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Anger: these activities would be effective in regulating it

  • March 20, 2024
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It is undoubtedly one of the most difficult emotions to control: anger. A sign of its bad reputation, it is, in pop culture, particularly in the Star Wars universe, one of the gateways to the dark side. If it has a bad reputation, it nonetheless remains a healthy emotion, as recalled by Current wife Monique de Kermadec, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who specified that it is about “the expression of rejection of a situation, accompanied by a desire to regain control over a relationship or an event that has become unbearable”. However, it is important to know how to master it to make it constructive.

While we might think that letting our anger explode could be liberating, researchers at Ohio State University believe that this would not allow us to free ourselves from it. The latter recommend the practice of activities that reduce arousal such as mindfulness meditation. Their results are published in the magazine Clinical Psychology Review.

Anger: meditation, breathing or yoga would help control it

To arrive at these results, the researchers conducted a meta-analysis, that is, they compiled and studied previous research work. In total, data from 150 studies involving more than 10,000 participants were scrutinized by specialists. The latter were interested in the effects of activities allowing oneself to “let off some steam” by increasing the physiological response to stress. This included the practice of at the speakers, cycling or jogging. They compared these results with the practice of an activity to reduce arousal. Among them, we note mindfulness or breathing exercises.

In their conclusions, the researchers note that “Reducing physiological arousal can actually decrease anger and aggression, whereas increasing arousal does not.” In other words, if you see red, take the time to breathe and practice a session meditation sera more effective in helping you manage your anger than hitting a punching bag.

Among the activities that would be counterproductive, researchers believe that “the jogging was the most likely to increase anger”. However, team sports helped reduce excitement. According to the researchers, “introducing an element of play into physical activity can at least increase positive emotions or counteract negative feelings”.

Anger: jogging tends to increase it

But what are the most effective activities in cases of strong anger? According to the researchers, “deep breathing, relaxation, mindfulness, meditation, slow flow yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing and taking a time out”, were the activities that showed the best results.

“It was really interesting to see that progressive muscle relaxation and just relaxation in general could be as effective as approaches like mindfulness and meditation,” notes Sophie Kjærvik who led the study. And the latter to add “and yoga, which can be more exciting than meditation and mindfulness, remains a way to calm and focus on your breathing which has the same effect in reducing anger.”

“I think it’s very important to destroy the myth that you have to vent if you’re angry,” adds Brad Bushman, professor of communications at Ohio State University, in the press release.

Sources :

  • A meta-analytic review of anger management activities that increase or decrease arousal: What fuels or douses rage? – Clinical Psychology Review
  • Breathe, don’t vent: Turning down the heat is key to managing anger – Université de l’État de l’Ohio (communiqué)
author avatar
Louis Tardy