Fight or flight

Fight or flight

When anger strikes, there's a chance things might escalate into something physical. Your body senses this and preps you to either throw down or hightail it out of there.

Adrenaline courses through your veins, your breathing becomes uneven, and your muscles tense up, ready for action. With your emotions running high, it's tough to think straight, and your thoughts become extreme.

Recognizing the warning signs can help you keep things from spiraling out of control. If you catch yourself using a lot of extreme words, it's time to hit pause:

  • Always (e.g., "You always do that")
  • Never ("You never listen to me")
  • Should ("You should do what I want," "You shouldn't be on the roads")
  • Must ("I must be on time," "I mustn't be late")
  • Ought ("People ought to get out of my way")
  • It's not fair

Absolute statements are rarely 100% true, but they can fuel anger – yours and others'. And it just keeps building from there.

To chill out, try exhaling for a few seconds longer than you inhale. This helps prevent your body from going into full-on caveman mode, making you feel calmer and less tense.

Alternatively, burn off that adrenaline by going for a run. Once the adrenaline's gone, you'll feel way more relaxed and happy.