Nov 1, 2022

The Neurobiology of Anger

There has been a longtime argument about anger and how best to manage our emotions. Everyone has a different personality and biological makeup, which certainly plays a role in affecting how anger manifests itself in us.

Anger doesn’t just end with you and me, it’s a universal feeling. An intense emotion that is characterized by displeasure and antagonism towards the source of provocation. The feeling of anger is a result of different components and happenings in our lives.

Continual stress can result in heightened sensitivity and provocation (the arousal component). It is also expressed by heightened attention to threat and accelerated heart rate which results in increased cardiovascular activities (the cognitive component). That is what the neurobiology of anger is all about; determining the root cause of your anger. Let’s dive deeper into it.

The Neurobiology of Anger; Provocation and Anger

There are Neural systems in our body that are responsible for controlling how we feel anger. These systems include the amygdala, which is regulated by several regions of the frontal cortex; the orbital, medial, and ventrolateral frontal cortex.

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The amygdala which is shaped like an almond is associated with anxiety, fear, anger, and most of all the other emotions that we feel. Healthy people can control how they feel before an outburst, but people who suffer from depressive disorders can barely control how they feel and might react in a manner termed inappropriately.

The amygdala is responsible for identifying threats or provocations and communicating them to your brain. It further sends the alarm before the cortex can analyze the situation and the right actions to take.

Each time we yield to anger, our brains release catecholamines, a neurotransmitter that causes an energy surge thereby causing our muscles to tense. Catecholamines nourish our bodies with lots of energy to push us into taking defensive actions.

When you experience outrage; your heart rate accelerates, your breathing increases, your blood pressure rises, and your muscles tense. All these things happening to your body, at the same time constantly, is in no way healthy for you.

Anger management is therefore increasingly important if you desire to stay healthy for long, and build a better relationship with people. How does that work?

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