“What do you do when you are angry? What do you suggest others should do when they are angry?
Many people have suggested that a good way to dissipate anger is to aggressively attack something other than the target of your anger. This “safe” release of anger may be directed towards a pillow, a punching bag, or may a pile of books you just slammed down. Another name for this strategy is catharsis. A second recommended remedy for anger is to target your anger at a safe object while thinking about the actual target of your anger. So instead of just punching your pillow, you may envision the target of your anger on the pillow and punch away. This supposedly allows you to release anger towards the target without actually hurting the target. Thinking about the target of your anger over a period of time is known as rumination.
Opponents of the previous strategies for anger reduction suggest that aggressive thoughts and actions are connected within a person’s mind. When a person is aggressive towards a pillow this may activate other unrelated aggressive thoughts and emotions – including anger. Similarly, when thinking about the target of anger a person continues to activate those associations, which would fail to cause a decrease of the felt anger.”
(via Social Psychology Daily. Thanks DJ!)