Managing Anger: The Key is to Breathe, Not Vent

Managing Anger: The Key is to Breathe, Not Vent

Anger is a common emotion that everyone experiences. However, managing it effectively is something many of us struggle with. A recent study from Ohio State University has shed new light on this topic, suggesting that the key to managing anger is not venting, but rather, turning down the heat.

The Myth of Venting

Contrary to popular belief, venting about a source of anger might feel good in the moment, but it’s not effective at reducing the rage. This busts the myth that if you’re angry, you should blow off steam or get it off your chest. There’s not a shred of scientific evidence to support catharsis theory.

The Role of Physiological Arousal

The researchers analyzed over 150 studies involving more than 10,000 participants and found that what really works to reduce anger is lowering physiological arousal. In other words, turning down the heat. Activities that increased arousal overall had no effect on anger, and some activities made it worse – particularly jogging.

Senior author Brad Bushman, professor of communication at The Ohio State University, emphasizes, “To reduce anger, it is better to engage in activities that decrease arousal levels. 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.”

Managing Anger
Managing Anger

Effective Techniques to Manage Anger

So, what are the effective techniques to manage anger? Techniques often used to address stress – deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or even counting to 10 – have been shown to be more effective at decreasing anger and aggression.

The Rising Popularity of Rage Rooms

The work was inspired in part by the rising popularity of rage rooms that promote smashing things (such as glass, plates, and electronics) to work through angry feelings. However, the researchers wanted to debunk the whole theory of expressing anger as a way of coping with it.


In conclusion, the study suggests that to manage anger effectively, we need to focus on activities that help us calm down and reduce our physiological arousal. Venting or engaging in high-arousal activities might feel good in the short term, but they don’t help us in the long run. So, the next time you feel the heat of anger rising, remember to breathe, don’t vent.

This article is based on the research conducted at Ohio State University. You can read the original article here.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult a healthcare professional for any health concerns.