Here are 6 reasons why it might be worth a try:
- The science is on your side. A 2010 study at the University of Georgia showed that exercising immediately before being exposed to your anger triggers may improve your ability to moderate anger. The study used people who identified as having a “short fuse” and exposed them to images designed to provoke an angry response. The group of people who were exposed to the images after going for a run showed the lowest levels of anger. Try taking an early morning run. This just might set you up for an anger free day.
- Running improves emotional regulation. A 2007 study at Yale University showed that a long term running regime changed the expression of at least 3 dozen genes that were related to emotional regulation in the brain. So as well as the immediate effect shown above. The long term effects of an exercise regime may be cumulative. Turn that morning run into a long term habit.
- Running can be a mindfulness practice. There is significant research evidence for the mental health benefits of a mindfulness practice. Why not double up your benefits by trying mindful running. A simple way to do this is to allow your breathing pattern to fall in line with your stride rate. Perhaps inhaling for 3 steps and exhaling for 4 steps. Feel free to play about with this and find what works for you. For a real anger busting boost add some positive self talk into your run. This can be a great way to release stored anger and you will finish your run feeling relaxed and energised.
- It may reverse the physical effects of anger. If you regularly get angry this will have a detrimental effect on your long term health. The stress caused to your system is related to a number of physical conditions including; high blood pressure, increased stroke risk, cardiac issues and gut issues like IBS. Additionally high levels of stress weaken your immune system leaving your prone to regular illness. A regular exercise regime can help your body release the stress producing hormones like cortisol that cause these long term risks.
- Exercise makes you happy. Repeated studies have shown the benefits of exercise on your sense of wellbeing and happiness. It is believed that exercise increases the release of the neurotransmitter, serotonin, that causes the runner’s high and leaves you feeling great. Exercise is proven to combat feelings of depression and low mood. Whilst there are limited studies specifically related to anger I think you will agree it is impossible to be happy and angry at the same time!!
- It’s cheaper than therapy! Whilst there are many excellent forms of exercise the big benefit of running is that all you need is a pair of trainers and you can run anytime and anywhere. No need for expensive equipment and gym memberships.So what have you got to lose? Put on your trainers and start running today.