Letting Off Steam – Or Not

Anger is a natural and human emotion. However, another tried-and-true belief debunked by the cold hard facts of a scientific experiment! Remember when it was common knowledge that letting off steam would help you get over being really mad at someone? You had your options: let out a primal scream, pummel a punching bag, tear a newspaper to shreds, zap people in a video game, or simply “vent” to your best friend. The theory was that like pressure-cookers of old, we’d let the steam out and then return to a safer emotional temperature.

Au contraire! Studies now find that all of the above – rather than reducing our angry feelings – actually whip them up even more! What is recommended now is to find ways to calm our breathing and racing thoughts and murderous feelings. By stepping away from the ledge of our anger and moving to greater equilibrium within ourselves, we’ll be able to address the unfair situation more effectively rather than wreaking even more havoc. So maybe there is an old saying that still has truth to it: When you’re mad, walk away and count to 10.

If your anger seems to have a mind of its own, you may want support in finding ways achieve justice without causing further harm.

BY Mary Dyer Hubbard, Pastoral Counselor

professional counseling and care for the mind, body and spirit

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