Learning How to Deal with Behavioral Signs of Anger

Published On: January 2, 2020|Categories: Mental Health|
Managing Anger and Identifying Cues

Anger as a negative connotation. It can bring up images of yelling, and fighting and provoke fear and anxiety. However, anger can also be experienced interiorly. We can bottle up the rage that is fuming inside of us. Both are common reactions to anger, but neither are healthy responses to it.

Our lived experience with anger tells us that it’s a bad thing. That it either causes emotional turmoil or wreaks havoc on others. However, anger itself is not a negative emotion. Everyone experiences anger at some point and what really matters is how we decide to act on that feeling.

Anger and addiction

When it comes to a substance use addiction, anger can be a stumbling block. It can push you over the brink and into relapse, it can devastate relationships that were barely holding together and it can leave you with an extreme sense of guilt. Learning how to approach and master anger is a tricky task to navigate, but it could be pivotal to life-long recovery.

Getting a handle on anger is something many people who struggle with addiction long to learn, whether they admit it or not. If you’re having a hard time curbing your anger and it’s interfering with recovery, this article is for you. We’ll list the cognitive signs of anger as well as the ways it shows up physically. Last, we’ll discuss the emotional signs of anger and what you can do to be in control of this powerful feeling.

Cognitive signs of anger

Cognitive signs of anger are the mental hints that build up to full-fledged exasperation. These may be harder to spot in another person, so pay attention to what someone is saying to clue you in to cognitive signs of anger.

  • An overwhelming sense that things are wrong and you need to right them
  • Feeling disrespected, cheated or fooled
  • Thoughts that become increasingly violent or irrational
  • Feeling a need for revenge or justice
  • Assuming another person’s intentions
  • Aggressive self-talk
  • Exaggerating the problem

If you recognize these thoughts in yourself or another, it’s time to take a step back and let the strong emotion fizzle out so you can respond more logically.

Physical signs of anger

There are many behavioral signs of anger that can be physically observed. These signs are often easier to spot in another, and harder to notice in yourself.

  • Increased heart rate
  • Flushed skin
  • Sweating
  • Pacing
  • Trembling
  • A clenched jaw
  • Tensed muscles
  • The onset of a headache or stomach ache if the anger is prolonged
  • Throwing things
  • Getting too close to someone
  • Clenching fists
  • Making gestures

Animations of physical signs of anger, though exaggerated, tend to ring true. If you feel like you have steam coming out of your ears, you’ll want to have a repertoire of tools to keep your emotions in check so they’re not running the show.

Emotional signs of anger

There are also emotional signs of anger that can help us uncover the root of the emotional distress. Here are some feelings that often accompany anger.

  • Embarrassment
  • Hurt
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Grief
  • Fear
  • Disappointment
  • Feeling attacked

Some emotions can elicit anger, or heighten the anger we’re already feeling. Start paying attention to the sensations that accompany anger so you can best address them.

Handling anger

If you have a hard time governing your anger, it’s not a lost cause. Taking charge of your emotions is called emotional regulation, and learning this skill is often taught in rehab. Here’s a sneak peek into the ways you’ll learn to be in command of your emotions.

  • Improve your emotional vocabulary and awareness
  • Identify the root of your emotions (triggers)
  • Address the underlying cause for anger
  • Learn coping skills for when triggers can’t be avoided
  • Build up a lifestyle that decreases your anger
  • Find social support to mature in your emotional life
  • Create a meaningful life that brings you daily positive emotion

Handling anger isn’t a process that’s learned overnight, but with the support of professional treatment, you’ll find it’s much easier to have a level-head when you have the necessary skills. Start building up tools to manage anger with the following.

  • Try mindfulness meditations
  • Doodle
  • Do high-intensity exercise
  • Go for a walk
  • Make a healthy meal
  • Read poetry
  • Call a friend
  • Stretch or do yoga
  • Write down affirmations about yourself
  • Create a pros and cons lists to a decision you have to make

There are generally two ways to deal with strong emotions. First, you can embrace the emotion head-on. You can talk about what caused the anger and find something constructive to do with it. The second method is to find something to temporarily distract you from the anger until you’ve calmed down enough to handle the issue well.

Whichever way you chose to cope in the moment is valid. Just remember, if you ignore the overwhelming emotion in the moment, you’ll still have to face it later.

Leave anger behind

If you’ve felt like you’re fighting against yourself to get sober, it’s time to leave anger behind. You can take back control of your emotions and make choices logically instead of emotionally. Professional treatment for mental health and addiction can heal your anger, too.

At Pyramid Healthcare you can find the support you need to manage your emotions with jeopardizing your sobriety. Learn how to identify behavioral signs of anger and access personalized healing today. Get started with Pyramid Healthcare now.

What is Opioid Addiction?
Harm Reduction vs. Abstinence in Substance Abuse Treatment