Angry, Annoyed, Or Just Hangry? (Part One)
How Hunger Influences Our Emotions!
Darn it! Why isn’t that car moving forward? Why didn’t she keep the towel where I told her to? Why is he so annoying? You’re taking so much time to decide, I don’t feel like going anymore!
The word Hangry has been used in memes since quite a while now and people have used it as an expression of feeling angry when one is hungry. For years we have known that our mental states have an effect on our physical states such as getting migraines out of tension. However, recent research shows that our physical states like hunger can also have an effect on our mental states such as feeling angry, tense, irritated, or unpleasant.
So how does this happen?
Hunger influences mood because it activates bodily systems similar to those when our emotions are involved. This means that, for example, when we feel hungry, our body releases hormones such as Adrenaline and Cortisol. These hormones are associated with stress. So when we feel hungry, we feel feelings similar to those we might feel when we are stressed. We are more prone to feeling tensed, unpleasant, and also more prone to taking actions for it.
Also, we are more likely to be directed by our feelings when we are unaware of them or not paying attention to them. This means that we tend to be more hangry when we are too wrapped up in the world around us, like how a salesperson might have rudely talked to us or how a driver did not give way to us even when we honked the car horn at them. We tend to be so wrapped up in these situations that we almost forget that it could be hunger influencing a portion of how we feel about the situation we are in! In these situations it is important to pay attention to whether our stomachs are growling with hunger or if it’s really all the driver’s fault.
Moreover, people are more likely to feel hangry when they are in negative situations than when they are in positive or neutral situations. The hunger bias takes over us more when confronted with negative stimuli. It doesn’t make sense though. Why would hunger affect us only in negative circumstances? Well, the Affect-as-information theory proposes that we are more likely to use our negative feelings when those feelings match with the circumstances we are in. This makes it easier for us to believe that our feelings of anger, frustration, and irritability are stemming from the negative situation we are in rather than the hunger we are experiencing.
Hear your stomachs first, people.