No, a punching bag does not help with your anger in the long term. A study in 2002 showed that hitting a punching bag after getting angry doesn’t lower your anger but increases it!
Roughly one in every ten people say they have difficulty controlling their anger? And as much as 28% of the world worries about their anger. So it’s easy to see that we all need something to help with our anger sometimes, and exercise is an easy fit.
But can a punching bag help with anger, or is this unproven? If you’re curious about the effect punching bags have on anger, we’re here to help. Read on to learn the benefits and risks of using punching bags to help with your anger.
The consensus is that hitting a punching bag produces adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are famously part of the fight-or-flight response and help to induce a great deal of stress. So if you’re attempting to calm down, decreasing these hormones is vital, but a punching bag increases their production.
Many feel that this information is inaccurate. Some people feel less angry after using a punching bag to get their frustration out. How could it be medically stated that it makes things worse?
The main reason that using a punching bag temporarily helps with your anger is the release it provides. There’s a primal urge to lash out when anger and frustration rise, especially in stressful situations high in adrenaline. A punching bag provides this release, which can temporarily reduce your anger.
However, this can have several adverse effects. For example, if you always temporarily reduce your anger by lashing out at a punching bag, you’ll condition yourself to react to anger with violence. This can cause several unhealthy behaviors and make your anger feel more significant in situations where you can’t lash out.
Benefits of Punching Bags
That isn’t to say that punching bags are all bad! Here are some benefits of punching bags and how exercise can reduce anger.
If you’re using one correctly, a punching bag (often referred to as a heavy bag) can help reduce stress. This isn’t out of the cathartic release of punching, as this can increase stress in the short term. The improved generation of chemicals like adrenaline may make you feel more stressed during your workout.
Because of this, you should only use a punching bag when you aren’t angry. The increased cortisol and adrenaline will make your anger worse. But if you’re starting from a place of contentment, you’re more likely to feel as if you’ve done a normal workout than stressed.
In the long term, enhanced fitness and cardiovascular health can help you manage anger and stress. In addition, you’ll feel less likely to be overwhelmed, which will help keep your anger down.
Enhanced fitness is one of the most commonly-cited benefits of using a punching bag. Like many cardiovascular workouts, using a punching bag will help to increase your fitness. Your stamina will be considerably higher, which will also help you work out for more extended periods.
This increase in your health directly correlates to improving your response to anger. So while the use of the punching bag itself won’t lessen your anger, better health will!
This may also be a good time to release some of your aggression. While a punching bag creates adrenaline and cortisol, exercise of any sort will help release endorphins. This time may be great for thinking over whatever was making you angry. Just be careful not to enrage yourself over the situation again, or you’ll need to step away from the punching bag.
Punching bags are also great for helping with weight loss. Depending on your routine, you burn plenty of calories while using a punching bag. This is because you’re doing a full-body workout incorporating your arms, core, lower body, and much more.
As you burn calories, you’ll burn fat as well. Better health in this regard will also help reduce stress, which can help decrease your anger. So while the punching bag isn’t directly responsible for lowering your stress, it’s still helpful in increasing your fitness to reduce anger.
How To Reduce Anger
Now that we know using a punching bag won’t help with anger directly, what can help with your anger? There are many techniques to help work through a surge in your temper. Here are some of the most effective ways to reduce your irritation peacefully.
One of the best things you can do is step away from whatever’s causing you anger when possible. For example, are you arguing with someone or dealing with road rage? Then moving away from the situation is the best way to lower your anger and end your involvement in the situation.
Your anger will fade over time, especially if paired with other anger-reducing techniques. However, when your temper flares, leaving the situation is sometimes difficult. Have the strength to step away to ensure you’re properly handling the issue.
Distracting yourself is an excellent way to lower your anger if you can’t leave a situation. A popular way to do this is to count up to (or down from) ten or one hundred.
Counting doesn’t work because it gives some sort of catharsis, though. Instead, you’re giving your mind something to focus on that isn’t an anger-inducing situation. As a result, you may be less angry than usual by reaching your goal.
The best way to do this is to clear your mind as you count. If you count while dwelling on whatever’s infuriating you, you won’t find your anger any less than before. Work to meditate or clear your mind while you distract yourself so that you can lower your anger quickly.
Distracting yourself is also where exercise is useful! Exercise is a great way to keep yourself distracted while you wait for your anger to fade.
Try to stick to cardio exercises like running or biking. Bodybuilding exercises like weightlifting can cause the same rush of adrenaline that you’re trying to avoid!
Deal With the Issue
No matter what, there’s a high chance that the best way to lower your anger is to deal with the issue. A repeated problem will only keep making you angry!
Instead of trying to avoid whatever’s upsetting you, do your best to resolve the situation. For example, has anxiety over schoolwork or work stopped you from being able to keep your temper down? Maybe you’ve been arguing with a family member, friend, or loved one.
The best way to handle this anger is to remove the situation. Get your work out of the way so you can focus on leisure and peacefully settle whatever argument is in your mind!
Many problems are out of our control, and this issue may not always be possible. If this is the case, try not to get stressed over difficulties you can’t fix. Instead, distract yourself and healthily let your stress and adrenaline fade so that you can focus on allowing your anger to fade away.
Final Thoughts – Can a Punching Bag Help With Anger?
Exercise is helpful, but can punching bags help with anger? Studies show that punching bags don’t help with anger and worsen the situation by generating adrenaline and cortisol. Instead, you should focus your efforts on reducing these hormones healthily.
For more information on increasing your health and wellness, browse our site for more.
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