You are bad?  It's better to give up running

Anger is a negative feeling that most people want to get rid of as quickly as possible. This can be done in two main ways: The first is to practice activities that increase physical stimulation, such as running, cycling, or going to the gym. The second option is just the opposite, and involves doing activities that reduce our arousal, such as breathing exercises, meditation, and even prayer.

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Scientists from Ohio State University (OSU) analyzed it 154 studies involving more than 10,000 participants found that what really works to reduce anger is reducing physiological arousal — in other words: reducing heat. Activities that generally increased arousal had no effect on anger, and some activities made it worse — especially running.

Professor Brad Bushman from Ohio State University says:

I think it's really important to dispel the myth that if you're angry, you should vent and express your anger. Venting may seem like a good idea, but there is no scientific evidence to support the theory of catharsis.

Running is not a good way to deal with anger

In psychoanalytic theory, “catharsis” is the release of repressed emotions such as anger, frustration, or sadness through verbal and physical expressions. It comes from the Greek word meaning “purification” and has been around since the time of Aristotle, although Sigmund Freud favored it as a therapeutic technique used to eliminate the paralyzing effects associated with negative and traumatic memories.

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The meta-analytic review was based on 154 studies including 10,189 participants across gender, ethnicity, age, and culture. The selection and analysis of studies were guided by the Schachter-Singer two-factor theory, which posits that all emotions, including anger, consist of physiological arousal and mental meanings. To get rid of anger, you can work on both.

Some previous analyzes have focused on using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to change a person's mental meanings. However, in the current study, the researchers felt that focusing on arousal instead would fill a gap in understanding how to effectively deal with anger. The researchers were inspired in part by the rising popularity of “rage rooms,” where people break objects like glass, dishes and electronics to cope with feelings of anger.

Anger is best relieved through activities that lower body temperature. Unsplash

The researchers found that arousal reduction activities were effective in reducing anger levels in laboratories and the field, using digital platforms or face-to-face teaching, in groups and in one-on-one situations across multiple populations: students, non-students, and people with and without ASD. Criminal history, persons with and without intellectual disability.

Dr. Sophie Kjarvik, second author of the study published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review Add:

It was really interesting to see that progressive muscle relaxation and relaxation in general can be as effective as methods like mindfulness and meditation. Yoga, although it can be more motivating than meditation, is still a way to calm down and focus on breathing, which has a similar effect in reducing anger. Of course, in today's society we all deal with a lot of stress and need ways to deal with it. Showing that the same strategies that work to cope with stress actually work for anger is helpful.

Activities that increased arousal were generally ineffective in reducing anger. In particular, jogging increased anger, while physical education and ball sports had the effect of reducing arousal. The researchers suggested that this was because the latter provided an element of fun that could counteract negative emotions.

Professor Brad Bushman of Ohio State University sums up:

Some physical exercises that increase arousal may be good for your heart, but they are certainly not the best way to reduce anger. It's really a battle because angry people want to vent, but our research shows that every good feeling we vent actually makes the aggression stronger.

Many anger reduction methods are free and readily available. You don't have to make an appointment with a therapist to deal with your anger.

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