Anger Management and Exercise
Some people are more hotheaded than others, while many seem to be irritable and grumpy most of the time. Regardless of the circumstances, genetics, family background or other external issues, anger always begins with thinking in a particularly harsh way.
There are many ways to untie the knot that triggers your anger. Traditional effective anger management therapies include:
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Relaxation and deep breathing
- Cognitive restructuring (or learning to think differently)
- Effective problem solving
- Better communication
- Changing your environment
Research has demonstrated very clearly that exercise is a safe and highly effective way to relieve stress that builds to anger and improve your overall mental health and wellbeing. For these reasons, exercise and should be included in your plan for managing anger issues.
How Can Increasing Your Fitness Activity Control Anger?
Exercise, at a moderate to intense level, metabolizes and breaks down the hormones that are related to increasing stress while at the same time increases the hormones that create calm; beta-endorphins, serotonin, and BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). Exercise acts as a natural mental deterrent from focusing on the type of demanding, insisting, expecting thinking that leads to anger. The benefits of exercise are not only physiologically based. Consistent exercise promotes self-esteem, improves body image and helps increase positive socialization, which are all related to improving anger prevention and control skills.
When you feel your thinking begin to inflame and find yourself overestimating the probability of a negative outcome, perhaps the best antidote at the moment is to step away from the external trigger. Of course, the internal trigger, what you are thinking, is the real issue and the best way to deal with that is to go for a jog, do some exercises on your Total Gym, lift some small weights you keep in your office or go for a power-walk.
Don’t have a gym close by? Don’t have access to a Total Gym yet? Try running or check out some of our most recent workout routines here.
Research has found group exercise to be a particularly effective stress and anger control approach to exercise. Surrounding yourself with other health-focused people often helps lighten your perspective and put away negative, harsh thinking. This is one of the reasons that team sports that focus on cooperation such as roller derby, tennis, baseball – not those sports that promote intense competition and fighting – are often recommended and touted as great anger management activities.
Mindfulness and Anger Management
Mindful exercises in Yoga , Pilates, or tai chi allow you to visualize your breaths coming from your stomach, while repeating a phrase or picturing an image to focus on. In fact, steady state running or 20 minutes of bicycling leads to similar type of meditative breathing that promotes a calmer brain, which some describe as “runner’s high.” With an accelerated heart rate from these types of aerobic activity, the body releases those feel good endorphins as well, which is the antithesis of anger.
But why manage anger when you can truly prevent it? The key is to change how, why, and what you are thinking.