt in an environment can easily cause stress and depression; looking at things that need to get done is never fun! Instead of staring at a mess, choose to get it done. You’ll be happy you took the initiative, and you’ll also have worked up a sweat.
  4. Take a long, hot shower. A long, hot shower at the end of a day is a great way to relax. Imagine all of the weight of the stress is with you in that shower, and as you clean yourself, the stress goes down the drain with the dirt. Breathe deeply and take your time.
  5. Hang out with your support network. Sometimes the best way to get away from our stress is to share it. Go to a 12 step meeting, call your sponsor, or meet up with sober friends at a coffee shop. A burden shared is a burden lessened. You’ll get through this stressful period one day at a time.

 

Stress is a regular part of life, but the more you cope with it, the less it will get to you. Learning new coping skills and applying them in the "real world" is an essential aspect of recovery. Take care of yourself, and reach out when you need to.

Are you looking for more information on living in a safe, supportive, sober environment? We can help you find out more about your options. Just get in touch at 760-216-2077, and we'll be happy to discuss living choices with you.

 

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