Study Says Venting Isn't Actually the Best Way to Reduce Anger—Here's What to Do Instead

As cathartic as it may seem, activities that relax you are said to be better anger management tools than venting about your problems to a loved one.

<p>J Studios/Getty Images</p>

J Studios/Getty Images

Venting to a loved one has often been the go-to for many people after a particularly trying day. We tend to seek out our most trusted confidants to express our frustration and offer us a sense of emotional release. However, a new study found in the Clinical Psychology Review found that venting is not actually the best way to reduce anger.

The study examined 154 other studies with over 10,000 participants, and the results showed that arousal-decreasing activities, such as meditation and breathing exercises, were more effective at managing anger than arousal-increasing activities, such as venting or even physical exercises like running.

Arousal-Decreasing Activities to Try

When anger rises, it may be difficult to find your inner calm. Add some of these arousal-decreasing activities to your mental toolbox, and give them a try next time you're feeling furious.

Count to 10

The study says simply counting to a given number like 10 or 100 may be beneficial, as it can "reduce anger because it provides time for the arousal to dissipate." Try counting before responding next time you're in a heated discussion.


Start a meditation practice at home with a structured and prompted practice to follow along. There are many free meditation apps you can download for guided meditation exercises that you can listen to while you’re out on a walk or resting on the couch.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness allows us to pay closer attention to our feelings and sensations around us to help us feel more grounded. There are many easy mindfulness activities to try, such as journaling, listening to music, or taking a warm bath.

Do Yoga

Yoga has many health benefits thanks to the mind-body connection you form while practicing, which includes improving balance, reducing stress, and helping to manage your emotions. Try a class at your local yoga studio, or practice at home with various yoga poses for stress relief and full-body stretches.

Try Breathing Exercises

Breathwork plays an important role in yoga, but it's not the only time to focus on your breathing. There are several breathing techniques you can try anywhere, anytime to help you unwind and feel calmer, such as box breathing or the 4-7-8 breathing method.

Engage in Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation can reduce stress by contracting certain muscles in a cadence to create tension, then releasing them. For example, try lying down in a comfortable spot and squeeze your calves for a few seconds, then release. After that, squeeze your thigh muscles for a few seconds, and release. Slowly work your way up your body, focusing on one muscle group at a time until you reach your head.

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