Exercise is A Powerful Defense Against Anger & Addiction

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One key to overcoming addiction is addressing its underlying causes, which can include frequent or uncontrolled bursts of anger. In fact, many studies show that anger itself is addictive, according to Psychology Today. A body and mind primed for rage is at prime risk for developing a substance abuse disorder. Here’s how one problem leads to the other:


  • Unmanaged anger causes a host of problems, including high blood pressure, social isolation, and anxiety or depression. Alternately, rage can stem from pre-existing issues like these but also make them worse.
  • The sufferer turns to drugs or alcohol as a way to escape these woes, becoming addicted over time. But the abused substance never offers more than short-term effects. The addict finds herself having to use more and more of the compound.
  • The loss of control that comes with addiction stokes the fires of anger within the person while eroding her ability to manage her emotions. This creates a sinister form of reinforcement in which anger fuels addiction and vice-versa, till together the problems spiral out of control.


While this may sound rather bleak, there is hope for those who seek recovery. Exercise is a potent tool for addressing both anger and substance addiction. Here’s why:


  • Research reveals that exercise acts like an emotional relief valve, according to the New York Times. People who work out remain calmer and more lucid when exposed to upsetting stimuli than those who forego exercise.
  • Calmness and lucidity counter the effects of uncontrolled emotions. This deprives the addiction of the raw fuel it uses to keep the person enslaved to negative thought and behavior patterns. The addict begins to recover from her self-destructive urges.
  • Exercise fosters long-term recovery by planting the seeds of confidence and self-esteem. This creates a positive trend that counteracts the vicious cycle caused by anger and addiction. The addict now has psychological forces working in her favor, giving her a real opportunity for a life of healthy sobriety. In other words, exercise gives her a fighting chance.


Whenever someone mentions the topic of fitness, one questions that pops up, “what kind of exercises should I do?” Here’s a look at three options with proven benefits:


  1. Resistance training. This type of workout strengthens your muscles by pitting them against an opposing force, like an iron barbell, elastic band, or simple gravity. If you’re unsure how to start, then a regimen of pushups, situps, and squats offers solid gains with no out-of-pocket costs.
  2. Aerobics. The idea with this approach is to get your heart pumping and your blood rushing. Walking is a perfect beginning exercise that will strengthen your entire body. You can also choose running, classic calisthenics like jumping jacks, or more advanced options like cardio kickboxing.
  3. Tai Chi. This form of fitness training has ancient roots but offers modern results. It aids flexibility, focuses the mind, and can provide a means of self defense.  Tai Chi is a great place to start if you’re a raw beginner. You can use it to build a solid foundation of better health that will enable you to engage in more challenging exercises over time.


It’s vital to make sure your body can handle the demands of increased physical activity before you commence a fitness regimen. So always consult your healthcare professional first. Follow her advice and stick within your limits.


Getting fit, just like overcoming addiction and managing anger, is a one-day-at-a-time process. The efforts you put forth will more than pay for themselves with increased energy, higher self-esteem, and prolonged recovery from substance abuse. So give it your best, and remember to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Article by Constance Ray