Suppressed emotions have a way of resurfacing. These strategies help diffuse tension and bring you back in balance.

By Mirel Ketchiff
May 06, 2018
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Photo: Saulyak Sergey/Shutterstock

Next time you have a heated argument or a crazy day at work, carve out time in your day to decompress. When something upsetting happens, the best way to handle it is to deal with the negative feelings and let them go. "Not processing emotions appropriately can lead to depression or even high blood pressure," says Mithu Storoni, M.D., Ph.D., the author of Stress-Proof. The most effective ways to de-stress, though, aren't always the most obvious. Try one or all of these proven methods to reset and relax. (Related: 12 Things You Can Do to Chill Out the Minute You Leave the Office)

1. Do Something Else

After a tense experience, cue up a smartphone game. They make your brain less reactive to stress. This will help you detach emotionally so you can solve the problem rationally or move past it. Puzzles and memory games, like Tetris, work best.

2. Work Out Slower

Light exercise may be better than intense exercise at reducing anxiety after a blowup. Working out at 40 percent capacity lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while pushing yourself harder raises levels, research found. (Try this low-impact walking workout for every fitness level.)

3. Write It Out

Documenting the source of the stress after you gain some composure again can be calming, says Dr. Storoni. "It removes the emotion from the scenario, which reduces its intensity." She says it works best to go old-school with a pen and paper. (Read more: All the Ways a Worry Journal Could Make Your Life Better)