Anger and Diet: How Does Food Affect Your Mood?
Anger triggers a ‘fight or flight’ response in us which releases stress hormones in our bodies.
Who doesn’t feel like swearing at the ill-mannered drivers on the road? Doesn’t your blood pressure shoot up when your kids don’t listen to you? Though literary experts and writers have identified the emotion of ‘anger’ as one of the nine vital rasas (aesthetic essence) of life, but too much of this anger might prove harmful for your health.
When You Can’t Control Your Anger
Anger is an important emotion and if used correctly at the right time then it can be quite useful, but when the same anger gets uncontrollable then it can ruin relationships and the task at hand.
Anger beyond a certain level affects your mental and your physical health.
Anger triggers a ‘fight or flight’ response in us which releases stress hormones in our bodies. This can make one prone to hypertension, headaches, tension and even depression in some cases.
The Link Between Food and Mood
Remember, as a child, when you would flare up and your grandma would ask what had you eaten?
While the link between food and your mood is anecdotal but a recent research done by University of California’s professor Beatrice Golomb found that higher consumption of trans fats was associated with greater than average levels of anger and aggression.
Indian food items like samosa, pakoda, chole bhature are rich in trans fats especially when cooked outside.
It was found that trans fat interfered with the metabolism of the omega 3 fatty acids. Earlier it was also found that the deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids in a person might lead to unruly behaviour and might also make one more prone to issues like depression.
As per Dr Richardson, who runs a research facility called Food and Behavior Research at Oxford University, studies done in certain prisons show that low blood sugar levels might make one moody.
Criminologist at the Oxford University, Dr Bernard Gesch, in a study, found that prison inmates who were given a daily dose of multivitamins and omega 3 fatty acid supplements (as compared to those who were given placebo) reported a one-third reduction in cases of violence.
What Does Ayurveda Say?
As per Ayurveda, food has a huge role to play when it comes to anger management. People who get angry a lot must avoid foods which create imbalance or disorder in our bodies (tamsik foods). Excess consumption of alcohol and meat also hinders the process of anger management.
Physical & Mental Exercises Have a Calming Effect
Physical exercises help a lot when it comes to anger management. Exercise helps regulate the blood flow in the body which in turn releases happy hormones. These help one use the power of discretion thus making him capable of taking the right decision.
There are a lot of physical and mental exercises which can help one relax the body and the mind. Practicing activities like aerobics or outdoor activities like swimming, badminton etc can help one control his anger.
Practicing yoga and breathing exercises like pranayama on a regular basis can alter one’s personality and help the mind become calm. Yoga nidra or yogic sleep is known to help control anger issues. But do ensure that all exercises are strictly performed under expert guidance.
Ways To Control One’s Anger
Many people prefer to find a solution to anger and stress in alcohol and drugs but little do they know that these only worsen the issue. Drugs make the mind completely emotionless so the person becomes clueless about what is troubling him and instead gets entangled in his troubles even further.
So how to control anger?
1. Think and Talk
We often regret the things we say when we are angry for the rest of our lives. It is important to think for a few moments before expressing yourself, especially when you are angry.
But suppressing your anger is not the solution to this issue. So it is advisable to calm down a little and then express your views in front of the other person. But do it in a manner which doesn’t hurt or offend them.
2. Understand the Cause of Your Anger
It is important to identify, understand and find solutions to the underlying causes of anger like insecurity, jealously etc. Learn to accept your mistakes and make sure to express yourself in a manner so as not to put the entire blame on the other person.
3. Learn To Forgive
The act of forgiveness is one of the best solutions to anger management. Many experts believe that forgiveness helps one get rid of negative emotions and helps you calm down.
And obviously, don’t keep thinking about the things that made you angry in the first place.
Shift your focus to other activities and please don’t become one of those nitpicking, fussy individuals.
(Dr Ashwini Setya is a Gastroenterologist and Programme Director in Delhi’s Max Super Speciality Hospital. His endeavour is to help people lead a healthy life without medication. He can be reached at email@example.com.)
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