Where does anger come from?
Anger is a reaction which comes from the limbic system of the brain. This is the emotional hub of the brain. As part of this, the amygdala, which creates the fight-flight responses, will make a decision as to which reaction will be created when a trigger is identified. It is an automatic response, anger does NOT come from the thinking part of the brain (cerebral cortex).
Situation –> amygdala —-> review —-> decision
The amygdala does not think about consequences or reasoning, it is a response to the trigger being given. If the situation creates a big enough response, the amygdala overrides thinking and logic and creates an emotional response (anger).
The amygdala will create a surge of hormones in the brain and this is what creates the fight-flight reaction. This surge of emotions is what creates the anger and angry reactions that we visibly see.
Helping children to understand their angry feelings and to identify ways to manage them, particularly when they are younger and do not yet have a prefrontal cortex to help them regulate, is therefore important to help them make sense of their emotions. Anger maps are a tool we can use to start those conversations and help children to reflect on their feelings.
Emotions Map: Anger
- Download and print the emotions map here
- Collect colouring pens or pencils
- Talk about each box and consider how anger affects us
- Discuss regulation strategies we can use to manage angry feelings
- There are some ideas here
Want to learn more?
If you want to learn more about mental health strategies you can join our Level 4 training (here).
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