Managing your anger may be difficult. You may “fly off the handle” at daily stressors in life. You may experience “road rage” and find yourself starting fights while driving. When in recovery from addictions, you may have come to a realization that you have difficulty managing anger. You might have turned to substances or alcohol as a way of calming down or pushing anger away. While anger management can be a complex process that may take time and self-exploration, there is one simple technique that you can start today: use your non-dominant hand for simple daily tasks. This technique will not cure your anger problem, however, this is a simple activity that can help you get started to enhance your anger management.
Using Your Non-Dominant Hand for Simple Tasks
Which hand do you most frequently use for everyday tasks, like opening doors or using your phone? You most likely use your writing hand for nearly every task without even thinking about it. Your writing hand is often your dominant hand and the preferred hand that you use for almost everything. You likely have never thought of this or realized this. The action is automatic and your dominant hand will be the first to “leap out” when you need something. Automatic and involuntary responses help you get through your day with ease. These actions are reflexive and involve no thought or “work” from you. You simply “do things” like reaching for a glass of water, buckling your belt, or teaching with your dominant hand.
Begin using your non-dominant hand for these simple everyday activities. Not for complex tasks, like writing or working, but for the things you do that seem mundane. Before doing anything, like opening a door or dialing a number on the phone, notice which hand automatically responds and then switches for the other hand. That’s the entire technique–just switch hands for everyday, boring activities. How can this help you manage your anger?
Learning Self-Control and Managing Micro-Frustrations
When you use your non-dominant hand for everyday tasks, you need to do a few things. First, you need to utilize self-control to consider your automatic reactions to make a change. When you have a difficult time controlling your anger, you may be automatically responding with little self-control. You may have learned to react to things in your environment that trigger feelings of anger or frustration without thinking about your reaction. Have you ever felt this way? Maybe someone cut you off driving to work and you “flip them the bird.” Maybe your child spilled their milk on the floor and you yell at them for a simple mistake. Managing anger and learning self-control are similar. When you have to stop and think about your automatic reaction to which hand you are using, you are learning about the conscious interruption involved in self-control.
Second, when you use your non-dominant hand, you will likely not be very good at simple tasks. How frustrating is this? Who knew that using your non-dominant hand to eat or pour laundry soap would be so difficult? The point of this technique is to allow you to experience frustrations at nonconsequential tasks. These tasks will make you feel frustrated, however they will likely not result in any negative consequences if you cannot complete them perfectly or timely. You will experience a small, manageable “micro”-frustration that you can get through. When you purposely expose yourself to these micro-frustrations throughout the day, you can build your frustration tolerance. Having a low tolerance for frustration may be contributing to your anger management issues. When you have a low frustration tolerance, the slightest problem or challenge may set you off. When you experience multiple frustrations on a daily basis, you begin to learn to tolerate frustrations. You learn to live with frustration and experience the challenge to finish the task. Once you begin to understand that feeling frustrated will go away once you calmly resolve the issue at hand, you can begin to apply this lesson to the bigger triggers in your life.
Managing anger can be a long process with therapy, support groups, or other activities that can help you remain calm when facing challenges. Overreacting to frustration may be contributing to your anger issues. Learning to deal with “micro-frustrations” can help you build a tolerance for feelings of frustration, which can help you manage anger when facing bigger issues in life. By consciously redirecting your dominant hand away from everyday tasks, you can learn how to interject your automatic reactions and gain skills at self-control. Try utilizing this technique of switching your dominant hand with your non-dominant hand to help you learn the basics of anger management!
Managing frustrations and anger can be difficult for many people. We have to interrupt seemingly automatic reactions to environmental triggers, which may set us off. Anger management can be a long process and, if you have a past history of dealing with anger by using alcohol or other substances, you may need to learn healthy ways of coping with your anger. Anger is a natural feeling that we all experience. Feeling angry is not the issue, however, our reactions to anger might be problematic. If you are quick to react to anger or frustration, using your non-dominant hand to complete mundane tasks can help you learn self-control and how to handle “micro-frustrations.” Recovery can be a complex process of learning to master skill deficits you may have neglected during your addictions. Everlast Recovery Centers can help you learn new coping skills with our psycho-educational groups. Call us today at 866-DETOX-25.