Anthony Santen Picture

Anthony Santen

S.A.C. Dip. (Adv. Psychotherapy) MCH CLC NLP

  • Do you notice, that when you get angry, you often also feel irritable and frustrated?
  • Are you aware that anger is actually not a feeling, but a reaction?
  • Is it true that men get angry more often than women?

Most people have the capability to get angry, yet some people seem to be more prone than others and 'trigger' more quickly.

Frustration and Irritability

Our brain seems to have unlimited capacity. But actually, nothing is further from the truth.

Take for instance short-term memory function.
Without going into detail, the hippocampus - the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory, has an approximate capacity to store up to three days of new impressions (Novelty).

In order to accept new impressions, the hippocampus must be emptied on a regular basis, and we do this processing with sleep, reverie, day-dreaming, as well as off-line and on-line thought processing.

Someone, then, who's had a lack of sleep, or who is under a lot of stress, has not had the opportunity to clear their hippocampus enough to observe and absorb their next day's barrage of novel impressions.

Irritable Response

Interestingly, as the hippocampus nears capacity, our brain's response is that of self-preservation. This causes us to reject any new stimuli until we have new room in our hippocampus for temporary storage.

Not surprisingly then, the brain must make a decision between 'shutting down' (i.e. sleep or depression) and rejecting stimuli (becoming irritable and non-cooperative)

Maybe this gives you a clearer understanding why you become more irritable towards the end of the day, or even fall asleep during afternoon rush hour.

Anger is a Reaction to Danger

When we're faced with a situation which has no options for solutions or when our brain simply runs out of capacity for short term memory (see above), our brain goes into survival mode. This is often called the limbic hijack.

The limbic hijack is caused by adrenaline and the resulting actions are often named: Freeze, Flight or Fight response.

In case of a real or perceived danger, we most often go through an evaluation which first makes us Freeze, then want to Flee, and only as a last resort, Fight.

Unfortunately, when the hippocampus is full, however, we are no longer working from our full abilities, and the brain panics - sensing danger to which we no longer have the ability to Freeze of Flee, and we resort to fighting.

Our brain feels Anger when it's in Danger (Remove the letter 'D' from Danger....)

Consider the following scenario: You're being faced with an everyday problem and your ability to find solutions has runs out. Consider your brain's response when it is faced with a limited number of options, NONE of which will produce the outcome you're desiring. This places the brain in a no-win situation which it perceives as dangerous. And the result is (D)ANGER.

Anger Management

Using powerful techniques to creatively find alternatives to problems, avoids the brain's limbic hijack and proactively thwarts the anger response.

Anger is a reliable reaction (in your brain), but it doesn't serve the current situation, nor your coping abilities in the future.

Simply overriding anger with will-power, most often results in more frustration and force, not in overcoming the problem of anger at the root.

Let me help you discover your inner strength and ability to overcome the triggers which lead to anger reaction. To embody the control and calm that helps you feel safe within your environment and relationships.

There really always is another way.