“When a cartoon character gets angry, steams comes out the ears, red creeps over the body from head to toe and there may even be an explosion or two. It’s not as entertaining to watch in real life, but the state of anger causes physical effects in us as well. The response varies from person to person, but some symptoms include teeth grinding, fists clenching, flushing, paling, prickly sensations, numbness, sweating, muscle tensions and temperature changes [source: Tavris].” (Edwards)
Anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong. Anger can be healthy in moderate amounts, as it can help express negative emotions.
Anger covers the full range of emotions associated with anger including: resentment, irritability, and frustration.
Excessive anger can cause problems. Increased blood pressure and other physical changes associated with anger make it difficult to think straight and harm your physical and mental health
“In the brain, the amygdala, the part of the brain that deals with emotion, is going crazy. It wants to do something, and the time between a trigger event and a response from the amygdala can be a quarter of a second [source: Ellison]. But at the same time, blood flow is increasing to the frontal lobe, specifically the part of the brain that’s over the left eye. This area controls reasoning and is likely what’s keeping you from hurling a vase across the room. These areas generally balance each other out quickly; according to some research, the neurological response to anger lasts less than two seconds [source: McCarthy]. This is why you get a lot of advice about counting to 10 when angry.” (Edwards)
Pain alone is not enough to cause anger. Anger occurs when pain is combined with some anger-triggering thought.
Thoughts that can trigger anger include personal assessments, assumptions, evaluations, or interpretations of situations that makes people think that someone else is attempting (consciously or not) to hurt them.
The constant flood of stress chemicals and associated metabolic changes that go with recurrent unmanaged anger can eventually cause harm to many different systems of the body.
Some of the short and long-term health problems that have been linked to unmanaged anger include:
- digestion problems, such as abdominal pain
- chest pain/tightness
- weight loss
- increased anxiety
- high blood pressure
- skin problems, such as eczema/itchy skin
- heart attack
- easily irritated
- low energy
“Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” — James 1:20
“And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” – Ephesians 4:26
What can you do to help with your anger?
- Punch/Scream into a pillow
- Write an angry letter and do not send it
- If you feel out of control, walk away from the situation temporarily, until you cool down.
- Recognize and accept the emotion as normal and part of life.
- Try to pinpoint the exact reasons why you feel angry.
- Once you have identified the problem, consider coming up with different strategies on how to remedy the situation.
- Do something physical, such as going for a run or playing sport.