Stress Management Management Techniques How to Release Anger By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD Twitter Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing. Learn about our editorial process Updated on March 11, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Amy Morin, LCSW Medically reviewed by Amy Morin, LCSW Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print ljubaphoto / Getty Images 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. Use Your Anger to Battle Stress 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. How Exercise Benefits Mental Health 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. 5 Meditation Techniques for Relaxation and Relief 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.” Cognitive Therapy for Dealing With Stress 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. The 7 Best Online Anger Management Classes 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. Kuzucu Y, Şimşek ÖF, Koşe-Demiray Ç. Language and the symptoms of mental illness connection via abstract representations of the self and the world. J Psychol. 2020;154(3):214-232. doi:10.1080/00223980.2019.1703098 Harvey AG, Farrell C. The efficacy of a Pennebaker-like writing intervention for poor sleepers. Behav Sleep Med. 2003;1(2):115-124. doi:10.1207/S15402010BSM0102_4 Rush SE, Sharma M. Mindfulness-based stress reduction as a stress management intervention for cancer care: A systematic review. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017;22(2):348-360. doi:10.1177/2156587216661467 Denson TF, Moulds ML, Grisham JR. The effects of analytical rumination, reappraisal, and distraction on anger experience. Behav Ther. 2012;43(2):355-364. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2011.08.001 Hagen R, Hjemdal O, Solem S, et al. Metacognitive therapy for depression in adults: A waiting list randomized controlled trial with six months follow-up. Front Psychol. 2017;8:31. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00031 Hvenegaard M, Watkins ER, Poulsen S, et al. Rumination-focused cognitive behaviour therapy vs. cognitive behaviour therapy for depression: study protocol for a randomised controlled superiority trial. Trials. 2015;16:344. doi:10.1186/s13063-015-0875-y Additional Reading Contreras IM, Kosiak K, Hardin KM, Novaco RW. Anger rumination in the context of high anger and forgiveness. Pers Individ Dif. 2021;171:110531. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2020.110531 du Pont A, Rhee SH, Corley RP, Hewitt JK, Friedman NP. Rumination and psychopathology: Are anger and depressive rumination differentially associated with internalizing and externalizing psychopathology? Clin Psychol Sci. 2018;6(1):18-31. doi:10.1177/2167702617720747 By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Stress Management Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.