Writing down your negative thoughts and shredding them can wipe out anger instantly

Writing down your feelings after a negative experience and then disposing of the note can effectively eliminate anger, according to new research.

Scientists have discovered that shredding or throwing away the written record of your emotions can almost entirely eradicate feelings of anger. However, keeping the piece of paper tends to maintain the anger.

Lead researcher Dr Nobuyuki Kawai from Nagoya University in Japan, said: “We expected that our method would suppress anger to some extent.”

“However, we were amazed that anger was eliminated almost entirely.”

The team emphasised the importance of these findings for managing anger in both personal and professional settings.

They noted that many existing anger management techniques lack solid evidence and can be difficult to recall when one is angry.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, involved participants writing brief opinions on significant social issues, such as public smoking bans, which were then evaluated by a doctoral student at Nagoya University.

Despite participants’ efforts, they were consistently criticised for low intelligence, interest, friendliness, logic, and rationality.

Each participant received the same scathing remark: “I cannot believe an educated person would think like this. I hope this person learns something while at the university”. Participants were then required to document their thoughts on the feedback, specifically focusing on evoked emotions.

One group was instructed to either discard or file their notes. The other group, however, was told to either shred their papers or place them in a plastic box.

Following disposal or storage of their notes, participants rated their anger levels.

Those who discarded or shredded their papers reportedly had little to no residual anger, whilst those who held onto the physical copies exhibited only a marginal decrease in anger.

Dr Kawai suggested: “This technique could be applied in the moment by writing down the source of anger as if taking a memo and then throwing it away when one feels angry in a business situation.”

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