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‘Blowing off steam’ may not be the best way to handle your anger

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You mad? Skip the venting – it’s not the answer to feeling better, results of a recent study suggest.

Researchers at Ohio State University looked at more than 150 studies related to anger management involving over 10,000 participants. The takeaway?

“I think it’s really important to bust the myth that if you’re angry you should blow off steam – get it off your chest,” said Brad Bushman, senior study author and a communications professor at OSU.

That’s because the researchers found that activities such as deep breathing, meditation and yoga help decrease your anger better than, say, hitting a punching bag.

“To reduce anger, it is better to engage in activities that decrease arousal levels,” Bushman said. “Despite what popular wisdom may suggest, even going for a run is not an effective strategy because it increases arousal levels and ends up being counterproductive.”

Relaxation, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation and taking a timeout were also shown to be effective ways to reduce anger and aggression.

The study was published online in the journal Clinical Psychology Review.

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