7 Easy Techniques for Dealing with Anger and Stress

Managing anger is something that most inpatient and outpatient rehab clients are going to need help with.  Managing anger is something we could all use help with now and again.  Most commonly, anger is dealt with in two ways – repressively and aggressively.  Some people cannot deal with anger so they push it aside and ignore it, while others deal with it immediately many times with immediate disrespect or violence.  By offering trainings in anger management, inpatient and outpatient rehab clients are being equipped with the coping skills necessary to deal with anger in a healthy way.  Here are some of the techniques that are being learned by recovering addicts everywhere.

1. Take Deep Breaths

This may seem rather simple, but taking deep breaths lowers the heart rate and tells the body that it is calm and relaxed.  By taking slow and calculated deep breaths where you focus more on the exhale than the inhale, you are forcing your mind back to the logical from the emotional.  Counting during breathing can help you to stay focused.  First, try to make your exhales and inhales the same counts.  Then, try to make your exhales one count longer than your inhales.  Then try for two counts longer.  This technique is about focusing your energy on something other than your anger.

2. Walk Away

Teaching a client to take him or herself out of a stressful environment, may be the most helpful thing to teach.  If you remove yourself from a stressful situation by taking a short walk or simply leaving the room to get some air, you may return with a better understanding of how to approach a problem or how to address the situation.  Taking a walk can be a great lead into the next way of dealing with some of your anger and stress issues.

3. Get a Little Exercise

Exercise reduces stress and often helps people think. Exercise gives the rest of the body something to do while the mind focuses on dealing with the situation at hand.  Since endorphins released during exercise tend to make people happier, it might be easier to deal with an anger issue after exercise.  Getting some exercise is also great for your body.  There is nothing better you can do for your overall health than move around.

4. Count to 10

Again, this technique is rather simple, but it gives you a chance to think the situation through without reacting immediately and causing further damage.  Counting to ten and focusing on processing the situation may make the immediate anger dissipate and a more useful solution present itself.  Counting to 10 gives you a chance take a moment before you say something in anger or stress that you are going to regret.

5. Use “I” Statements

When you are ready to deal with a situation, use of “I” statements rather than “you” statements.  Using “I” statements such as “I feel…”, “I will…”, and “I am…” puts the focus of the conversation on how you are feeling and on the solution rather than making it feel accusatory.  Statements like “You are…” or “You did…” are placing blame and setting the situation up for failure.  Be respectful and specific.

6. Do Not Hold a Grudge

Forgiveness is a very powerful tool.  If you allow your anger and your stress to crowd out your positive feelings, you may find that eventually you end up feeling bitter and unhappy all the time.  Making an effort to forgive someone who has made you angry could be a lesson for both of you.  It is not realistic to believe that everyone is going to behave in ways that you think they should all the time.  So be the bigger person and recognize if the difficulty is something you can deal with internally.

7. Know When to Ask for Help

If you are trying some of these techniques on your own and you do not feel like you are getting very far, you may want to ask for some help.  Take your anger and stress issues to your therapist or your treatment team.  They may have some suggestions for you about what you can do to tame some of your biggest issues.