June 17, 2013
Anger: Nothing But Chemical Reactions
One the strongest feeling besides love is anger. People tend do very drastic things when they are angry, whether the anger is towards themselves, someone else, or a situation they are going through. But, if we take a step back and analyze anger solely by what it is, a mixture of chemical reactions and involuntary actions, we can see that anger can be handled quite easily.
Something that extremely annoys you just happened. You start to tense up, suddenly your breathing gets heavy. You start to clench your fists and the rising feeling of punching something/ someone, or storming off gets stronger. If you were to take a trip inside your brain however, you would see what anger truly looks like.
During the event that has caused you to become angry, your amygdala starts to identify that you are under threat or in a hostile environment. As soon as she has identified a threat, she starts send out the alarm. The amygdala is so fast at sending out the alarm, your body knows you are under attack even before your frontal lobe (in charge of making logical decisions) knows. This is why when people get mad, they tend to react before they even have a chance to logically analyze the situation and the aftermath of it.
When the threat is established, and the muscles have started to tense up, your brain will release catecholamine, a neurotransmitter that, once released in a large quantity, will create a large amount of energy that will fill the entire body for several minutes. When this neurotransmitter is released, with the combination of the signals your amygdala is sending, your heart rate is sped up and so is your breathing. Your body does this in order to be prepared to either fight or fly away from the threat. This tension would die down rather quickly after the treat if your brain didn’t quickly release adrenaline and noradrenaline.
Adrenaline and noradrenaline are two neurotransmitters and hormones, which allow the brain and the body to stay aroused longer. These are released to ensure that you have enough power to confront whatever you need to, before you run out of energy. The adrenaline also causes you to do things that physically without it you could never accomplish. Which is why people are able to run further and faster than they would be able to under normal circumstances. The release of these hormones is also the reason that it is very hard to relax right after one has been aroused.
Fortunately, for our health, however, our body eventually goes through a relaxing period, that forces the muscles to relax, blood pressure and blood rate to lower, and breathing to go back to normal. So, next time you are really angry, try to relax and walk away; because no matter what it is, there will come in time when your body no longer feels threaten by whatever situation you are in.
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