Why do we get angry?
Take a moment to think about a time when you were really angry.
What was happening in your body? Maybe your face felt hot? Or your palms started sweating?
When we feel an emotion, it’s not just happening in our head – our whole body experiences it.
Our mind is constantly in communication with our body. Together, they are sharing information about whether we are safe, or in danger. If our mind senses a threat, it can start a stress response which you may have heard of…
It’s called Fight, Flight or Freeze.
As soon as our brain sense threat, it floods us with hormones to make us do one of three things:
- Fight the danger
- Flee (run away from) the danger
- Freeze on the spot, so we don’t draw attention to ourselves
If our brain decides we need to fight the threat, our heart rate increases and our blood pressure rises. This ensures that our muscles have a good blood supply.
Our muscles tense, our face flushes, and we speak more loudly – a way to intimidate the danger and alert it to the fact that we’re ready to fight.
In prehistoric times, this gave us the best chance of escaping from serious danger, and it has been our body’s natural response for the whole of human history.
How Do I Stop Myself From Getting Angry?
Stopping ourselves from getting angry can be a pretty difficult task, especially if we feel like the situation is asking for us to respond that way. But often, we can overreact to things, or what might be small appears larger, and we can get angry for little reason. It’s then what we do when we are angry that can have big consequences for us and those around us.
Here are some super fast top tips to calm down:
- Pause, and breathe
- Go for a walk or remove yourself from the situation
- Take it out on a cushion if you feel you have to
- Channel your energy into something constructive – do some exercise, write in a journal, do something creative that will help you take your mind off the situation