How To Control Your Anger In The Office

By Subodh / December 12, 2013

The boss’s blue-eyed boy got the promotion you were hoping for. The damn hard disk crashed and you lost the presentation you’d been working on for days. One of your associates can’t stop being sarcastic. Or did your leave application just get turned down? There can be several triggers for anger in workplace. You can control your anger in the office if you know more about what anger is, what causes it, how it makes us react, and how to prevent and manage it.

What is Anger?

Psychologically, anger is an elevated, negative emotional state which makes a person to behave aggressively. Physiologically, the emotion releases adrenalin and raises blood pressure, preparing the body for an offensive-defensive response. And socially, anger can be devastating for the environment and people around the angry person. Anger mostly makes us act irrationally and in ways that we almost always regret later on.

It is natural, even necessary, for every person to feel some amount of anger under certain circumstances. Anger is a part of our survival mechanism and helps us surmount different challenges in life. It is not possible to eliminate anger, but it can and must be controlled, managed and channelized to more positive ways of expression.

Anger In The Office

What Causes Anger?

The threshold for anger is different in different people. Some people are more passive than others. Others want things done their way and get angry when people don’t accede to their demands. Although everyone feels a certain degree of frustration and disappointment when things are not done the way they want, the people who are more susceptible to anger are flared up and lash out in different ways.

How to Control Anger in Office?

Everyone can be angry once in a while. However, people who tend to get angry more often need to do something to control their anger and its expression at workplace. There can be times when the reason for your anger might be genuine, and the person you are angry at might actually be wrong. That, however, doesn’t justify the actions you take or the colourful language you use when you are angry. Here are a few tips that can help you manage your anger better.

  1. Get Away from the Trigger: Anger wells up suddenly and gives you little time to think. Reacting immediately is always counterproductive, as your response is irrational when you are outraged. Remember, that anger is just a passing emotion and its intensity mellows down if you give it some time. Whenever you feel your temper rising, it’s better to change your environment and get away from the situation or the person that’s causing your anger to aggravate. Remove yourself from the scene, calm down, and then think about what your response should be.
  2. Tell Yourself to Relax: There are numerous relaxation techniques that you can adopt in order to avoid reacting impulsively.
    a. Deep Breathing: Breathe deeply from your diaphragm, not just your lungs. Think as if the breath is coming from your stomach
    b. Calm Words: Quietly say words such as ‘relax’ or ‘calm down’ whenever you feel your anger rising.
    c. Relaxing Imagery: Imagine that you are in a relaxing environment. A place you visited in vacations or a place you’d like to be at.
    d. Muscle Relaxation: There are different deep muscle relaxation exercises that can help you calm down whenever your mind is heating up.
  3. Restructure Your Thoughts: Change your thoughts, and you’ll change your world. If you find yourself fuming a bit too often, you might need to change your perception about different things. Start by telling yourself that anger never solves any problem. You may be a demanding person, but remember that every person has demands and feels disappointed when things are not going as they want. When you are at work, it is much better to think of your demands or expectations as your wishes. This way, you’ll not feel exasperated when others don’t behave the way you ‘wish’ them to. Remind yourself not to use words such as ‘never’, ‘always’, and other emotionally charged expressions when you are angry.
  4. Communicate with Your Co-workers: It is very important to let people know what causes you to blow off your lid. Most of them would be careful not to step on your sensitivities. The worst thing you could do after a bout of aggression would be to stonewall and suppress the anger inside you. This hidden anger could exhibit itself at other places, quite irrationally. Instead, approach the person(s) who you thought were responsible for making you feel bad. Talk to them calmly and let them know what particularly you did not like about their behaviour.