Anger, anger everywhere
Many people say they have trouble controlling their anger, but few admit to seeking help for their problems. This may mean that anger in the general population is severely under-managed and as a result may have detrimental effects on family, work and overall wellbeing for a great many people.
What gets your goat?
Everyone gets angry about different things. In today’s society, travelling, technology failure and turbulent relationships with friends, loved ones and work colleagues are common sources of anger. Although these situations are modern, the underlying triggers for anger are much the same today as they were for our ancestors. For example, you may become angry if you or your loved ones are under physical threat, if you’re losing a battle for resources, or if someone attempts to destroy a principle you hold dear. Anger has evolved to keep your body and mind stimulated and ready for action in stressful situations.
When something makes you angry you can feel a wide range of emotions. These emotions have a direct, physiological impact on the rest of your body: your heart starts to beat faster; your blood pressure and temperature rise; your breathing rate increases; and you sweat more.
Different people express their anger in different ways. You may react immediately to whatever has prompted your anger or suppress your feelings completely. Built-up anger may cause you to explode when faced with difficult situations – some people describe this feeling as ‘seeing red’.
Most people are able to keep their anger under control, but if you feel you’re unable to cope with your temper or if it’s affecting those around you, see a doctor or counsellor for advice.
Anger – one letter short of danger
The physical effects of anger can affect your health both in the short and long term. Regular and intense periods of anger may lead to problems with your:
- digestion – contributing to the development of conditions such as ulcerative colitis (inflammation and ulcers in the lining of your large bowel), gastritis (inflammation of the lining of your stomach) or irritable bowel syndrome
- immune system – making you more likely to catch the flu virus and slow your recovery from accidents or operations
- heart and circulatory system – increasing your risk of coronary heart disease or a stroke
- mental wellbeing – including depression, addiction, self-harm, compulsion and bullying behaviour
If your anger is causing problems then you may be recommended treatment, perhaps including medicines.