man with fists on table displaying physical signs of anger

Physical Signs of Anger

Everyone knows what the emotion of anger feels like, but did you know there are also physical warning signs of anger? It’s not always easy to recognize or deal with this emotion, but anger management therapy can help. 

Anger is a negative state during which people have hostile thoughts and display maladaptive behaviors. They often also experience physiological changes, some of which are visible and some of which are not. If you or someone you know might benefit from anger management therapy, reach out to Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609.

How Anger Develops

Anger is a response to unwanted occurrences. An occurrence (which some people call a “trigger”) could be the actions of another person, such as an employer reprimanding you in front of co-workers. 

Alternatively, a trigger could be a circumstance beyond any person’s control. This might be an outing you were looking forward to that is canceled due to bad weather. Oftentimes, anger energizes a person to want to retaliate.

What Happens to Health When Anger Develops?

When a person becomes angry, the autonomic nervous system kicks into high gear. The sympathetic nervous system can also become aroused, which triggers neurochemical and hormonal changes in the body. 

These reactions can lead to increased perspiration and respiration, an increase in blood flow to muscles, and an increase in cardiovascular responding and strength. Systems of the body affected by anger include the cardiovascular, digestive, immune, and central nervous systems. 

There are many long-term physical repercussions of anger, which include an increased risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Stroke
  • Bowel diseases
  • Slower healing of wounds
  • Possible increased risk of cancer

When a person tends to frequently become angry, it’s known as high trait anger. Those who have a high trait of anger more than double their chances of suffering from various coronary events, even if they typically have normal blood pressure. 

Some people become so used to the feeling of anger and the physical changes that come with it that they no longer notice any warning signs.

The Warning Signs of Anger

The previously mentioned signs of anger are internal changes. Other internal warning signs of anger can include feeling dizzy, a tight feeling in the chest, and a churning feeling in the stomach. A person might also get a pounding headache and can even feel the urge to use the bathroom.

There are many outwardly physical changes that can happen when a person is angry, too. Everyone feels anger differently, and people can be prone to experiencing some physical signs of anger more than others. However, some of the most common physical signs of anger include:

  • Feeling hot in the face and neck
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Clenched fists
  • Increased rate of speech
  • Increased voice volume
  • A clenched jaw
  • Grinding the teeth
  • Intense eye contact
  • A furrowed brow
  • Flush or reddened skin on the face

A person who is angry can have difficulty concentrating and might pace around, feeling the need to walk. Anger triggers the body’s flight or fight response, as the adrenal glands release a surge of stress hormones into the bloodstream, including cortisol and adrenaline.

One of the reasons why everyone feels anger differently is because people usually experience other emotions along with anger. Some of these might be confusion, anxiety, fear, frustration, impatience, nervousness, or even sadness or grief. 

Mitigating the Physical Signs of Anger with Promises Behavioral Health

Recognizing physical warning signs of anger is crucial, but it’s only one part of a two-part need. The other is getting help managing that anger. 

Anger management programs can help people not only recognize when they are becoming angry but also learn to control and reduce their anger in healthy, safe ways. If you’re interested in anger management therapy for yourself or a loved one, reach out to our friendly team at Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609.

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