How Does Anger Affect Your Brain And Body?

Every once in a while, we enter a state of being almost insanely mad at people, places, things, everything, and sometimes at nothing at all! That is the ‘angry’ phase. That’s not actually a scientific name, but it is used by some people to distinguish this phase from all the other phases of human nature.

Anger has been condemned endlessly by many philosophers, spiritual leaders, and even scientists for hundreds of years. A sudden outburst of this strong emotion, most of the time, if not always, leads to harmful consequences. Furthermore, sometimes the results are fatal to someone else’s life.

The most irritating thing about anger is that it flares up suddenly, ready to explode at a moment’s notice, as if it will consume the entire world. The question is, what makes anger such a difficult beast to tame? Why does that emotion seem to be so much stronger than the others?

The Science Behind Anger

Consider a situation that regularly makes you angry. Now, the amygdala, the part of the brain that is responsible for responses to outside stimuli, triggers the release of a type of neurotransmitter called ‘catecholamines’.  These encourage fatty deposits to accumulate in the heart and carotid arteries, making you feel a sudden burst of energy, and ultimately preparing you for a ‘physical battle’. Two other hormones are also released that increase your blood pressure. Blood rushes to your head at a fast pace, which is why your face appears red when you’re angry.

What’s the Solution?

Fortunately or unfortunately, everything depends on how good you are at controlling your actions. The pre-frontal cortex, which is responsible for self-control, is the part of the brain that is affected when anger hits. This is not only applicable to anger; whenever you’re faced with a situation and are supposed to make a conscious decision, the pre-frontal cortex comes into play. Therefore, to better control anger, that’s the part of the brain that you need to make stronger.

Some remedies to solve quick bursts of anger include taking deep breaths when you feel anger rising up inside your head. Some psychologists also suggest counting from 1 to 10 slowly in your head. Try this technique and soon, you will realize that your anger has faded and your emotions are returning to normal.

References:

  1. Anger – How It Affects People – Better Health Channel
  2. How Stuff Works
  3. National Geographic
  4. How Do Thoughts Emotions Impact Health – Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing – University of Minnesota
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About the Author:

Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spends a lot of time watching movies, and an awful lot more time discussing them. He likes Harry Potter and the Avengers, and obsesses over how thoroughly Science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.

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