Hanger is a term used in society today to define an emotional state of anger that was triggered from hunger. Hangry is the adjective version of hanger, with the words popularity it was added to the dictionary. I have friends and coworkers that always talk about being hangry if they aren’t able to eat at a reasonable time, but I sense a bit of exaggeration, sometimes. I don’t have any personal experience of hanger, so it is difficult for me to relate. All people should have experienced the feeling of being hungry. I would now bet that many have experienced the feeling of anger that stemmed from being hungry.
So what exactly causes hanger? There may be several factors that contribute to the feeling of being hangry, but the main reason that I believe people suffer from hanger is their blood sugar/glucose level. There is a correlation between low blood sugar/glucose level, hunger, and anger. The combination of hunger and low blood sugar/glucose levels is the proven reason why people suffer from hanger. When you are hungry and have low blood sugar levels, people tend to get irritable, which leads to irrational actions and emotions like anger.
This article from CNN talks about glucose levels dropping as a reason for getting hangry, but it also mentions that hunger and anger are linked because they are both controlled by a common gene. When you are hungry, a natural brain chemical called neuropeptide Y, is released into the brain. This ignites crazy hunger behaviors through a variety of receptors in the brain such as the Y1 receptor. Both neuropeptide Y and Y1 receptor are used to regulate hunger, but also controls our anger. People with high levels of neuropeptide Y seem to show more impulsive aggression.
With that being said, I believe that one’s personality plays a factor into hanger. People that are patient will have less chance of getting hangry, or it may take a while for them to even get hangry. However, we may come across those who do get hangry and even aggressive very quickly. Some people will show hanger a lot quicker than others.
There are some other factors that I believe can contribute to hanger as well. Stress is something that can affect your emotions when hungry and lead to being hangry very easily. One symptom of stress can be irritability or anger. So, being stressed and hungry may be the perfect recipe for possibly getting hangry. I know stress can not always be avoided, but there are ways that can help you better deal with stress. Having a quick snack in your desk at all times could be the possible resolution.
Just like stress, emotional tiredness can contribute to why someone might get hangry. Based on an article from Medical News Today a symptom of emotional tiredness is changing of moods. One of those moods include anger and irritability. Being a parent to an infant and a toddler makes me feel emotionally and physically tired at times. I can understand why people get irritable when emotionally tired. Although I don’t get hangry, I am constantly reminding myself to not react impulsively when I am emotionally drained.
Most importantly, as long as you don’t let your blood sugar levels drop too low and be hungry at the same time you can avoid getting hangry. Hanger can lead to impulsive actions towards people, which could lead to an unpleasant moment that requires forgiveness. If you are someone who gets hangry, my biggest “hangry advice” to you would be don’t skip meals and keep snacks with you at all times. Stay tuned for another blog on what you can do to prevent hanger, so you can avoid “hangry forgiveness.”