Anger may be one of the most, if not the most destructive emotion that we humans have. It manifests in ways that could directly harm not only other people but including yourself also. Anger is expressed in a variety of ways, it could be revealed quietly, or in an extremely violent way just like, you know, the big green being that trashes everything in its path when it emerges. In this Article we will talk about what anger does to our being and how you can unload it healthily.
Not many know about how anger impacts ones being other than the externally perceivable incidents such as violence and hostility (verbally and physically). But aside from that, we should be aware that anger also affects the inner workings of our body, both physiologically and psychologically. This is what this article will be about. But before that, let us first have a better understanding of “anger.”
What is Anger?
Anger is one of our fundamental emotions (Shahsavarani and Noohi, 2014). Also, it is one of the most critical and influential emotions with behavioral manifestations (Yadav, Yadav, and Sapkota, 2016). It is an emotional response to an internal or an external event that can be perceived as threatening, violating, or any semblance of “injustice.” Anger is also commonly theorized as an adaptive response and is believed to have an evolutionary purpose in keeping danger at bay (Understanding Anger, Article).
What makes us Angry?
Why we get angry varies from person to person, more often than not, we learn it from the experience we get from our childhood (except for those who didn’t grow up with their families). Hence, our upbringing plays a huge role in the development of that aspect in or lives. For example, some families encourage the members to open up and be assertive on how they express their feelings, some, like in my case, were taught not to talk back or express ourselves regardless of the reason, so, I somehow learned how to suppress and wallow on my anger internally (consciously or not, I’m not sure), which had me imploding at some point in my life (but I’m already over it long ago, I think?).
Cultural, educational and other external stimuli also play a part of it, and of course, our genetic or biological makeup as well, only, the degree on how each of those factors as mentioned earlier shapes our “anger” may vary depending on our circumstances (Understanding Anger, Article).
How we may express our anger
How our anger manifests also differs from person to person, some would just lash out like crazy, some would just give you a silent treatment, some would just wallow in their anger, and some are just flat out badass in expressing their anger. So here, we’ll present to you the four basic styles of anger expression/manifestation.
These are the 4 primary manifestations: Aggressive; Passive/Aggressive; Passive; and Assertive (Understanding Anger, Article).
Anger is outwardly released or let loose.
Like turning green and trashing everything around you, pretty scary, especially for a little kid, right? Traumatizing!
Agreeable on the outside, but indirect aggression is being hurled at you.
Like giving you the cold shoulder or a death stare. Awkward….
Suppression of anger or “locking it up.”
Like….. I can’t think of any. How about you? I need help.
Anger is expressed in a civilized manner and appropriately communicated when necessary.
Like a cool dude saying “hey, what you did was wrong but what’s done is done, so, can we just move along with our lives? Anger is tiring and toxic ya know.” I guess this is kind of way over the top cool, but, I think you get what I mean.
(Understanding Anger, Article)
How anger impacts our body (Physiologically and Psychologically)
“Many biological reactions jump up as one gets angry, the changes are brought in the body is due to brain neural activating system such as noradrenergic system release brush of catecholamine that has systemic effect such depicted as an alteration in physiology such as acceleration of heart, rising of blood pressure, and rate of respiration as well as flushing of face due to increased blood flow attributed to physical action” (Yadav, Yadav and Sapkota, 2016).
Doesn’t sound as bad, right? But wait, there’s more.
A review based on 44 studies in 2009 showed that demonstrating anger and hostility is significantly associated with cardiac disease, the frequency of your anger plays a part too, the more frequent one gets angry, the higher the risk of getting heart disease (Yadav, Yadav and Sapkota, 2016).
Anger also affects us negatively psychologically; it causes chemical and hormonal imbalances that mess up our body’s metabolism. Sometimes, it also leads to overeating, which then results in unhealthy weight gains. Also, stress brought by anger provokes our stomach’s parietal cell to produce too much acid that occurs to gastric ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Studies also suggest that chronic-angry people are more susceptible to a bunch of illnesses such as colds, flu, skin diseases, asthma, and arthritis (Yadav, Yadav and Sapkota, 2016).
Anger also has unique effects on our decision-making abilities and judgments. Research showed that incidental anger (from watching movies or memories that evokes anger) is carried over to an unrelated event, for example, a parent physically punishing their child excessively due to the anger that they felt towards their employer whom which they could not confront due to their career circumstance. It has also been found out that angry people are less trusting and more likely to be prejudiced towards an outgroup (people that do not belong to one’s social circle, for example, a person from a different religion) than non-angry people (PM Litvak et al., 2010).
It’s a little bit concerning now, right?
Why should we release our anger?
Pent-up anger or unexpressed anger is something that we should watch out for, we may think that lashing out is not a good thing that’s why we try to keep it within ourselves for as long as we can. However, by doing so, we are exposing ourselves to another form of danger. According to experts, unexpressed anger may transform into self-destructive mood or emotion or attitude such as difficulty in sleeping, being on edge most of the time, getting irritated quickly and irrationally, and worse, it may lead to depression and anxiety (Lindberg, 2019). In addition to those, unexpressed anger may also cause chronic pain (e.g. typically back pain, jaw and neck pain and headaches), digestive problems (e.g. stomach ulcers and constipation), sarcastic attitude or being rude for no real reason, passive/aggressive communication style and worse, developing an addictive behavior (e.g. drugs, gambling and drinking) (Davies, 2017).
Ways to release your anger in a healthy way
Just because we’re not supposed to suppress our anger doesn’t mean we could just turn green and wreak havoc in this world, there are better ways of handling or dealing with your anger. Unless you do not really care about your own well-being and your loved ones, then by all means, “Smash!”.
Here are some ways on how you can unload your anger better:
Exercise such as running, biking, or dancing is an excellent way to release your anger. Your brain will release chemicals that will aid in stabilizing your mood. (Let’s get moving then!)
This will help us calm down. (Let’s take deep breaths now. Inhale…. Exhale….)
Write it out
Writing your thoughts will help you understand the situation better, it’ll put things into a much better perspective. From that, you can now assess your anger better and find healthier ways on how to deal with it. (Now, where’s my pen and paper?)
Holding on to that anger is such a pain in the behind, so why to dwell on it, I know it’s easier said than done, but, you know, just let go of it. It helps. (oops! I dropped it.).
The first step to free yourself from your anger is self-awareness, how could you let go of it if you do not know or you could not accept the fact that you are in anguish in the first place? And then educate yourself, there’s a lot of means or ways to do that, your willingness to act on it is the only factor that matters.
And after all the trouble of trying all these on your own and none of them works even in the slightest, then you might wanna seek professional help. I think you know better (peace!!).
“Showing enough anger appropriately fends off some of the devils that surround you,
A little more will increase their numbers,
Express your you anger unreasonably and excessively? Now, you are one of them.
If you like to read more, check this out: Do we need conflict?