Emotions are more than just feelings. They directly affect our physical bodies by triggering a chemical cascade. So while anger is an emotion (or even an excess of emotion), it becomes a physical thing.
I’ve written here before about my own work with anger. You can check that out here:
Needless to say, It was more than my happiness and relationships that were at stake. My physical body was suffering from all that anger too. That’s because anger gets in the body.
Here’s the exact mechanism that takes anger from your brain to your body.
At the first hint of anger, the amygdala part of your brain gets activated. The amygdala is a small, almond shaped portion of the brain and is mostly associated with emotional processes.
The triggering happens faster than you can be aware of it.
The amygdala sets off the stress response system.
The stress response system involves the hypothalamus, the pituitary, and the adrenal glands. (known as the HPA axis)
In short, the hypothalamus is a part of your brain that controls your autonomic nervous system (all the things you do without having to think about them).
The pituitary, among other things, controls and coordinates hormone secreting glands.
Your adrenal glands aren’t part of your brain. They sit on top of your kidneys and they secrete stress hormones along with others.
It’s a near instant chain reaction.
The amygdala signals the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus signals the pituitary via corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH).
The pituitary signals the adrenal glands via adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
Then the adrenal glands release the stress hormones cortisol, adrenalin, and noradrenalin.
Check out this fantastic infographic courtesy of The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (nicabm).
At the right time and in the right amount, we need this stress response system.
The trouble is, many of us are living life in a constant loop of stress and anger.
Even after the anger diminishes, it takes time for the hormones to dissipate in the body. The effects of the hormones last even longer.
Pile on anger after anger after anger, and it’s easy to see how the body can eventually break down as the result.
The physical damage from anger accumulates little by little until eventually you have a full blown problem.
Anger in the body shows up as disease.
Headaches and migraines.
Increased heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood fatty acids.
Increased likelihood of stroke and heart attack.
Lowered bone density.
Slow metabolism (and subsequent obesity).
Decreased blood flow to the digestive system.
Decreased thyroid function.
Weakened immune response.
This is a long, but incomplete, list of all the physical problems that stem from anger. They’re physical problems with an emotional beginning.
This is why most medical interventions have poor results when it comes to chronic and painful conditions.
Most medical interventions are ineffective or short lived because they address the physical problem, but it’s really an emotional problem.
You might be able to find a medicine or a surgery that temporarily puts a patch over the damage, but the stress response system keeps getting triggered.
To really experience healing, you have to get to the root of the problem.
I know this to be true from my education, my career, and my own personal experience. I had recurrent and chronic migraine headaches, severe neck pain, and panic attacks until I healed from anger.
You can heal your life when you heal your anger.
No matter how familiar you are with anger, it isn’t your natural state.
I know it sucks that trauma, unfair events, and disappointments happen in life. They’re going to continue to happen, although possibly fewer of them because you make better decisions when you aren’t angry (more of that coming in part 2).
Staying in the cycle of anger only hurts you over and over again. That’s why I want to help you heal from anger.
Keep reading because I write about healing your life by healing your thoughts and beliefs. I use proven techniques like NLP (neuro linguistic programming), and EFT (emotional freedom technique) to diffuse stuck emotional patterns.
If I can do it, I know you can too.
Part 2 coming soon: Anger is Killing Your Brain Cells .
I want to send you my free guide, “5 Days to More Peace, More Prosperity, and More Happiness”. Click here to get the guide for free!
Visit me at www.christinebradstreet.com