dealing with anger

Here is a powerful yet simple solution for dealing with your anger. The method isn’t new, but research has now proved it really works.

Dealing with anger has been a timeless pursuit for humanity. From ancient Stoic philosophies to modern-day gym sessions on the punchbag, various methods have been explored. Some worked, others didn’t, and some just made anger worse!

Now, a promising new technique has crept in; recent study suggests that a humble tool might hold the key to effective anger management: the paper shredder.

Not new, but now proven

Researchers at Nagoya University in Japan conducted a study exploring the relationship between expressing anger on paper and its subsequent disposal. Participants who wrote down their angry thoughts regarding negative feedback and then either shredded the paper or bining it felt a significant drop in their anger levels.

Some therapists have used this for years. Others, perhaps feeling that the technique was ‘not serious’ or  too odd to be effective, avoided this practical suggestion. So it’s good news that science has authenticated a simple step for dealing with anger. Anyone can benefit, not just those said to have ‘anger management issues’

This phenomenon taps into the concept of “backward magical contagion,” wherein actions taken on an object associated with a person can influence the individuals themselves. By physically discarding the source of their anger, participants effectively eliminated the emotion itself.


The practical implications of this research suggest a simple yet powerful technique for dealing with anger in everyday life. Next time you find yourself seething with frustration, try jotting down your thoughts on paper and then shredding or discarding it. The act of disposal could serve as a cathartic release, bringing about a sense of relief and calm.

This discovery offers insight into cultural practices such as the Japanese tradition of hakidashisara, where people symbolically smash representations of their frustrations. It underscores the universal human need to externalize and release negative emotions.

In essence, the study highlights the therapeutic potential of simple acts like shredding paper. By acknowledging and then letting go of our anger in a tangible way, we can pave the path to emotional well-being and inner peace. So, the next time anger rears its head, grab a piece of paper and let the shredder work its magic.

I’m a psychologist, coach, and therapist. All my work is aimed at enabling people to improve personal aspects of their lives and work.