Don't go to bed angry — do this instead

New research finds you shouldn't sleep off a bad day. Here are five tricks to put anger to bed before you hit the sack.

Science is lending some credence to marriage advice grandmas love to share: never go to sleep angry.

Negative emotions may in fact stick around after sleeping on them, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. Researchers found that when asleep, the brain re-organizes the way a freshly-formed memory is stored, making it harder to shake off bad memories later on.

That basically means it’s important to get your happy on before calling it a night. Here are five little ways to put anger to bed before you get in it yourself.

Bake cookies…then eat them

It’s no secret that baking can spark happiness. Measuring in precise quantities, whipping eggs into perfect peaks, kneading, stirring, mixing — all these acts can be unbelievably therapeutic. And if you’re not a process person, there’s the pure joy of digging into those sweet, sweet carbs.  Here’s a recipe for baking four cookies in 20 minutes.

easy desserts: Small-batch chocolate chip cookies

Photo, Sian Richards.

…then bake a loaf

You’ve devoured the cookies, the chocolatey aroma is fading and well, it’s not enough. Wipe down your bowls and give this revamped banana bread recipe a go. You can add as much dark rum to it as you like.

Chocolagte-walnut banana bread

Chocolate-walnut banana bread

Go “forest bathing”

When the human world is driving you up the wall, why not go back to nature? The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (literally “forest bathing”) is essentially a walk in the woods with a meditative mindset. Of course, in the depths of an icy winter this might be a little too ambitious — streaming the Planet Earth collection might be easier.

Hammer out personalized spoons

It’s a lucky coincidence that this DIY project requires a hammer (really). These vintage-style, monogram spoons make amazing thoughtful gifts. They also require enough concentration and precision to keep your mind off any angst.

Table setting

Photo, Roberto Caruso.

Grab a bottle and visit your bestie

If you can’t visit, call the one person who helps you make sense of the world. And if they don’t have all the answers, at least they can make your cheeks hurt. If they happen to be super busy (or already in bed) turn to the Happier podcast. In a nutshell, it’s two forty-something sisters chatting about ways to bring more joy into their lives — a great bestie-time substitute if there ever was one.

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