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The Physiology of Anger

– Health Bytes By DRiefcase ,

What takes place inside your body when you lose your temper? In the wide spectrum of emotions we experience, anger features prominently amongst the lot. While we’ve all experienced this emotion, the degree in which we feel it and the way in which we handle it differ.

Some of us might show physical signs such as the clenching of fists, grinding of teeth, flushing or paling of skin, sweating, etc. while others may not.

But What Happens When You Get Angry?

Most emotions originate inside two almond-shaped structures in our brain called the Amygdala- the part of the brain that identifies threats. Anger is basically the instantaneous reaction of the Amygdala to ‘fight or flight’ before the Cortex- the reasoning part of the brain- can react, basically resulting in you reacting first and thinking later.

The first physiological reaction is the release of stress hormones such as Adrenaline and Cortisol in your body that in turn increases your heart rate and accelerates the flow of blood to your brain and muscles. In the meantime, your body also starts producing Testosterone that causes you to get aggressive. The Adrenaline causes various reactions such as an increase in the speed and volume of your speech, a change in your facial expression, shaking of your hands and legs, tensing of your muscles, and dilation of your pupils. You experience a burst of energy and most of it is focused on the trigger because your brain is trying to get your body in protective mode. And that’s how you experience a fit of anger.

Even when you begin to calm down, the process of getting back to a resting state is not easy. The Adrenaline in your body not just keeps you tense for a long time, but it may also lead to an outburst soon after. In this phase, even the smallest of things might lead to a flare up.

Frequent bouts of deep anger can have various harmful impacts on your body:

  • Puts you at risk of heart disease and strokes
  • Can lead to deterioration of your mental health, especially in men
  • Can impact the longevity and quality of your life
  • Can impact your digestive health 

So, work towards controlling this emotion that can cause severe damage to the body. Immediate responses for the same include taking deep breaths, counting to 10, and even walking away from the situation if need be. Long-term measures consist of a process of identifying triggers and altering your reaction to them as well as adding exercise and meditation to your daily routine. Boosting your wellness and happiness levels can help tremendously in managing your anger.