When you are confronted with the emotion of rage, your body begins to react physically. When you're upset, have you ever observed your heart rate rise or your muscles tense up? It's pretty normal for your body to behave like this. When your anger occurs too frequently and is intense, you have a problem.
What exactly is anger?
Anger is a strong emotion triggered by frustration, hurt, annoyance, or disappointment. It's a common human emotion that might vary from mild irritation to outright wrath.
Anger's Potential Emotional Symptoms
Following are the anger's potential emotional symptoms:
- The yearning to 'get away from it all.’
- Sad or depressing mood.
- Feeling resentful or remorseful.
- Anxiety, or the emotion of being anxious, can show in various ways.
- An urge or feeling to lash out physically or verbally.
What Makes You Angry
As per Pain Management Clinic, a prominent reason for anger is the environment. Anger can be provoked by several things, including stress, financial troubles, abuse, poor social or familial circumstances, and time and energy demands.
Anger issues and alcoholism may be more common in children raised by parents who have the same illness.
How you deal with anger is influenced by your genetics and your body's capacity to deal with particular chemicals and hormones; for example, if your brain doesn't react appropriately to serotonin, you can find it more challenging to control your emotions.
When you're angry, what happens in your brain?
Do you even know what occurs when you become angry? The amygdala, a part of your brain, is activated before you ever realise you're mad. The amygdala is a small, almond-shaped brain area responsible for emotional processing.
The amygdala triggers the stress response system.
To the hypothalamus, the amygdala delivers a distress signal. This activates your body's sympathetic nervous system, producing the 'fight-or-flight' physical response. That activates the body's stress response system, also known as the "HPA axis" by scientists (Hypothalamus, Pituitary, and Adrenal). This sets off a hormonal chain reaction or fire spread throughout the body.
- The autonomic nervous system is controlled by the hypothalamus, which is a component of the brain. (All the things you do without even realising it).
- The pituitary gland regulates and organises hormone-secreting glands, among other things.
- The adrenal glands aren't tied to the brain in any way. They're placed on top of your kidneys and produce stress and other hormones.
Chain of Events
The amygdala delivers a message to the hypothalamus, generating corticotropin-releasing hormone, sending the pituitary gland. By releasing adrenocorticotropic hormone, the pituitary gland alerts the adrenal glands.
The adrenal gland secretes stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.
- Cortisol is a stress hormone released due to low blood glucose levels. It works to raise blood sugar levels, depress the immune system, and enhance fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism.
- Adrenaline increases blood flow, cardiac output, pupil dilation, and blood sugar levels.
- Noradrenalineelevates arousal and alertness while focusing attention and promotes restlessness and anxiety. It raises our blood pressure and heart rate, releases glucose from our energy stores, increases blood flow to skeletal muscle, and decreases blood flow to our digestive system.
These hormones swiftly reach your neurons and cells, leading you to experience a great deal of discomfort and making you feel compelled to act.
Anger harms the brain.
- Weakens short term and long term memory
Cortisol overproduction destroys neurons in the hippocampus and prevents the formation of new ones. This impairs short-term memory and makes it difficult to form new memories. This is also why you could forget what you say in a fight.
- Anger is linked to depression as well
Serotonin — the hormone that makes you joyful — is depleted when too much cortisol. This makes you more prone to feelings of wrath and suffering and increased aggressive behaviour, leading to depression.
- It prevents you from making future sound decisions.
Cortisol overproduction results in the loss of neurons in the prefrontal cortex. This prevents you from making wise choices in the future.
Anger harms your body
The constant rush of stress hormones and associated metabolic changes with unchecked anger can impair various physiological systems. Anger that isn't handled has been linked to several short- and long-term health problems, including:
- The heart rate is higher.
- Blood sugar levels have risen.
- The increased fatty acid level
- Our blood vessels become clogged and damaged due to these symptoms becoming persistent. This may result in a stroke or a heart attack.
- Decreased thyroid functioning
- Number of natural killer cells decreases
- The number of virus-infected cells increases
- Incidence of cancer cells increases
- drop in levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A, the cells' first line of defence against infection
- Blood flow decreases to the digestive system
- Metabolism decreases
- Dry mouth is reported
- Inflammation in the airways
- Lower lungs capacity
- Increases the risk of respiratory diseases
Other body parts
- Pupils dilated
- Vision decline
- Intraocular pressure increases
- Bone density decreases
- Migraines and headache is often reported
- Tension in your muscles
- Skin problems
Anger can cause psychological problems
Anger can cause a variety of psychological issues, including:
- Low self-esteem.
- Eating disorders
- Substance misuse is a problem.
So being angry isn't a bad thing?
- Although rage is commonly thought of as a negative emotion, it can also be beneficial. It energises you and encourages you to act. When you're physically endangered, this is very vital.
- When confronted with a thief, the "flight or fight" response is triggered, which causes your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure to rise. Your muscles get tense.
- You're all set. Either you'll flee swiftly, or you'll hold your ground. Your rage provides you with the strength to do whatever is necessary.
- Individuals can use the energy generated by rage to help them achieve their goals. Younger people, in particular, use anger to overcome obstacles. Unfortunately, as you get older, it doesn't function as effectively, and by the time you're 80, rage is working against you.
- When anger is addressed swiftly and conveyed healthily, it can benefit your health. Anger may assist certain people in thinking more clearly.
- Righteous rage aids in the correction of social and moral wrongs. Efforts to end child abuse or achieve equal rights are two examples. Individuals become active in politics or legal pursuits due to outrage at injustice or lawlessness.
What can I do to help manage my anger?
Battle Pain Clinic suggests anger is a legitimate reaction to injustice and personal boundaries crossed. Because your body perceives anger as stress, learning to control your anger is just as vital as learning to manage your stress.
Here's what you can do if you find yourself reacting in rage the following time:
Physically relaxing tactics include taking a series of long, deep breaths to aid your body's recovery from fight-or-flight. Some people find it helpful to conduct a short series of physical exercises or briskly walk away from the scenario to mislead the body into believing they have battled or fled.
- Recognize and understand recurring anger
If you have recurring episodes of anger in response to various situations, you might want to keep a notebook to help you recognise and understand your triggers. There is no shame in obtaining treatment in therapy or counselling in extreme circumstances.
- Techniques for mental calmness
Being mentally calm in the first place can offer you an edge when presented with an angry circumstance. This could be done daily through meditation, breathing techniques, and regular physical activity.
- Work through forgiveness
The toxicity of rage harms the person who holds on to the anger and bitterness far more than anyone else. Look for methods to embrace forgiveness so that you can live your life to the fullest, free of the poison of hatred in your heart - and body.
- Take care of other sources of stress in your life
According to studies studying the relationship between anger and stress, anger is more widespread when subjected to other types of stress. When you're dealing with stress and is under a lot of pressure, you're more prone to get irritable and short-tempered, and you're more likely to lose your temper around others.
- Manage stress in everyday life
There are a few easy and practical strategies to deal with stress in your daily life:
- Exercise regularly
- Consume a well-balanced, high-amino-acid diet.
- Consider taking a vitamin B supplement.
- Make sure you get enough rest.
- Experiment with different types of meditation, yoga, and prayer.
- Take a break to engage in a hobby, socialise with friends, or enjoy some fresh air.
- Speak with a loved one or a reputable counsellor.
- Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol should be consumed in moderation.
Regularly, we are exposed to various stressors, many of which are beyond our control. Our response to them and our readiness will decide how we ultimately emerge. For your health and mental well-being, as well as the connections you have with others around you, find healthy ways to prepare for and deal with your stress and anger.
It can become a problem when anger affects everyday life and relationships. This could be because they find their feelings of anger overwhelming or challenging to manage, that they express their anger in ways that may harm themselves or others, or that they find it difficult to articulate their rage.
Anger issues can signify sadness, depression, isolation, discrimination, or another mental health problem.
Learning to recognise and express our anger safely and healthily is vital to maintaining good mental health. You can do several things to help healthily manage your anger if you are frequently angry or have difficulty regulating or expressing it.