No one really knows what makes people angry. It can be someone cutting you off in traffic or a loved one not listening to you. Coming back home after a long day at work and finding noisy guests can also tick you off. There can be multiple reasons for losing your cool. Anger happens to be a common, and sometimes, healthy emotion. But if you often react to any situation with anger, you are clearly short-tempered. Taming your anger is important if mental health is your priority. Read on to find out the causes of short temper and why it is important to control anger.
To comprehend a short-tempered person, it’s necessary to understand the concept of personality. Personality is an inherent and lasting trait that influences a person’s behaviour, attitudes and thoughts. Someone who possesses an unpredictable disposition or exhibits immediate bursts of anger can be referred to as having a short-tempered personality, explains Dr Ayushi Shukla, Consultant – Psychiatry, MBBS, MD (Psychiatry), SRV Hospitals, Dombivli, Maharashtra.
Common causes of short temper
Many might question why some people are short-tempered. Although there isn’t a single definitive theory to fully explain the origin of short-tempered behaviour, there are a few possible contributing factors –
1. Genetic influence
Genetics plays a major role in a person’s personality traits, including a predisposition to being short-tempered.
2. Neurophysiological factors
Various functional imaging techniques have revealed structural and functional brain abnormalities in people with a short-tempered personality, the expert tells Health Short.
3. Childhood development
Challenging temperaments in infancy can evolve into short-tempered traits. Harsh and inconsistent parenting, family conflicts and childhood trauma might serve as risk factors.
4. Underlying mental health conditions
Short-tempered behaviour is not all about mood swings. It might manifest as an external symptom of an underlying mental disorder. Conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Depression, Psychosis, and Bipolar Disorder can lead to sudden anger outbursts, says the expert.
5. Underlying physical health issues
A short temper might only be the visible part of a larger underlying health issue. Conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, traumatic brain injury and tumors could contribute to such behaviour.
Short temper and health
Having a short temper negatively affects a person’s overall health.
1. Physical health
Sudden bouts of anger can lead to heightened blood pressure and may even trigger panic attacks. Also, existing physical conditions, especially cardiac ailments, could worsen due to such episodes, says Dr Shukla.
2. Mental health
Short-tempered behaviour can contribute to the development of various mental disorders like depression, anxiety and insomnia. People might also make irrational decisions, potentially leading to substance abuse or reckless driving.
3. Social health
A short temper has repercussions on a person’s social relationships across different spheres, including work, home, school and college. You can lose friends or people will simply start ignoring you if you don’t keep your anger in check. After all, no one wants to be around a grumpy person all the time.
Ways to control bad temper
If your anger is adversely affecting your physical, mental or social well-being, taking help from a doctor is crucial. You can also do the following:
• Combine mindfulness, breathing exercises and meditation with professional support to effectively manage anger outbursts.
• Recognise triggers and preemptively plan for such situations.
• Maintain a mood journal to monitor daily emotions, including anger.
• Involvement in extracurricular activities and physical exercises can provide short-tempered people with a constructive outlet for their anger.
You can even have a glass of water to cool down!