Anger is our most energetic emotion. You can fuel yourself with anger to accomplish most of anything in the world. It comes at a price though. The hormones that increase with your anger will wreak total havoc on your body, system by system. I have found most of us get angry when we are disrespected, disobeyed, or betrayed. For each of us, it is a different scenario, but the results are the exact same. Our bodies were not meant to be fueled by anger, and this is the destruction that comes along with holding on to the hurt.
Your nervous system is the first one activated. It is done automatically by your body. The signals are sent out through the hormones in your body, and you will begin to react. Your muscles will tense up and your body will become energized. Your mind has decided that you need to fight and it wants your body ready for the assault. The cardiovascular system kicks into overdrive. Heart is pumping blood like, pardon the pun, mad. It is in overdrive to make sure that whatever muscles are going to be used are oxygenated. This is increasing the pressure that is pumping through your vessels and adding physical stress to their walls. Your face may even become flushed as the internal pressure rises. It’s possible that at this point you have a headache, but you won’t even register that until after the conflict is over. This is all happening within microseconds by the way. Now let’s talk about the digestive system. Your salivary glands will kick in and you will get “spitting mad” (If you’re from the Southern US, I am positive you have heard this saying before). What you won’t immediately recognize is that all of the rest of the digestive system is shutting down. Your bowels are no longer moving and your stomach is creating more and more acid. With your mind encompassed with triggering you, you will not be able to focus on anything but what or whom made you mad in the first place. You will have laser focus as you narrow your eyes to the target. Now you are good and prepared to throw down if it comes to that. After getting in that final word, you are now storming off because you have had enough. Let’s take a look at what happens when you are done being angry.
If you are the type of person that will immediately turn your attention to something different, then it is much easier to calm down. By shifting the focus you just had, you will find a heightened sense of productivity for a while. Your body was just in full on rage mode ready to move, so it’s best if you have a physical project to tackle. If you do, then you will be able to release the potential energy that has been collecting. I believe this is why so many people stomp away when they are angry. Your body is moving and putting in some extra umph. If you have an encounter like this say at work, then it will be a little more difficult to handle. If you have a desk job, then you will find that you bounce or maybe tap the keys a little harder or click the mouse just a little more aggressively. These little things that we do after we are angry are normal. It’s our body’s way of releasing everything that our mind was preparing for. Is it right? Not really, but until you learn to curb the anger or manage it better, it will happen.
Now let’s take a look at the other side: the people that have to hang on to the anger. They replay the fight or argument over and over, just stewing in the anger they were feeling earlier. You are keeping your body in an agitated state and your body will keep you ready for the fight until you let the anger go. This will last for a few hours, but it can last for days. The danger in this is that by keeping yourself primed for action, you’re going to be more excitable. Small things that normally would just roll off suddenly start to bother you. The levels are raised again. With each new anger point, your levels are increased. The more triggers that you experience during this phase, the longer the excitation will last. It would be easy to find yourself in a near perpetual state of anger and internal chaos. You may be the most productive member of your team with all the energy that you are creating, but internally you are abusing your systems worse than almost any outside chemical could.
Everyone is responsible for their anger and controlling it. If you do not get it under control, your physical health will quickly decline. You will have high blood pressure, headaches, and ulcers given enough time. There are several techniques to try and deal with the anger instead of letting it run amuck. Take a moment to actually think before you speak. Stop your mind from letting the anger drive the situation. A simple ten count breath can help you calm yourself physically so that you can process and respond. Take a time out from feeling the anger before you express it. Calmly diffuse the situation and explain that you want to continue the conversation later. Actually letting go of the anger is the best remedy for keeping yourself healthy. Resolve the conflict as reasonably as possible and leave it in the past. Stop ruminating or bringing it back to the present. Anger is one of our most powerful emotions, and learning to deal with it in healthy ways betters everyone’s life.