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3 Ways to Stop Angry Rants in 1 Minute

Ranting feels good, but it can be harmful in the long term. Here's how to stop.

  • People who post rants online experience more anger than most and express their anger in unhealthy ways, according to research.
  • When ranting becomes routine, it can color our perceptions of daily events and keep us stuck in one place.
  • Three quick ways to not let yourself be consumed by a rant include limiting your rant to one minute, laughing the situation off for one minute, and immersing yourself in nature for one minute.

Had a good rant lately?

As good as the internet is at promoting ease of shopping, it may be just as good at promoting negative moods and ranting. While research shows that ranting may make you feel better in the short term (some subjects reported feeling more relaxed immediately after writing a rant), it might actually make you feel worse in the long term. In fact, according to the researchers, those who posted rants "experience more anger than most and express their anger in maladaptive ways."

 FreeDigitalPhotos by Ben Schonewille
Turn that Frown Upside Down!
Source: FreeDigitalPhotos by Ben Schonewille

Self-help author Wayne Dyer wrote:

"How you treat people is their karma; how you react is yours."

The practice of using anger as a tool for catharsis has been shown the be unhelpful and may even produce long-term harm.

I'm not saying you should never rant. Anger is an important emotion and serves a purpose. However, if anger and ranting have become your routine and normal emotional reaction, then you likely need to do a karmic emotional cleanse!

An Example of Toxic Ranting

Let me share the story of Margo, a nicely dressed woman in her 50s who came to see me for acute clinical depression. She was so wrapped up in the past that her ability to experience the here and now was severely limited.

During my initial intake session, Margot kept returning to a particular rant that had become memorized and set in stone. “My father, he abused me. He mistreated me. He said the most horrible things to me from the age of 6!”

Margo continued unabated until I tried to redirect her in order to get other information about her condition. But she was so fixed on the old story that she couldn’t steer free of it—like a car whose tires were caught in a deep rut. Finally, I said, “Margo, I notice that you keep returning to the story of you and your father, and I want to hear more about it at some point. But I’m curious—have you ever counted the number of times you tell yourself that story in the course of a day?”

Margot paused and put her hand up to her chin. She looked at me directly, as if she had just emerged from a deep trance. “Funny you should ask me that. I have tried to count the number of times, but I always lose track. But I do know that when I don’t tell myself that story, I’m a lot happier!”

Margo’s rant was like a smudged, dirty window through which she perceived daily events. Unfortunately, that window was so dirty that it filtered out the light. Sadly, she could never really see things as they were.

One-Minute Practices to Stop Rants and Reduce Anger

If your mental wheels are stuck spinning in place—whether your rant is political, personal, or work-related—it may be time to let go and live free without the emotional encumbrances of your rant. Remember, this doesn't mean that you don't care about your particular beliefs or issues. It just means that you are putting things in perspective and not letting yourself be consumed by your rant. Yes, you are bigger than your rant and the belief on which it is based!

1) Limit Your Rant to One Minute

That's right. You can limit your rant to just one minute, and make it count! See how fast you can rant as you time yourself, or have someone time you. At the end of the minute, you agree (with yourself) that you are done for the day. No more ranting, no more anger. See how you can live with things as they are... and without your ranting.

2) Make an Executive Decision to Laugh It Off for One Minute

Who says you can't just laugh off the anger, the rant, the whole situation? Besides, it's your rant, and you can decide what to do with it! Just as you invested in a rant, you can also disinvest. Laugh for one minute at your rant, at your ranting self, and even laugh at the righteousness of your rant.

3) One-Minute Nature Vacation

Nature can do wonders for cleansing away emotional debris. This is easy if you have a window or go outside. Find a tree, a cloud, a flower. Then, imagine you are that cloud, that flower that blade of grass, that tree. For a minute, imagine yourself floating in the sky, high up above the earth. Or, that you are that solid tree, branches open wide and absorbing the sun's energy. Or that flower, opening its colorful blossoms for the buzzing bees. Let the natural elements take you on a refreshing one-minute vacation!

For additional ways to overcome anger and find emotional balance, my book 101 Mindful Ways to Build Resilience offers many tools for finding peace and calm each day.