Anger Management Skills & Challenges
by R. Mohansundar
(Salem, Tamilnadu, India)
Angry feelings are one of the greatest challenges for recovering alcoholics and addicts. Relapse is often related to the inability to constructively handle anger. Mismanaged anger poses a threat to recovery for the newcomer and the old-timer. Sometimes the greatest threat is to relationships. In this article, we're going to identify anger signs, identify the causes, decide how to react, and also learn how to prevent and prepare for situations rather than get angry about them.
Identifying and Dealing with Anger
Identify Your 13 Anger Signs:
* Head, stomach and back aches
* Rapid speech
* Yelling and screaming
* Sarcasm or cynicism
* Denial or rationalization about your behavior
* Revenge fantasies
* Thoughts about drinking or using drugs
* Arguing with others
* Becoming silent or withholding
* Avoiding Others
* Becoming Violent
* Compulsive eating, spending, cleaning, or sex
Recognize Angry Feelings:
* How does your anger show?
* Do you deny your anger and hide it?
* Do you acknowledge your anger and deal with it constructively?
Identify the Cause:
* What is the situation?
* Who is involved?
* Is this the first time, or is this a pattern?
* What other feelings are you experiencing?
* Are you too stressed? Tired? Hungry? Lonely? Scared?
Decide How to React:
* Reason with your angry self-talk.
* Change thoughts. From: "I'm angry at you because you..." To: "It's unfortunate this happened, but it's not worth the price I pay."
* Do physical activity. Engage in exercise that involves large muscle groups, like arms and legs to release pent-up energy that can fuel anger. Walk, jog swim, dance.
* Engage in physically demanding work. Chop wood. Clean the yard, garage, attic. Build something.
* Talk directly the person involved.
o Use a calm and assertive voice tone.
o Practice listening.
o Don't interrupt. Be as polite as you would be to someone you didn't love.
o If you're too angry, practice first with a third party. Talk to a friend, a relative, a therapist, or a religious leader. Use the internet to find discussion communities. Several communities online have members who will help you think through a situation and what you can say. Find communities that are well moderated by reading posts from other people before you join. Pick a community that is supportive and respectful, and which protects your identity by asking you to participate with another name, such as the one in this SelfhelpMagazine.
* Avoid behavior that will make the situation worse:
o Artificial stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine. Remember that decongestants and stimulant drinks such as Red Bull can also give you a surge of energy that can be easily misplaced when angry
o Ranting and raving. Unlike conventional wisdom dictates, it is often best NOT to say whatever is on your mind. While it is important to express yourself, taking the time to find respectful yet honest statements to represent your feelings.
o Name-calling. This is simply childish and the result is likely to only be destructive.
o Compulsive behavior with food, money or sex.
o Stomping out the door. If you need to leave, excuse yourself without blaming the other person, with statements such as "Please excuse me. I am afraid I will say something that I can regret later." Tell the other person when you will return, such as, "I'll go take a walk to calm myself down and we can talk when I come back in an hour, ok?" Be sure to get a response, and speak in a civil tone, or you may well return to someone is closed to you advances.
Prevention and Preparation:
* Meditation can help balance the nervous system, and contribute to less stressful anger management.
* Daily attention to diet and exercise will improve focus and concentration.
* Keep a log of your anger work, including triggers, behavior and future planning.
* Chart your progress and be generous with self-praise when you change your behavior.
Only you can decide on the best method to use at this time to handle your anger. Of the alternatives your have, which seem the best? What are the possible outcomes if you try a particular alternative? What will you do if this alternative doesn't work? Write in a journal. Discuss it with a friend or sponsor. Bring it to your recovery or therapy group. Seek professional help when needed. And remember, anger is NOT bad. It is a normal and healthy human response!Response from Dr. DeFoore
Great job! Your article is very thorough and comprehensive, and will help a lot of people. Thanks for your contribution!
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