We’re all human beings here, right? And unless you happen to be some enlightened spiritual creature, chances are you’ll get angry at least a few times each month.
And it’s not like it’s completely your fault either. There are plenty of everyday (and not-so-everyday) situations which can really test one’s nerves and patience.
But anger is not as simple an emotion as we make it out to be, oh no. You see, it can cause a series of both physiological and hormones reactions to occur in our body.
We’ve all witnessed the things that happen to us on the outside during angry moments. But what about the inside?
Our Brains and Anger
If you could look deep within the temporal lobe of your brain, you’ll locate something called the amygdala. This is the region which takes full responsibility over your emotions, also controlling your fight-or-flight response.
Every time you get angry over whatever reason, your amygdala gets triggered.
What this does is cause a wave of blood to gush through the frontal cortex, which also impairs our ability to think clearly. Now it’s a bit clearer why we say stupid things and do illogical stuff when we’re mad, huh?
As for the part of your brain which is tasked with logical reasoning, it is momentarily clouded by your overexcited amygdala’s response.
Next up we have the adrenal gland, which, once it perceives how heated things are getting, prepares the body for ‘fight or flight’. Which means, it begins secreting adrenaline and cortisol, the two main stress hormones which inform the body to ‘prepare itself’.
This also redirects the blood usually flowing to your small intestine and stomach to change course toward your muscles instead.
Other common reactions you can count on during such outbursts are your pupils dilating, your blood pressure rising, your breaths becoming rapid and shallow, and your heart rate increasing.
You can guess that at this point you have visibly changed and others around you notice such anger. The wise ones will take notes to behave cautiously around you instead of irritating you any further.
What Else is Going on Inside?
Well, for one thing, your body starts to pump more sugar and fatty acids into your bloodstream. This is because it believes it needs to provide you with sufficient energy for dealing with any threats.
And while this would be an excellent response to certain situations which can truly be life-threatening, if it happens on a regular basis (concerning the type of anger which doesn’t involve danger, as your body cannot tell the difference) then it could pose a problem to your health.
You see, if you get angry too often, there could be a build-up of sugar and fatty acids in your bloodstream, which in turn, can cause artery clogging.
Your hippocampus, which is the region responsible for a proper stress response, becomes confused if its host is angry on a regular basis.
Meaning it will be unable to correctly differentiate between an event which really is stressful, and something small and meaningless.
In other words, constantly getting angry could impair one’s hippocampus. Which makes it respond to the most trivial of things with an extremely-high stress response.
Moral of the Story?
Like we said at the beginning of this article, there is nothing unnatural about getting angry from time to time.
But be aware, if you find yourself regularly overreacting to something which by no means can be categorized as important, then you can be sure you are putting your health at risk.
Among many other health problems and issues, constant anger has been connected to insomnia, depression and even cardiovascular disease.
So, next time you feel your anger trying to get the better of you, there are several simple methods you can try for yourself in order to keep it under control. And while we’re almost certain you’ve heard of the ‘count to ten’ method, we’d like to inform you that it truly does work.
Remember when we said all that blood gushing causes you to say things you don’t really mean? Next time, before you decide to open your mouth, try and take a deep, slow breath, inwardly counting to 10. You’d be surprised at the results.
What this does is offer you enough time to beat the wave of emotion. Which means you can start thinking clearly and rationally again. That way, you won’t regret the things you’ve said or done later on. Another great thing you can try out is meditation.
You might want to give it a chance next time you feel anger bubbling up inside you. It offers your mind the peace it deserves and helps you become the master, not the slave, of your emotions. Stay calm, happy, and healthy, dear readers.