When we get angry, our rational prefrontal lobes shut down and the reflexive back areas of the brain take over. The left hemisphere also becomes more stimulated as the brain’s hormonal and cardiovascular responses kick in.
A tense body pumps out cholesterol and a group of chemicals called catecholamines, which encourage fatty deposits to pile up in the heart and carotid arteries. That’s why angry people are three times more likely to have a heart attack than those less prone to fury.
The fight-or-flight response can prompt your nervous system to cut blood flow to your stomach and divert it to your muscles, impacting intestinal tract contractions and digestive secretions. Stress can also increase stomach acids.
Anger causes a surge in the stress hormone cortisol, which bumps up oil production and leads to acne and other skin problems.
During frequent and prolonged eruptions of rage, parts of the nervous system become highly activated, making it difficult to return to a relaxed state and, over time, affecting the immune system.
How to control anger? Whenever you catch yourself getting angry, retrain your brain to calm down in your own interest. Breathe deep. It helps slow down your heart rate and focus on other, diversionary things.
Exercise provides an outlet for aggression and stimulates feel-good chemicals.
But, above all, meditate! That is the most effective long-term antidote for anger.