Our emotions guide us and accompany us in life.
Sometimes we feel them so intensely that they kidnap us and we are at their mercy.
The anger is one of those intense emotions that when it arrives, it cancels our capacity for reflection, it takes us away from the peace that is causes a real revolution in our body.
The function of anger is defend ourselves from an attack that can endanger our survival. In the 21st century, the limits that we must defend are more internal than physical, that is why we can feel a lot of anger when someone crosses some of our personal limits.
WHEN THE BRAIN GETS ANGRY
Neuroscience has long studied the correlation of emotions with certain areas of the brain. In the case of anger, it has been discovered that certain brain areas are activated … (Alia-Klein, N., et al., 2020).
The anterior insula: This area is a bridge that connects the limbic system (the “emotional brain”) with the neocortex and all the higher functions that human beings have. The anterior area of the insula is responsible for emotional integration so that we can experience perceptions globally.
The thalamus: This area is responsible for integrating the information that comes from our senses and then directs this information to the cerebral cortex. It is also involved in the appearance of emotional states, so that it is activated by anger.
The Amygdala: Our emotional world is the center. It is very sensitive to stress and external events that endanger our survival. Act like a general alarm It activates the entire body and has the ability to paralyze all brain activity. It is responsible for activating the “fight or flight” response, creating in us the symptoms of stress.
The Pre-frontal Cortex: The frontal lobe is responsible for higher executive functions such as decision making, regulating attention and emotional regulation. We can consciously calm our amygdala through breathing, a behavior that we regulate from our prefrontal cortex.
The prefrontal cortex is capable of calming intense emotions, is responsible for directing attention, controls impulses and is capable of adapting to novel and changing situations. When we feel anger, this area has a lot of work to do.
When we have difficulty regulating anger, we respond in a impulsive And for that reason, when we are angry, we can say things that we think, but that in other circumstances, we would be silent. That is why it is sometimes said that anger can lead us to be more sincere and honest.
I consider this sincerity to be “selfish” and not very empathetic because we want to reduce our discomfort by hurting another person
ANGER IN THE BODY
Looking at the areas of the brain that are activated when we feel anger, it seems obvious that our body emits a stress response, activating the “fight-flight” response and hyperactivating the sympathetic branch of our autonomic central nervous system, especially the adrenal glands.
Feeling the anger … we clench our teeth, clench our fists, raise our voice or yell, our lips thin, sometimes we show our teeth and the skin on our face also becomes red.
Anger inside the body … Tachycardia, hyperventilation, increased blood pressure, body in tension, increased blood glucose for energy to fight. If anger is fleeting, we will mobilize a lot of energy in a short time but our body will recover. If we experience anger almost daily, we will keep our bodies stressed and that will affect our physical and emotional health.
Anger or anger, we can express it or repress it. We can express it totally (physical and verbal aggression) or partially (verbal aggression). Some studies have identified that reactive aggression (the one that occurs in response to an external provocation or threat) occurs in cycles that can be predicted. In humans, rates of physical assault fluctuate with the seasons, the number of daylight hours, and the temperature. Physical aggressions are more common in summer and less in winter (Hood, S., Amir, S., 2018). We are connected to nature and its cycles.
LEARN TO REGULATE ANGER
The causes of anger can be many. Some of them appear in our environment in the form of threat, others are born within us when we feel that another person does not take us seriously or does not respect our personal limits.
It is common for anger or anger to arise suddenly and we express our discomfort, externalizing it in a conflict. The wrath tends to climb very fast and increase in intensity especially if we see signs of provocation from other people.
Whatever it is that drives your anger, know that you can regulate it.
In the face of anger … BREATHE!: This phrase will be very useful when you feel very angry, because with this little rhyme, you will remember that you can regulate it, that you do not have to express it completely. The next time you feel anger visiting you, breathe easy and make an effort to calm your breathing before reacting. It may help to mentally count “1,2,3” to breathe in and “1,2,3” to breathe out. And if you can lengthen the time you spend on exhaling a little, you will calm your body and mind more deeply.
And if you feel that anger is a life partner or you feel daily frustrations that prevent you from living fully, seek help from a psychologist who can teach you more about your emotions and teach you to regulate them.
You already know that I am available to help you … you decide. You can visit my website from here.
Alia-Klein, N., et al. (2020). The feeling of anger: From brain networks no linguistic expressions. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews; 108 (480-497). doi: 10.1016 / j.neurobiorev.2019.12.002.Hood, S., Amir, S. (2018). Biological clocks and rhythms of anger and aggression. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 12: 4. doi: 10.3389 / fnbeh.2018.00004.