Venting to manage anger? This might work better

We can all feel angry from time to time and people often think that venting anger will help us.  This might not be the case.  A recent study looked at what worked better to manage anger: activities that increased arousal (venting) or activities that decreased arousal (calming activities).

What was the study? (1)

Bushman and Kjærvik reviewed 154 studies including 184 independent samples involving 10,189 participants.

What were the results? (1)

The authors found that effects calming activities were more effective at managing anger than venting activities.

What are examples of calming and venting activities in this study? (1)

Examples of calming activities that helped manage anger, or activities that decreased arousal were: deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation.

Examples of activities that increased arousal that did NOT help manage anger were: hitting a bag, jogging, cycling.

What are some caveats? (1)

  • See the full study for further details (1).
  • The authors found that the results were stable over time for participants of different genders, races, ages, and cultures (1)
  • It also did not matter how the activities were delivered or taught:  (e.g., digital platforms, researchers, therapists),  group or individual sessions, field, or laboratory settings (1).
  • This means that one could teach themselves calming activities to help manage anger or learn it from technology or others, including professional settings (1).

Where or how can I learn these calming techniques? (1)

Check out previous posts or this link (3).

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By Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Kjærvik SL, Bushman BJ. A meta-analytic review of anger management activities that increase or
    decrease arousal: What fuels or douses rage? Clinical Psychology Review
    Volume 109, April 2024, 102414.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2024.102414
  2. https://news.osu.edu/breathe-dont-vent-turning-down-the-heat-is-key-to-managing-anger/?sfmc_key=0032E00002tKfusQAC
  3. Mental Health: Proven Techniques (lifehacks, biohacks) and Expert insights  for specific tools and techniques to learn calming strategies such as deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, etc.

Does Tart cherry juice help with sleep?

About 14% of young adults reported sleep difficulties (1)

There are many non medication strategies that can help improve sleep, and these have been discussed previously (2).

One study looked at tart cherry juice and its impact on sleep.

Why tart cherry juice?

Previous studies reported the positive effects of consumption of tart cherry juice on recovery in cyclists, soccer players, and marathoners (3,4,5). In addition, a study on healthy people reported that consumption of tart cherry juice can quickly promote sleep, cognition, and a decrease in the level of oxidative stress and training-related muscle damage (6,7).

Interestingly, tart cherry contains high concentrations of melatonin (8).  Melatonin is both a supplement and a substance created in the human body that helps to induce sleep (9,10).

Tart cherry juice has been shown to increase in the efficiency of objective sleep (11).

What was the study? (12)

22 participants were randomized to receive either 30 mls tart cherry juice or placebo given 5 times over 48 hours (12).

What was measured? (12)

Melatonin, stress hormone cortisol, and the quality of sleep after intermittent exhaustion exercise in female elite field hockey players (12).

What were the results? (12)

Tart cherry juice was found to improve sleep quality, but not affect changes in the levels of melatonin or the stress hormone, cortisol (12).

What are some caveats?

  • In my experience, some people may experience morning tiredness or vivid dreams.
  • This is a small study and further study is needed to verify the results.
  • Long term side effects are not known.
  • The benefit size may not be enough for everyone.
  • There are many factors impacting sleep and the combination of factors impacting any 1 person may not be the same as others, so the combination of strategies that work to help improve sleep may vary from person to person.

What are some helpful strategies for sleep?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests the following ways to improve sleep (3):

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
  • Other strategies:

What are some helpful resources for sleep?

By Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA

If you would like to be notified of a new post (usually once per month), please enter your email above.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Adjaye-Gbewonyo D, Ng AE, Black LI. Sleep difficulties in adults: United States, 2020. NCHS Data Brief, no 436. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2022. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.15620/cdc:117490.
  2. Patel R. Mental Health For College Students  https://a.co/d/iXhbkAj
  3. Howatson G., McHugh M.P., Hill J.A., Brouner J., Jewell A.P., Van Someren K.A., Shave R.E., Howatson S.A. Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running.  J. Med. Sci. Sports. 2010;20:843–852. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01005.x.
  4. Dimitriou L., Hill J.A., Jehnali A., Dunbar J., Brouner J., McHugh M.P., Howatson G. Influence of a montmorency cherry juice blend on indices of exercise-induced stress and upper respiratory tract symptoms following marathon running—A pilot investigation.  Int. Soc. Sports Nutr. 2015;12:22. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0085-8.
  5. Bell P.G., Stevenson E., Davison G.W., Howatson G. The effects of montmorency tart cherry concentrate supplementation on recovery following prolonged, intermittent exercise. 2016;8:441. doi: 10.3390/nu8070441.
  6. Jacob R.A., Spinozzi G.M., Simon V.A., Kelley D.S., Prior R.L., Hess-Pierce B., Kader A.A. Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women. J. Nutr. 2003;133:1826–1829. doi: 10.1093/jn/133.6.1826.
  7. Lynn A., Mathew S., Moore C.T., Russell J., Robinson E., Soumpasi V., Barker M.E. Effect of a tart cherry juice supplement on arterial stiffness and inflammation in healthy adults: A randomised controlled trial. Plant Foods Hum. Nutr. 2014;69:122–127. doi: 10.1007/s11130-014-0409-x.
  8. Burkhardt S., Tan D.X., Manchester L.C., Hardeland R., Reiter R.J. Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus Agric. Food Chem. 2001;49:4898–4902. doi: 10.1021/jf010321+.
  9. Hughes R.J., Sack R.L., Lewy A.J. The role of melatonin and circadian phase in age-related sleep-maintenance insomnia: Assessment in a clinical trial of melatonin replacement. 1998;21:52–68.
  10. Claustrat B., Brun J., Chazot G. The basic physiology and pathophysiology of melatonin. Sleep Med. Rev. 2005;9:11–24. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2004.08.001.
  11. Howatson G., Bell P.G., Tallent J., Middleton B., McHugh M.P., Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality.  J. Nutr. 2012;51:909–916. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0263-7.
  12. Chung J, Choi M, Lee K. Effects of Short-Term Intake of Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice on Sleep Quality after Intermittent Exercise in Elite Female Field Hockey Players: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Aug 18;19(16):10272. doi: 10.3390/ijerph191610272. PMID: 36011907; PMCID: PMC9408103.

Just 5 minutes of mindfulness for mental health?     

Mindfulness meditation can have many mental health benefits.

For example, a review of 13 studies showed improvement in ADHD symptoms with mindfulness meditation (1).

41 trials show mindfulness meditation helped improve stress related outcomes such as anxiety, depression, stress, positive mood, etc. (2)

There are other studies showing benefits of mindfulness and meditation for mental health (3)

A recent study looked at the potential benefits on university students of engaging in just 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation at the beginning of a class (4).

What was the study design? (4)

  • 133 Students engaged in 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation at the beginning of class upto 3 days per week (4).
  • 13 faculty members teaching 19 different courses were trained to follow the mindfulness protocol and shared their course rosters with the researchers; they were also provided with support throughout the study (4).
  • Class sizes ranged from 7 to 430 students (4).
  • Pre- and post-test survey responses were collected from students taking courses from faculty who were trained to facilitate brief classroom-based mindfulness activities (4).

What were the results? (4)

  • Due to the program, students reported a decrease in stress and improvement in well-being as measured by Perceived Stress Scale and WHO-5 Well being scale, respectively (4).
  • 34% of students recounted the utility of mindfulness programming as most relevant in times of stress both inside and beyond class, and as useful when trying to “not become overwhelmed” and for recognizing when they needed “to take a minute to breathe.” (4)
  • 47% of students reported improved stress management outside of class (4).

What are some caveats?

  • This is a small study at 1 university and further study is needed to verify the effectiveness of a classroom based mindfulness program.
  • There are many mindfulness and mediation resources available that students can consider before or after class.
  • Not everyone might find mindfulness based programs beneficial; which could limit usability in the classroom.
  • Further study is needed before applying any 1 such program systematically on a large scale.
  • Brief classroom based wellness activities have the potential to benefit mental health. Students might be more motivated to explore such wellness activities further after learning about them in the classroom.
  • This study highlights the potential benefits of brief mindfulness activities on mental health even if it’s not every day.

What are some helpful resources for mindfulness and meditation?

By Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA

If you would like to be notified of a new post (usually once per month), please enter your email above.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Poissant, H., Mendrek, A., Talbot, N., Khoury, B., & Nolan, J. (2019). Behavioral and Cognitive Impacts of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review. Behavioural neurology2019, 5682050. doi:10.1155/2019/5682050
  2. Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga EMS, et al. Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-Being [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2014 Jan. (Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, No. 124.)Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK180102/
  3. Patel R. Mental Health For College Students  https://a.co/d/iXhbkAj
  4. JesseHonsky , Marjorie N. Edguer , Elizabeth R. Click , Suzanne Rusnak , Barbara Burgess Van Aken , Matthew A. Salerno & Kristen A. Berg (2023) Mindfulness matters in the classroom: A pilot study of a university-wide classroom-based brief mindfulness program, Journal of American College Health, DOI: 1080/07448481.2023.2237596