How to Release Anger

First thing in the morning for him is yoga
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Sometimes stressful situations can seem to stick with us. Most of us find ourselves ruminating or holding onto negative feelings we have about stressors or conflicts in our lives at one time or another.

Unfortunately, this tendency can prolong the stress that we experience and even magnify it. As the tension and frustration build, it can harden into anger—which can make it all the harder to shake. Here are some proven strategies to stop ruminating and finally let go of your anger.

Write It Out

Writing is a relatively simple way to process and let go of difficult emotions. Studies have shown that expressive writing can be effective in reducing symptoms of depression among those with a tendency toward brooding and rumination.

There's no right or wrong way of doing this, so try not to self-edit too much or make it hard on yourself. Write down your thoughts and emotions as they come to you. Don't even worry about punctuation. No one is going to see what you've written.

It may also be helpful to get in the habit of writing at the same time every day. For instance, you can spend a few minutes before bed each night reflecting and journaling about whatever it is that's disturbing your peace. This practice may even help you fall asleep faster.

Get Physical

Physical activity is one of the best ways to release pent-up frustration. Not only will it take your mind off what's stressing you, but breaking a sweat boosts levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain.

So take a hike. Get on a bike. Go for a run. Flow through some yoga poses. Experiment and see which physical activities work best for you.

Meditate

It seems that everyone from Oprah to Sting is touting the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for stress relief, and for good reason. A key ingredient of meditation is a focus on the present. When you actively focus on the present moment and gently prevent your mind from fixating on past events or future fears, it’s much easier to let go of negative emotions surrounding these things.

Research confirms that meditation-based stress management practices reduce stress and rumination. These techniques also enhance one’s tendency toward forgiveness, which brings its own rewards.

Change Your Perspective

If you perceive a situation to be a "threat," you will have a different emotional (and therefore physical) response than if you viewed the same situation as a "challenge."

In fact, research shows you can stop angry feelings simply by viewing a situation through a different lens. 

So rather than dwelling on the negative, take a different approach and try a bit of cognitive restructuring. Challenge your negative thoughts: “This is frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world. Getting angry won’t change anything anyway.”

Try Therapy

If you’d like to take a more structured approach, you might give psychotherapy a try. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most popular form of therapy used to treat anger.

CBT combines cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. It helps you understand negative thoughts and change them. It can also teach you how to react in a healthier way when provoked.

Metacognitive behavior therapy is another mainstay of treatment for anger. This form of therapy is especially useful if you have the tendency to dwell on frustrating experiences and recall past anger. It’s been found to be up 80% effective in treating ruminative tendencies.

Both interventions, alone or combined with SSRI medication, can also be helpful for those struggling with depression. 

A Word From Verywell

Remember, everyone handles anger differently. If you are feeling continuously angry, you may need to take further steps to deal with your feelings. It's tough to break patterns and practice new strategies when you're not feeling your best. Talking to a mental health professional can help.

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6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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