Dealing with Anger at Work
About one third of our lives are spent at the workplace, so, it’s important to have good relationships with your co-workers. What can you do when you feel yourself become angry with a co-worker or a situation at work? Anger can cause you to sabotage your job and damage your friendships at work.
ANGER is an emotion or a feeling. Anger is a normal human emotion. Anger by itself isn’t a problem but if you remain angry and don’t deal with the anger then it can lead to bigger problems both emotionally and physically. Anger can have both negative and positive effects.
The negative effects of anger:
Interferes and disrupts our thoughts – it can cause problems with concentration and focus. This can cause problems at work if you’re not doing your best.
It can cause negative behavior – anger can cause us to act inappropriately. I have seen anger cause people to lose their job or lose work relationships due to their angry behavior.
If anger persists it can cause physical harm to the body such as stomach problems, low immune system – frequently getting sick, headaches and migraines. I have clients who were so angry with their work situation that they would get sick on Sunday nights due to the stress of going back to work on Monday.
Damages – the residual effects of having an angry episode can cause loss of relationships with spouse, friends, family and relationships at work.
Positive Effects of Anger
Anger can provide the motivation to finish a project or reach a goal. Anger can cause you to find inner strength when you need it the most and be determined to get where you want to be. It has helped some of my clients to ask for a raise or promotion.
Warning – anger can be a warning that a work situation isn’t healthy for you or that a relationship/friendship isn’t good for you. Listen to your body and follow your instincts.
Anger becomes a problem when it is chronic, long term and not handled correctly.
Signs that Anger is becoming a problem:
Frequent outbursts of anger
Can’t control your anger
Anger lasts for a very long time
Anger that leads to violent, aggressive behavior – also, outbursts of anger that makes you feel embarrassed or ashamed laterIt hurts our relationships with others.
Physical signs of anger:
Heart race increases
Blood pressure rises
Why do we become angry?
We become angry due to a result of being frustrated in a situation or relationship, when our needs aren’t being met, when we are in a situation that we are not in control of.
There are different ways to handle anger. Counseling and groups for anger management are often effective. There are breathing techniques used for relaxation.
Technique for dealing with anger: Think of a time when you were angry and answer the following questions.
What was happening at the time of the incident that causes you to get angry?
What was happening before the incident? Was something going on to trigger you? What type of mood were you in? Who were you with? Your environment?
What need did I have that wasn’t being met?
You need to be able to identify WHY you become angry – what triggers you? You can’t fix the problem until you know why. If you can figure out whom or what triggers you to become angry, you can work on fixing the problem. It could be by avoiding certain situations or people. It can be telling a person “what needs aren’t met” so you can work on the problem together, it can be setting a goal to relieve the problem.
One final thought: Every time you feel yourself getting angry, ask yourself: Does anger help fix my problem or reach my goals?