The Key Ways Deep Breathing Helps Calm Anger

The Exhale
February 10, 2022
5 min read

Anger is one of the most powerful emotions and one of the most difficult to manage during times of stress and anxiety. We often lash out in anger, whether verbally, physically, or emotionally, making it essential to control our anger appropriately.

That is to say; anger is not a negative emotion. Life is about experiencing every emotion on offer, and every emotion has its time and place to be expressed. But, of course, anger is arguably one of the few emotions that can be difficult to deal with, both during and after the event that leads to it. For many, anger can be an unbearable emotion and becomes harder to deal with overtime. Even worse, anger can become a way to get through the day, using anger to motivate themselves when dealing with everyday stimuli.

In today’s blog, we’ll be covering how prolonged anger can affect the body and how deep breathing can be used to settle frayed nerves and allow you to move past a powerful emotional state.

Read on!

Anger is a  Symptom

In many cases; anger can be argued to be a result of anxiety. We become anxious about many things in our daily lives, and anger can often express frustration or powerlessness at the things we encounter. A sense of frustration usually leads to anxiety over the results of something beyond your control, leading to an angry response.

Part of learning to control our emotions, like anger, is about controlling our reactions to situations outside of our control. That control over ourselves can be vital as a tool when dealing with frustrations in life.

Part of achieving that control over our emotions is by controlling the connection of our mind to the body. To do that, we need to focus on how we breathe. More specifically, how deeply we breathe.

Raging Vagus

Effective deep breathing can most accurately be described as an impactful usage of diaphragmatic breathing on the nervous system.

Specifically, diaphragmatic breathing helps to stimulate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a cranial nerve that carries information signals from the body to the brain and is also linked to the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s functions when in a state of rest. This runs counter to the sympathetic nervous system, which manages the body’s functions when in a state of stress.

When stimulated, the vagus nerve engages the parasympathetic nervous system and puts your body into a state of relaxation, lowering your heart rate and allowing you to feel calm.

Counting Down Your Anger

Regularly practicing deep breathing can be the key to engaging your parasympathetic nervous system and the vagus nerve more effectively. For a straightforward approach, try using the 4-7-3 technique when first attempting to deal with the aftermath of a fiery moment.

The method is as follows:

  • Breathe through your nose while counting to four, making sure to keep your tongue at the top of your mouth.

  • Hold that breath for seven seconds.

  • Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight seconds.

This technique is commonly taught in yoga and is vital to meditative practices that require the body to stay relaxed, making it easy to recommend as a tool to help calm down an anxious mind.

For more information regarding how to manage your breathing for a more effective lifestyle, visit our other blogs here at The Exhale to get the latest tips and tricks. For free guided breathing exercises that you can take anywhere, try out the Breathwrk app here.

And remember: Breathe Better, Live Better.


The Exhale