Feeling furious? Try this easy trick to calm down, researchers say


Ever felt so angry that you did not know what to do? Maybe you have tried yelling into a pillow, going for a run, or even venting to a friend. While these methods can help, researchers have found a surprisingly simple and effective way to calm down: write down your angry thoughts on paper and then shred it or throw it away. This simple technique can help you feel much calmer and more in control.

Ancient Wisdom and Modern Techniques

People have always looked for ways to manage their anger. Anger is a natural human emotion, but when left unchecked, it can lead to health problems and strained relationships. Long ago, the philosopher Seneca in ancient Rome suggested avoiding situations that make us angry. He believed that anger could cause more harm to oneself than the original problem. His advice included taking a step back and avoiding triggers that could provoke anger.

In today’s world, modern methods to manage anger include physical activities like working out at the gym, hitting a punching bag, or going for a long run. These activities can help release pent-up energy and reduce stress. However, a new study from Japan suggests that a simple paper shredder might be an even more effective tool for managing anger.

The Japanese Study

In a recent study, researchers from Nagoya University in Japan discovered that writing down your thoughts about something that made you angry and then shredding or discarding the paper can significantly reduce those angry feelings. The study was led by Nobuyuki Kawai and published in Nature.

“We thought our method would help reduce anger a bit,” said Kawai. “But we were surprised to find that it almost completely got rid of the anger.”

How the Study Worked?

The study involved fifty students who were asked to write their opinions on a social issue, such as whether smoking in public should be banned. Their papers were then deliberately criticized to provoke anger. Evaluators scored the papers low on various attributes like intelligence, interest, and logic. They also added insulting comments such as, “I cannot believe an educated person would think like this. I hope this person learns something while at the university.”

The purpose was to make the students genuinely angry. After receiving this harsh feedback, the students were asked to write down their angry thoughts about the feedback on another piece of paper. The students were then divided into two groups. One group was instructed to either roll up the paper and throw it in the bin or keep it in a file on their desk. The other group was told to shred the paper or put it in a plastic box.

The results were shocking. The anger levels of the individuals who discarded their paper in the bin or shredded it returned to their initial calm state. In contrast, those who kept the paper experienced only a small decrease in their overall anger.

Why Does It Work?

Researchers believe this method works because of a concept called “backward magical contagion.” This is the belief that actions taken on an object associated with a person can affect the individuals themselves. In this case, getting rid of the negative physical entity, the piece of paper, causes the original emotion to also disappear.

This idea is related to a phenomenon called “magical contagion” – the belief that the “essence” of an individual can be transferred through their physical possessions. By destroying the piece of paper that contains their angry thoughts, individuals feel as though they are also destroying the anger itself. This physical act of disposal helps to symbolically and psychologically eliminate the negative emotions.

Practical Applications

This technique is easy to use in everyday life and can be a quick fix when you are feeling overwhelmed by anger. Whenever you feel angry, just write down what is bothering you as if you are taking a quick note. Then, tear up the paper, shred it, or throw it away. This simple act can help you feel better almost immediately.

Here are some practical steps to follow:

  1. Identify the source of your anger: Take a moment to pinpoint what exactly is making you angry.
  2. Write it down: Use a piece of paper to jot down your angry thoughts and feelings. Be honest and detailed.
  3. Destroy the paper: Tear up the paper, shred it, or throw it in the trash. The act of destroying the paper helps to symbolically get rid of the anger.


By using this technique, you can find relief from anger and enjoy a calmer, more peaceful state of mind. Whether it is dealing with a frustrating situation at work, a misunderstanding with a friend, or any other source of anger, this method can help you regain your composure and move forward with a clearer, calmer perspective.

For the latest insights and updates on such topics, check out www.researchfound.com. We are dedicated to bringing you the most current and comprehensive research in science, health and tech.

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