Here is a Bizarre but Science-Backed way to Overcome Resentment

If you've ever found yourself annoyed at the way you've been treated at work then this exercise has been proven to help reduce resentment by a third.

I wonder how many of you have felt injustice when your boss or your supervisor has treated you, in your opinion, in a way that you don’t deserve? It is easy to get annoyed isn’t it, perhaps you get angry? Well this week I’ve got a very bizarre but actually, based on psychology, quite a practical way of overcoming that frustration.

The insight in question comes from psychologists collaborating from the US and Canada and it resulted in clear advice – you should engage in something called ‘symbolic retaliation’. What that means is instead of going up to your boss and being angry and frustrated and having it out with them or the person concerned, instead you create of take something that represents that person and take your anger out on that object instead. Now in the research paper they talk about sticking pins into voodoo dolls actually they also say that the benefits are as good if you stick a picture of your boss on a dartboard and throw darts at it!

I know this sound a bit unscientific but it is backed up by mainstream research and if it can overcome annoyance, frustration, anger and conflict in the workplace then surely it has to be worth a try.

Please don’t forget to share this week’s insight and I’ll be back in a week’s time with some more meetology® – exploring the fascinating psychology powering exceptional people skills.

See you next week, until then take care,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


Liang, Lindie H., et al. “Righting a wrong: Retaliation on a voodoo doll symbolizing an abusive supervisor restores justice.” The Leadership Quarterly (2018).




About the Author:

Jonathan Bradshaw presents and trains internationally on the fascinating psychology powering exceptional interpersonal communication. He is Founder of the Meetology® Lab and leads the company’s team of behavioral psychologists in collating and sharing cutting-edge research on exceptional people skills. As an experienced and engaging keynote speaker Jon has presented at conferences and business events in over 30 countries and is an award-winning columnist and blogger. Learn more about him speaking at your next event via or connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.