Venting Won’t Help You Calm Down, But This Might!

Got something to get off your chest? You’re better off keeping it to yourself

The research was partially inspired by the popularity of so-called “rage rooms” where people can work out their anger by smashing objects with a bat or throwing things against a wall. It turns out this isn’t a great idea and can make your rage worse…

That’s according to new research that says venting or “blowing off steam” may not actually help you reduce your anger — and it could just make it worse. 

Researchers at Ohio State University looked at 154 studies involving 10,189 participants and found that many activities that increase physiological arousal — things that raise your blood pressure or heart rate — often did not affect anger. And some activities, like jogging for example, simply fuelled the flames, making the anger worse. 

So when someone says, I need to calm down-I’m going for a run,” it may not be an effective strategy because it increases arousal levels and ends up being counterproductive…

However, the group looked at several physical activities and found that playing ball sports might be the one exception — helping to cool the fire. Playing a game, the researchers suggest, could also be a way to decrease negative feelings.

So, what should you do the next time you feel ready to blow your lid? 

Take a deep breath. Try some meditation. The researchers noted, that just about any type of “arousal-decreasing” practice — an action meant to calm you down — will work. That includes breathwork and meditation, slow flow yoga, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing. 

Countless previous studies have shown that regularly practicing meditation, yoga or mindfulness can help alleviate stress, improve sleep and may generally lead to other healthy lifestyle practices.