There are a couple of different ways we can look at anger.  There is the physical aspect, and there is the thinking aspect.


Back in caveman days when humans lived in caves and had to fight of saber toothed tigers at the door, our bodies developed a wonderful hormone that makes us super strong.  That hormone is adrenaline.  The character “The Incredible Hulk” is an example of how this hormone works.  The person reaches a certain level of anger and then becomes super strong and can fight or run.  Adrenaline is called “the fight or flee hormone.”


Some of the physical changes that happen when our bodies secrete this hormone are: a feeling of hotness, pounding heart, blushing or turning red, muscle tension (like clenching fists, locking jaw, shoulder tension).  At this point our bodies are ready to fight or run away.  With anger, our bodies are getting ready to fight.  With adrenaline surging through the system, the person becomes numb to pain and very strong.  They can almost leap tall buildings at a single bound.  They can also hurt people.


The other way to look at anger is about thinking.  We have certain thoughts that surge through our minds, terrible awful thoughts like “it is the end of the world” or “everything is awful and it will never get better,” or “he meant to personally hurt me.” Those thoughts then push us into action.  If someone has done something to us and we see that it is personal and it is meant to hurt us, and it means the world will end, then we respond powerfully.


Usually when a person gets in trouble with anger it is because they have physically touched, hit, pushed or kicked or thrown something at someone.  The definition of assault” in today’s world is touching someone, even with your pinky. Staying physically and mentally distant from a person when we are mad at them keeps us from being charged with assault.


A person can learn how to manage their thinking and therefore control their anger in group settings thatalso talk about communication and how to listen.  When we are angry and adrenaline is pouring through us, it is very hard to listen to someone.  We want action!  So groups talk about how to improve communication at those times when we are angry. If anger is affecting you and the people you care about, you can change it.

Jay Whitcomb is a licensed clinical
social worker and can be reached
at 889-9167.