Day 6: Adrenaline - Don’t Get Mad, Get Moving

As part of Year of the Young People 2018 and in collaboration with Young Scot, the Cyrenians’ Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution (SCCR) is taking us on a tour around the Science of Conflict and our emotions.

Adrenaline (the Brain’s Amazing Action Drug) is the drug over which our conscious minds has the least control throughout our lifetime; after all we need Adrenaline to jump out of harm’s way even before our thinking brains have realised the danger is there. Adrenaline is the brain’s fastest acting chemical and can last in the bloodstream for up to an hour after it’s first triggered!

A bottle full of red/pink liquid labelled Adrenaline

It plays a huge part in the state of being ‘Alert and Engaged’ (keeping us ready to act), but also when we are ‘Anxious and Afraid’ (keeping your senses selective and looking out for trouble) and even ‘Flight or Flight’. So, it can be a tricky customer to manage!

As young people our brains and bodies are still developing, but Adrenaline is triggered as easily and stays in the bloodstream as long as it does in a fully-grown adult, so the effects can feel overwhelming. When Adrenaline is triggered either by a false alarm or real danger your body doesn’t know the difference. If you’re not using up the Adrenaline by running away from real danger, then the Adrenaline that stays in your body can turn into aggression. If you find yourself, stressed, angry or agitated for no reason, then exercising can help use up that Adrenaline in your body in a helpful way. If playing video games is your thing to relax just be careful as games are designed to keep your Adrenaline levels at trigger point so you’ll feel as irritable and agitated when you stop! It’s useful to have conversations about anger and the role Adrenaline has to play. Remember Adrenaline is our brain and body’s way of protecting us and aggression is sometimes just a side-effect from too much Adrenaline left in our bodies.

Orange background. A cartoon image of a body where you can see the organs. The text says "Anxious and afraid. "I have a bad feeling about this""

Top tip: To avoid Adrenaline overwhelming your system, exhale and let a breath flow in and out. Try to take a step back, or a different perspective to avoid confrontation (and more Adrenaline being released).

Join us on Facebook and Twitter @sccrcentre to tell us your #TopTips for reducing feelings or stress, anger and irritability caused by leftover Adrenaline using #CranialCocktail

SCCR images subject to copyright. Illustrations by Hannah Foley, Owling About.