What Really Happens When You Get Angry

Find out what really happens to your body on a physical level when your patience runs out.

What Really Happens When You Get Angry

When we get mad, our rational prefrontal lobes shut down and the reflexive back areas of the brain take over. The left hemisphere also becomes more stimulated as the brain’s hormonal and cardiovascular responses kick in.

A tense body pumps out cholesterol and a group of chemicals called catecholamines, which encourage fatty deposits to pile up in the heart and carotid arteries. It’s no surprise, then, that angry people are three times more likely to have a heart attack than those less prone to fury.

The fight-or-flight response can prompt your nervous system to cut blood flow to your stomach and divert it to your muscles, impacting intestinal-tract contractions and digestive secretions. Stress can also increase stomach acids.

Anger sure ain’t pretty. It causes a surge in the stress hormone cortisol, which bumps up oil production and leads to acne and other skin problems. During prolonged and frequent eruptions of rage, parts of the nervous system become highly activated, making it difficult to return to a relaxed state and, over time, affecting the immune system.

How to Deal

Retrain your brain.
Cognitive restructuring, or “thought stopping,” involves challenging your take on anger-inducing scenarios and revaluating irrational beliefs.

Book an appointment.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can help you learn to spot anger triggers and to control reactions.

Breathe deep.
Bliss out with breathing exercises-they help slow your heart rate and keep your mind focused on something other than the source of your stress.

Sweat it out.
Exercise provides an outlet for aggression and stimulates feel-good brain chemicals.

If anger is a symptom of a bigger problem such as depression, prescription drugs could be a solution. Check with your doctor.

Watch our roundup of YouTube’s most infamous meltdowns.