We all get angry, but expressing that anger too often or too aggressively can take a toll on your health and your recovery. Blowing your top put’s extreme strain on you – physically and mentally – and can even trigger a desire to return to your substance or behavior of abuse. Luckily, you can learn how to tame that temper and these tips can help.
Practice relaxation strategies. The American Psychological Association recommends these four techniques to cool down anger:
- Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut."
- Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax," "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.
- Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination.
- Perform non-strenuous, slow yoga-like exercises to relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.
Identify your triggers. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), these events may get your blood boiling:
- Waiting long at your doctor’s office
- Hearing a rumor about your relapse or recovery
- Sitting in traffic or on a crowded bus or train
- Being wrongly accused or mistreated
- A joke that pokes fun at a sensitive topic
Be more mindful. The next time you get angry or right before your anger escalates, pay attention to what happens to you – physically, behaviorally, emotionally, and cognitively, urges SAMHSA. Note the following signs:
- Your body: increased heart rate, tightness in the chest, feeling hot or flushed
- Your behavior: clenched fists, raised voice, harsh stare
- Your emotions: Fear, hurt, jealousy, disrespect
- Your thoughts: Hostile, images of aggression and revenge
Take a two-minute timeout. The gist is to give yourself time to think before you react. This could mean stopping the conversation or just leaving the situation to get some fresh air, decompress, and breathe deeply. Look at your watch or timer on your cell phone and don’t speak or take any action until at least two minutes have passed and you’ve hopefully calmed yourself down.
Anger Management for Women
At Aj’s Amethyst House, we focuses on the unique needs of women in recovery, including anxiety, depression, anger, and other emotions linked to substance use disorder. We help our female clients discover new coping strategies and guide them as they reclaim their roles as healthy, sober individuals. Call today: 855-221-1717.