How to Stop Feeling Angry at Work
Have you ever overreacted with anger to your colleagues’, manager’s, suppliers’ or customer’s comments or actions? Do you find yourself getting angry over the smallest things? Are you prone to road rage, screaming, yelling or bullying behaviour? How much is that anger affecting your professional relationships, reputation and career/business success?
Anger in the workplace is common with one recent study showing that 51% of people express anger while at work, for a range of reasons. As humans we have many emotions, including anger, happiness, fear, confidence, rejection and motivation. Emotions are our way of knowing that something feels comfortable or uncomfortable for us. Therefore, paying attention to our emotions is very important.
When is anger appropriate?
It is human to feel emotion – the question is whether the emotion is in or out of proportion to the situation we are facing. Sometimes we may feel appropriate anger when a colleague, manager, supplier or customer says or does things that are unreasonable for us. For example, when they call us names, put us down, take advantage of our good nature, harass or bully us, etc.
If the anger we feel is in proportion to the situation that we are in, then the anger we feel is appropriate. Any time we overreact or experience anger which is out of proportion to the situation we are in, it is a sign that we have unresolved anger from the past (i.e. you are feeling the anger of the moment plus the anger of the past which is coming up for you to address).
Some people express their anger and others suppress it. Either way, if the anger is unresolved for a period of time, it has the potential to create health problems, such as heart attacks and heart disease. In addition, anger can result in very hurtful and disempowering conversations with your colleagues, manager, suppliers and clients, which can sour those relationships. Out of proportion anger can also manifest in bullying behaviour towards other people (which could be in breach of the new anti-bullying laws), with significant emotional, psychological, health and financial consequences for the people and the business involved.
Here are the top 3 ways to identify any possible anger issues:
1. Overreacting to situations with anger eg. road rage in traffic, lots of swearing at seeing a full inbox of emails.
2. Overreacting to people with anger eg. being very short tempered at other people’s requests, verbal abuse, bullying behaviour, physical violence.
3. Beating up on yourself too much or being overly critical or judgemental of yourself may mean you are angry with yourself. You may even be angry at yourself for not doing the things you want to be doing or for not doing the things that you said you would do.
It is important to take responsibility for the anger you feel because you are the one feeling it, rather than blaming your colleagues, manager, supplier or customer for making you feel angry.
Managing vs Addressing Past Anger
You can learn to deal with anger and to manage it as it comes up. This is only a temporary solution because the underlying anger will still be unresolved and will still be pushing your “buttons” and causing you to overreact. Screaming, yelling and expressing the anger will only make the situation worse over time as it only serves to intensify the underlying anger.
A more lasting solution is to deal with the underlying anger. The best way to be free of the anger once and for all is to address it in a safe and comfortable way, without having to relive the anger or the trauma of the past in order to let it go. It is also important to learn from the anger of the past as this will help you to more easily let it go, as well as protect you from creating the same angry situations or attracting angry people in the future.
Once the past anger is addressed, you will react to what your colleagues, manager, suppliers and customers say and do in proportion to the situation. Imagine being free of your past anger and enjoying more harmonious professional relationships, a positive reputation and greater success.
Quickly and Permanently Address Your Anger & Create Empowering Personal and Professional Relationships
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