Everyone gets mad sometimes. But have you ever wondered what happens physiologically? Here’s what goes on in your body when you get angry, according to rage expert Steven Stosny:
First: You clench your jaw. Over the years, Stosny says we’ve been socialized to suppress our anger – instead of screaming out loud each time we get upset. The problem is that when you hold in anger, you’re more likely to clench your jaw in a way that increases your risk for muscle pain in your neck, headaches, and fractured teeth.
The next thing that happens when you get angry: Your body pumps more adrenaline. Experts say that adrenaline rush is part of our natural “fight or flight response,” because it causes your heart to work harder to pump blood to organs and muscles – in case you need to run. But if you don’t run, all the extra blood pumping will leave you with swollen feet and shaky legs.
Also: Your stomach goes into overdrive. When you feel angry, adrenaline causes your stomach to quickly digest food, so you can fight more efficiently. Depending on what you’ve eaten, that can leave you feeling nauseous.
Another thing that happens when you’re angry: Your shoulders get tense. Anger causes you to naturally draw up your torso to look more menacing. But constant tension in your shoulders can trigger back pain and a sore neck.
But know this: The physical affects of getting angry can wear your body down over time, leading to high blood pressure, depression and heart disease. So ask yourself: Will this matter in five days, five weeks, or five years? If not. Let it go.