What is anger?

Anger is a negative feeling and when it comes in frequencies and intensities and durations that are in the normal range, it can be quite healthy. Unfortunately, when it becomes really intense or really frequent and it is paired with behaviors that are problematic that are aggressive or uncooperative, it can cause big problems and people can run into anger management issues.

From a physiological standpoint, it activates our body to prepare us for dealing with a threat. So what that means is like the fight or flight response, it engages the sympathetic nervous system. And what that’s really doing is preparing our body to handle a physical threat. So glucose, energy is going to be pumped into the arms and legs, so that in the case of anger we are prepared to fight off a predator or a rival in our tribe. Our pupils are going to dilate, which is going to allow in more light and allow us to scan for threats that are potential danger to the organism.

So when anger is used in that way and it’s fairly short, it’s quite healthy. But in our society, oftentimes we are having that kind of a response to threats that might be a threat to our ego or from simple frustration if we are in a traffic jam. And when that’s the case, that kind of physiological response doesn’t really get any kind of release and we often have to suppress it and it can cause all kinds of physical health implications.