24/03/2011 18:32 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Don't Get Mad, Say A Little Prayer

Have you ever noticed how people who have a strong religious faith can often seem calm and serene, even in situations that would try the patience of the most Zen-like Buddhist monk? Perhaps their secret is prayer, say experts from Ohio State University, whose research suggests saying a prayer when you feel like blowing your top could make you feel less angry.

woman-in-prayer-anger-management Feeling angry? Saying a prayer could calm you down. Photo: Getty

Writing in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the researchers claim it doesn't have anything to do with religion as such or even going to church, but that the act of praying may change the way you think about a negative situation.

It's like holding your breath and counting to ten when you feel like lashing out - only better.

The researchers carried out three separate studies that involved measuring volunteers' anger levels. In one test, for instance, after engineering a situation designed to make the volunteers upset and irritable, the researchers asked some of them to pray for someone who they said had a rare form of cancer.

After testing how angry the volunteers had become, the researchers found those who had been asked to pray were significantly less angry than those who hadn't.

So just focusing on someone else's problems could help you cope when you feel you're losing your temper. That's because it helps you take whatever has made you feel angry less personally, as well as helping you deal with negative emotions.

Do you have any tried and tested ways of keeping calm when you feel like losing your cool?

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