Home Latest Articles The Science of Anger | How to Control Your ANGER | Anger Management – Chetna Vasishth | ChetChat

The Science of Anger | How to Control Your ANGER | Anger Management – Chetna Vasishth | ChetChat

by Chetna Vasishth

What do we have in common with the Hulk when we’re stuck in traffic on a Monday morning? Well, we don’t become green or strong but there is one emotion that erupts in us all —  Anger. 

If you feel something like this on your bad days  you’ve come to just the right place. But hold on. Angry Hulk also turns back into peace-loving Bruce Banner. Then how can all of us control our anger? In this video, I’m going to give you

  1. The Science of anger and what causes it, 

      2)   6 tried and tested methods to manage your anger.  

      3)  And 2 bonus tips at the end, 

So let’s get going and make sure you watch right till the end, and leave me a comment below or I will become quite angry. Ha! 

Hey, this is Chetna and you’re watching ChetChat. Let’s begin by talking about the science behind our anger. 

  1. The science of anger

When there is a mismatch between what you expect and what you get (like getting bad marks on an exam you thought went well), your brain’s reward circuit sounds an alarm. Activity is triggered in a small almond-shaped region in the brain called the amygdala, which processes emotions of anxiety, fear and anger.(Pause)

Fear and anger generate a basic stress response called flight or fight—where fear makes us want to flee and anger makes us want to fight. This Amygdala sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus, which is the command center of the body’s nervous system. (Pause) The hypothalamus in turn signals the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidney, to release hormones like adrenaline, epiNEPhrine and norepiNEPhrine. This cocktail of hormones increases our heart beat, breathing, pushes more blood to the face, and floods the muscles with glucose, preparing us for action. 

But whether we actually end up punching someone depends on another part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex responsible for decision-making and reasoning, where emotions are being processed in a more logical manner. 

So if someone points a finger at us wrongly or if someone tries to take advantage of our vulnerability, we lash out at them. Many times we are going through a mix of emotions like   guilt, or sorrow and we deflect these with anger. Comment below and share with me what makes you angry. 

Now, does anger solve problems?

So, if anger is a natural emotion, why is it so bad? According to the American Psychology Association, anger is a “natural adaptive response to threats”. This means that anger is a defense mechanism our mind employs to distract us from underlying problems. But as Plato has very wisely said, “There are two things a person cannot be angry at: what they can help, and what they cannot.”

And on that note, let’s talk about our tried and tested techniques to deal with anger. And in case you are looking for techniques to deal with failure and stress then this will help you (point right) 

How to control anger: 

  • Technique Number One –

Let off steam (gently)— Just like any other emotion, anger also needs to be expressed. But, there’s a right way of doing it. Don’t shout or throw a tantrum. Have a conversation with your friends or parents about why you’re feeling angry. This will make you feel lighter. 

Before we continue with our list of techniques, I want to give a shoutout to Ketaki Karnik whose lovely message got 86 likes from you. And if you want a shout out in my next video, leave me a comment below with the hashtag chetchatters.

  • Technique Number Two –

Don’t let the bottle pop — Author Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than the vessel in which it is poured”. What this means is that the more you hold anger inside you, the more it will corrode you from within. Let’s do a thought experiment to prove this.

Imagine that you are holding a glass of water on your outstretched hand. This glass weighs not more than 100/200g. It’s not heavy. 

You hold it for 5 minutes. No problem. 

You hold it for 15 minutes. You can feel a stretch in your arm. 

Half an hour. Your arm is really starting to hurt now. 

1 hour. Your arm is throbbing. You can’t hold it anymore. You let your arm down and the glass shatters.  

But how do we prevent this shattering/burning? Let me tell you a story 

  • Technique Number Three –

A homemade antidote to anger—  Once upon a time, a woman came to witty Birbal with a problem.  “My husband is always angry.” she said. “Whenever he opens his mouth to speak, he starts fighting. Please give him a medicine”

Birbal was stumped.But he gathered his wits and procured a small bottle for the lady.  

“This is a very special medicine”, he said. “If anyone angers your husband or he feels like fighting, tell him to drink this and count to 10. All the anger will immediately disappear.”

The woman left  pleased and Birbal soon forgot about the matter. A few weeks later, this woman came back, more devastated than before. 

“The medicine was working wonders”, she told Birbal. “But now it’s over. Please give me some more.”

Hearing this, Birbal started laughing. The woman was confused. 

“Do you know what that medicine is?”he asked her

“No,” she replied. 

“That medicine is nothing other than water!” Birbal revealed. “The trick is not in what the medicine is but what it does. Since your husband’s mouth is full, he cannot shout. Since I told him to count from 1-10, his mind uses that time to calm itself down and he is no longer angry!”

Mind you, there is science behind Birbal’s simple trick of counting from 1-10. In this extra time, our bodies do not react according to our amygdala’s fight response but allow for the logical response of the prefrontal cortex to kick in which takes 2 seconds longer to activate.  

Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on what techniques you use effectively to control your anger.

  •  Technique Number Four –

LOL…No really, laugh out loud— Another great way to control your anger is to laugh it away! Try to find the humor in the situation by using funny Snapchat filters or crack jokes with your friends. After all, laughter releases endorphins that produce a feel-good effect on your mind and body.

  • Technique number Five –

Substitute to end dispute! — The substitution method is a Buddhist practice that encourages us to focus on the positive aspects of a person or situation instead of the negative. If you’re angry at the words of your brother, appreciate the helpful actions or motivating thoughts he otherwise shares with you. This will increase empathy and decrease anger. 

  • At number six is Channel your anger –

One thing about anger is that it fills you with a lot of energy. My last tip in controlling anger is making best use of this creative energy, like Lord Shiva’s tandava dance. If you’re angry because you fought with your boyfriend, then go out for that long overdue run in the fresh air. Use your anger energy for some self-care. 

And finally for the two bonus tips:  

Bonus Tip Number one

Mindful Meditation, Kindful Disposition –  Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He answered, “Nothing! But I have lost anger, anxiety, depression and insecurity.” This is because over time meditation decreases the size of the amygdala which processes anger, and enlarges the prefrontal cortex which helps rational thinking. 

Another practice that Buddhists follow alongside meditation is loving kindness. When we wish kindly upon ourselves and others— “May you be happy”, “May I be healthy” —our mind is filled with love and positivity, leaving no space for anger. 

Bonus Tip Number Two –

Whatever the question, art is a great answer— Painting a picture, writing a poem, or playing your guitar will give you just the outlet to process and overcome your feelings. 

So stay happy, spread kindness and keep smiling. And Happy learning


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1 comment

Shivam September 12, 2022 - 9:44 am

I liked the 1st technique you mentioned. Talking gently with the person you are angry with or about a situation you are angry at, will solve the problem.


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