Managing anger is an important aspect of recovery, and it is an issue many recovering people struggle with on a daily basis. Working the 12-Step process helps to alleviate some of the problems associated with anger because it gets to the root of resentments. However, many recovering people are looking for quick and easy ways to deal with their anger in the meantime.
Here are just a few healthy ways to manage your anger. Following these simple suggestions will help relieve some of the uncomfortable consequences you may be experiencing because of anger.
1. Pay attention to what angers you.
When you know what sets you off, you can try and avoid situations that might encourage anger. If a certain relative pushes your buttons until you lose your cool, stay away from him or her for awhile –if possible. If you know watching the news makes your blood boil, don’t watch it! If you have road rage issues, raise your level of awareness when driving and work toward improvement.
2. Get to know your own internal cues.
Become aware of physical indications of your anger. Does your blood pressure rise? Do you clench your jaw? Anger is not only felt in the mind and emotions, it is also felt in the physical body. Learn to recognize the alarm bells when they start to sound in your mind and body and you will be better able leave situations before they escalate.
3. Close your eyes and count to 20.
If 20 seems too far away, 10 will work! This isn’t child’s play from your childhood days of hide-n-seek. When you become aware of that your anger is escalating, take a few moments to breathe deeply and slowly and intentionally count to 10. Slowing down can calm your temper and allow you to gain a moment of clarity before reacting.
4. Take a time out
This might sound cliché, but it is absolutely true. When you find yourself in a situation that is causing you to be annoyed, aggravated, agitated or irritated, give yourself permission leave immediately! Talk a walk. Take a drive. Go to the bathroom and splash some water on your face. Call your sponsor. Do something that will take you away from the situation until you are better able to deal with it.
5. Practice deep-breathing exercises
Yoga, guided meditation CDs and chanting are all ways to enhance an inner sense of peace, which will translate to situations that anger you. Physical exercise is also recommended because it provides a safe and healthy way to work through aggression. Plus, working out releases the “feel-good” chemicals in your brain, which make you a generally happier person in your day-to-day life. When your spiritual center is aligned with a general sense of well-being, you will be less likely to become angered.
Understanding what makes you tick is a crucial part of recovery. That is really what the 12-Steps is all about. This is especially true about your reactions to life, people and situations. Understanding what angers you and finding constructive ways to deal with that anger will help you in your recovery journey.