Anger - better to hold it in or let it out?


Golden Member
Jul 18, 2000
This discussion started in the thread about PETA vs. the Boy Scouts, but I thought I would give it its own thread to keep from taking over that one. Also, the thread about the man tossing the dog into traffic made me think this was appropos.

The idea came up that it is generally taught to be better to vent your anger rather than keep it in. However, just because the position is popular doesn't mean it is unanimous.

For a couple examples of opposing viewpoints, check out the following:

Linky1 (a pdf file).
Linky 2 (scroll down or search on angry or anger).

Now, I keep running across the line 'Research has shown that expressing
anger only makes you angrier. ' I would love to find the study that spawned this comment, but I am so far having no luck. I do know from personal experience, that my emotions do tend to follow this rule.

Now, I did run into one website that offered a little different spin on it. They said that there were 3 different ways of handling anger: expressing, repressing, and calming. The first two are fairly self-explanatory terms, but in 'calming' they talk about focusing on your own reaction and working toward not becoming angry in the first place. Makes a lot of sense to me.

So, does anybody have links to contrasting studies? Or just thoughts on the matter?