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Six Ways to Handle Your Anger At Work

I get that the workplace is stressful.  We’re all thrown together for 8+ hours a day and have to coexist and with conflicting personalities this isn’t always easy.  We all react to things in different ways, so the likelihood of everyone being peachy at the same time is slim.  When you’re sporting a smile someone is likely to be sporting a frown or even worse a furrowed brow. 

Angry Andy

The topic of anger is interesting when it comes to work—the majority of the time you have to suppress it, but sometimes we can’t help it and it just comes out and hits anyone that gets in our path.  When this happens it is unfortunate because the people you seem to take it out on are people you feel comfortable with—most likely not a boss or a superior, but a peer or lower level employee and they’re probably not the people you’re even angry with.

So when you get mad at work, how should you handle it?  Here are some tips:

  1. Watch for early signs of anger—Paying attention to how you’re feeling is helpful when you start to feel yourself getting angry.  If you’re aware of it, you’ll be better able to control it.

  2. Take a breather—Being able to separate yourself or take a timeout from the workplace will give you some time to compose yourself, so when you return to work you’ll have a clear head and have a better idea of how you want to proceed.

  3. Put yourself in your coworkers’ shoes—If they were angry would you want to work with them?  I’m guessing no.

  4. Laugh it off—This isn’t easy, but if you’re able to take things in stride you’ll be a much healthier person.  It’s been proven that those who live less angry lives will live longer—don’t believe look it up!  I have a coworker that doesn’t take things too seriously and is so confidant with who he is that he doesn’t let things get to him and he doesn’t get angry—I really admire that.

  5. Imagine what you look like when you’re mad—Is this the image you want to portray to your colleagues?  Probably not.

  6. Decide if your anger is justified—If your anger is justified, determine how you’re going to deal with it.  Will you just let it go? Or will you confront who/what made you angry?  If you do confront someone, remember to do it in a professional manner.

Now I know it’s easier said than done to manage your anger, especially while you’re angry—there’s so much adrenalin pumping through your body that you don’t usually stop to think of the consequences, but being aware of your feelings is a start, so if you have an issue with getting angry in the workplace, that’s where I’d start.  At least that’s where I’m going to start.

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