Hello young learners,
This is me, Kiki, and I am excited to welcome you back to another edition of my Knowledge Corner. I was excited to go into the lab today, but I got delayed on the way. This made me angry.
I realised that I have become angry about certain things in the past and began to wonder – why do I get angry? So today, let’s explore the reasons and the science behind why we get angry.
The brain’s reward circuit
The brain’s capacity to be angry is because of the way it is wired. Millions of years of evolution have programmed human beings to be angry at specific outcomes. The human brain is programmed to expect certain things like smooth travel or uninterrupted sleep. This is called the brain’s reward circuit.
But when reality doesn’t align with the expectations of the brain, a portion of the brain called the amygdala (say: a-mid-gala) activates. It is a small almond-sized portion in the brain that makes your body react in anger.
Aargh! You are angry!
When the amygdala of your brain activates, your body’s stress response level rises, hormones like adrenaline and testosterone are released, and your heart rate increases. Nerve transmission signals called catecholamines are passed inside the brain, causing you to experience a sudden spurt of energy. Your muscles also become tense, and your face becomes flushed or red. Your attention narrows down and is focused only on your anger.
You also tend to exhibit signs of aggression, like wanting to beat up someone or just shout to express your anger. You are now ready to fight.
The brain calms down
You might feel your reactions get out of control, and for you to become the Incredible Hulk! However, the possibility of this happening is less. That’s because another section of your brain, called the prefrontal cortex, steps in to regulate your emotions and your body’s response.
The prefrontal cortex is responsible for judgement and is located just behind the forehead.
Right after your hormones and emotions are triggered, the prefrontal cortex steps in and manages your emotions – its role is to maintain a balance. To control your anger, your prefrontal cortex must have more control over the impulses triggered by the amygdala. In other words, you need to think positive thoughts and let your emotions be contained.
Why you must calm down?
You now know what happens in your brain and body when you get angry and how the prefrontal cortex restores balance. However, you need to take some steps to ensure that. Excessive anger is known to cause gastrointestinal (the stomach and intestines) and other health complications.
Let’s explore ways to calm down when you get angry.
It’s also important to note that you need to avoid watching or reading excessively violent content as it will lead your brain to normalise anger. As a result, you might tend to get unnecessarily angry and express it in unhealthy ways like an outburst or a meltdown.
You can also play cheer-up games to channelise your anger into something fun.
A game to cheer you up
Here is a game to cheer you up when you get angry. Remember to play this game when you are beginning to feel angry. You can also recommend this game to others to help manage their anger in a better way.
|No on the dice||Activity||How to do it|
Look into the mirror and say ‘I am very happy!!
Rub your hands together, raise them above your head, and say ‘oooh aah’!
|3||Rain rain, come again
Say pitter patter, pitter patter, I feel a lot better.
Clap a little, snap a little, say ‘oh yay’!
|5||Raise the roof
Pump up and down your arms and say ‘Woot’ as loud as you can.
Move your hands up and down and do the disco!
You can also recommend this game to others to help manage their anger in a better way. Share your experience with the activity in the comments.
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