If you are unable to control your anger, it can become a source of suffering for you as well as the people around you. It does not matter if your anger outbursts only happen rarely, the fact that it is happening at all indicates you have a problem that needs to be solved. This is particularly crucial work if your episodes of anger involve shouting, being verbally abusive, throwing things, banging things, or behaving aggressively.
The Danger of Anger Outbursts in Recovery
Becoming angry over things is a normal part of life, and it is possible to use this emotion constructively. If you have been treated unfairly, you may be able to get your situation noticed through controlled use of anger. The problem is that if you experience an anger outburst whereby you lose control. This type of event can mean you are a danger to yourself as well as those around you. It also means that your sobriety is at risk because drinking or using drugs again due to anger is all too common.
If there are children around when you have your anger outbursts, it will be causing them harm. It can be incredibly traumatic for kids to have to witness this type of uncontrolled behaviour. In fact, it is often children who grow up in this type of environment that go on to behave similarly as the angry adult. Anger outbursts can be considered a form of abuse when kids are around, so it is critical to stop these from happening in the future.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can refer to a formal meditation practice or just the act of being more aware of what is happening in your mind and body. It is a special type of attention that you will have already experienced many times in the past. The two most important factors of this type of focus are that it is only concerned with the present moment and it is objective in nature. So for example, this means that you are able to focus on the thoughts that are appearing in your mind right now almost like an outsider looking in; you watch these as if there were just clouds passing through the sky rather than your thoughts.
How Mindfulness Can Help with Anger Outbursts
Mindfulness makes it possible for you to observe thoughts and emotions without being caught up too much by them. Trying to ignore anger or bury it does not usually work; in fact, it is often this habit that leads to anger outbursts. This is why you may explode over something trivial when the real problem is that your anger has been building up over a long period, reaching a critical point whereby you can no longer contain it. Mindfulness is not about trying to suppress or ignore any emotion; it is about observing without judgement and reaction.
If you feel yourself becoming angry, there will be sensations in your body, usually around your stomach and chest. There are also going to be thoughts arising in your mind that are adding further fuel to the fire (for example, ‘this is so unfair’). Mindfulness means you can bring your attention to these sensations and observe them without losing control. It gives you the ability to take a step back instead of just being swept away by the emotion. Instead of losing your temper, you have the ability to take action to calm yourself such as taking deep breaths. As your ability to be mindful improves, you will get much better at nipping anger in the bud.
Uncontrolled Anger Outbursts
If your anger outbursts are out of control and these are putting yourself or others in danger, you are going to need professional help. This is not something that you can allow to continue because it could mean you do something later that is going to cause a lot of pain. Therapy can be very effective at getting to the root of this type of anger and there are strategies available to help you regain control.