Love To Vent About Your Anger? It Could Be Having This Impact On Your Mental Health

According to data from Gitnux, Around 1 in 5 people in the UK have experienced an anger problem or have difficulty controlling their anger.

As emotions go, anger can be a tough one to control, especially when we are in the depths of it.

According to leading mental health charity Mind: “We all feel angry at times – it’s part of being human. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion.”

However, as many of us are all too aware, it can get out of hand.

One way that lots of us tackle anger is by venting it out to a friend or partner. It’s a great feeling — getting it all off your chest, vindicating yourself in the process, and coming away feeling like you’ve done something with the anger.

However, according to a report published this month, venting may not actually be a healthy solution.

Why venting anger often does more harm than good

According to Sophie Kjaervik, a postdoctoral fellow at the Injury and Violence Prevention Program at Virginia Commonwealth University, when we vent, we could actually be firing up our anger even more, rather than releasing it.

Kjaervik came to this conclusion after doing a meta-analysis of 154 articles on the subject of anger and found that venting anger actually made the anger worse.

“Combining venting with anger makes it worse because you become even more aroused,” said Kjaervik.

Instead, she advises that when you’re feeling angry, you need to cool down your arousal levels so you can cool down your anger.

I’m disappointed, too, I love a good vent.

How to calm down

Mind recommends following these steps to learn to control your anger:

Here’s some things you can try:

  • Think to yourself ‘I’m feeling really angry right now’ without trying to justify it or understand why. Accepting the feeling without trying to explain it can sometimes be helpful

  • Take yourself out of the situation. You could go for a walk, go to a different room or log off if the situation is online

  • Use a code word for when you feel angry. You could say this to others or to yourself to signal that you need some time to yourself before talking any further. This may help you avoid having to explain yourself in the moment

  • Focus on what’s around you. Try listing 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste

  • Focus on your breath. Breathe slowly and deeply. Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Some people find it helpful to count while doing this

  • Use a grounding object. Keep a small object with you to hold and focus on when you feel angry. For example, you could use a marble, a fidget toy or a piece of fabric

  • Keep notes on your phone with reminders to yourself about what to do when you feel angry