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Exercises for Stress & Anger Management

author image Ashley Miller
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.
Exercises for Stress & Anger Management
A woman is stretching her legs. Photo Credit Martinan/iStock/Getty Images

Stress and anger often go hand in hand. As your stress levels rise, so do your levels of frustration and tension. Likewise, repressed or uncontrolled anger can cause aggravation and stress. If you think you have a problem handling anger and stress in your life, you may want to consider seeing a counselor. Effectively handling your anger requires a combination of stress and anger management exercises. You can learn these techniques on your own or discuss them with your therapist for maximum benefit.

Physical Exercise

Physical exercise is one of the most effective methods for reducing anger and stress, according to author Vicki L. Schutt in her book, "How to Effectively Control Your Anger." Physical exercise provides you with an opportunity to release your emotions, especially if you feel as if you're about to explode. Additionally, exercise can help to reduce stress levels by increasing your body's production of endorphins, which are natural "feel-good" neurotransmitters that promote feelings of well-being. The next time you feel stressed or angry, try going for a run or a walk.

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Reframing Exercise

Reframing is a mental technique used to diffuse hostile feelings and anger, according to author Richard West and Lynn H. Turner in their book, "Understanding Interpersonal Communication: Making Choices in Changing Times." It helps by changing your attitude about a given situation and changing the "frame" around it so you can see it in a more positive, productive light. Write down your negative, angry feelings for two days. Any time you experience a negative or angry thought, write it down. At the end of these two days, see if you can notice a theme in your thought patterns. Perhaps there is a general feeling or need that is not being met. Take one of the negative, angry thoughts you've written down and try to figure out a positive or productive counter-argument. For example, if you've written "I hate everyone," or "Everyone is out to get me," you could think, "Everyone has bad days, other people have problems, too." This exercise is most helpful if you are able to discuss your reactions with a therapist or trusted friend.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises can help you to relax, take time out and help you to gain control over yourself and the situation you're in. Deep breathing can reduce stress and anger by re-focusing your mind on bodily sensations instead of negative, volatile thoughts. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, deep breathing exercises can help your body to relax itself. Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down. Place one hand on your stomach and close your eyes. Inhale and focus on filling your abdominal area, then your chest, with breath. Pause, and slowly exhale. Continue breathing in this manner until you feel calmer and more relaxed.

Progressive Relaxation

Progressive relaxation is a technique that can relieve stress, anger and tension. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this exercise is best performed lying down. You consciously tense and relax the major muscle groups in your body. Close your eyes, and tense your toes and feet for a few seconds, then release. Next, tense your calves and lower leg, then release. Continue tensing and relaxing your muscles until you get to your head. As you tense and relax each muscle, breathe deeply and allow your mind to focus solely on the physical sensations you are experiencing.

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