Feeling angry? Here’s how to deal with it | Letters

Your article (Write down your thoughts and shred them to relieve anger, researchers say, 9 April) reminded me that, in the 1960s, after visiting a preschool group in a monitoring capacity, I felt aggrieved by the way I’d been received. On returning home, I wrote a letter to the person involved, but then calmed down sufficiently to decide not to send it. I screwed up the paper and threw it on to the open fire. I did feel better after that.

Fast forward to the early 2000s, while working with a bereavement organisation, my client expressed negative thoughts about a close relative who was reacting in a different way to their loss. I suggested he write down his angry thoughts and then destroy what he wrote in whatever way he wanted.

At our next session, he said he had expressed his anger on paper, then shredded it. His anger was relieved. I had had other clients tear up emotionally written words, but this was the first time I heard of shredding being cathartic.
Name and address supplied

During my former career as a clinical psychologist, I suggested writing emotionally charged letters and destroying them afterwards several times to patients. I also remember chatting to a man doing his garden during lockdown. He looked very cross, and when I reflected that back to him and asked why, he said he felt tricked out of an inheritance. He had a photo of the person involved, which is now buried with his letter in the garden. It turned his upset into glee.

The best one was a patient who wanted to burn a letter on the beach. It was too wet, but on her way home she saw dog poo on the pavement, so she used the letter to remove it and placed it in the bin. She felt better afterwards.
Janie Penn-Barwell
Eastleigh, Hampshire

As a cyclist, a lot of the anger I see (and hear) is from car and van drivers. Will vehicle accessory manufacturers start selling dashboard-mounted shredders for those with anger management issues?
Sam White
Lewes, East Sussex

My solution if you’re angry? Write it down and send it as an email to the Guardian letters desk.
Mike Pender


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