By Sophie L. Kjaervik and Brad Bushman April 4, 2024

A detailed evaluation of 154 research studies exposed that typical anger management strategies like running boost stimulation and anger, while activities that lower stimulation, such as meditation and yoga, work in handling anger. This finding is considerable throughout numerous demographics and settings, stressing the requirement for evidence-based anger management methods.

Reliable anger management originates from reducing physiological stimulation with techniques like deep breathing and yoga, challenging the effectiveness of standard “steam-blowing” methods.

Some frequently advised strategies for handling anger, consisting of striking a punching bag, running, and biking, aren’t reliable at assisting individuals cool down. That’s the crucial takeaway of our brand-new evaluation of 154 research studies that took a look at how activities that increase versus reduce physiological stimulation impact anger and hostility.

Stimulation is how scientists like us explain how alert and stimulated somebody is. When you’re in a state of high physiological stimulationyou’ll have increased heart rate, high blood pressure, breathing rate and skin conductance due to sweat gland activity. Anger is an unfavorable feeling related to high physiological stimulation.

In our research study, we discovered that activities that affect arousal levels had an extensive effect on anger and hostility.

By taking part in activities that reduce arousalsuch as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, you can manage, or “deny,” your upset sensations and aggressive impulses.

Most importantly, our meta-analysis of individuals from several research studies discovered that activities that assist reduce arousal worked throughout varied settings, consisting of in the lab and in real-world scenarios, both offline and online, and in both group and private sessions.

In addition, activities that reject stimulation worked for a wide array of individuals– trainees and nonstudents, criminal culprits and nonoffenders, those with and without impairments, and for individuals of numerous genders, races, ages, and nations.

On the other hand, some activities individuals utilize to handle their anger amp up stimulation and boost anger and aggressiveness levels. Running, a popular stress-relief activity, really increased anger in the research studies we took a look at. The recurring nature of running might cause sensations of dullness and aggravation, possibly worsening anger instead of minimizing it. Alternatively, participating in ball sports and athletics classes reduced anger, potentially due to the fact that they are lively group activities that stimulate favorable feelings

Venting anger increased anger and aggressiveness. This research study assists resolve the misconception that it is great to blow off steam and “let it out” or “get it off your chest.” Avoid yelling into your pillow or pounding on a punching bagConserve your cash instead of going to a rage space to break things with baseball bats. Such activities are not restorative.

Easy and complimentary methods such as deep breathing and mindfulness work, evidence-based techniques for decreasing anger.

Why It Matters

Anger is a typical feeling with possibly harmful effects. From physical fights to roadway rage events, anger is commonly viewed as an issue and a feeling that individuals ought to attempt to control.

The majority of individuals do not have efficient methods for managing their anger. There is a fantastic requirement for recognizing reliable methods for decreasing and handling anger. Our research study reveals that activities that reduce stimulation are extremely reliable. A lot of these activities are likewise affordable or complimentary.

In a world facing the risks of unattended anger, our research study empowers individuals with evidence-based tools for efficient anger management, cultivating much healthier results and social wellness.

How We Do Our Work

Our research study in the journal Medical Psychology Review was a meta-analytic evaluationIt integrated information from 154 research studies taking a look at activities that either decline or boost stimulation and their influence on anger and aggressiveness.

The conclusions from a meta-analysis are statistically more powerful due to the fact that of the big sample– in our case, 10,186 individuals. A meta-analysis can likewise expose patterns that are less apparent in any single research study. By zooming out from a leaf, you get to see the complete tree.

Composed by:

  • Sophie L. Kjaervik– Postdoctoral Fellow at The Injury and Violence Prevention Program, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Brad Bushman– Professor of Communication, The Ohio State University

Adjusted from a short article initially released in The Conversation

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