The work place can be one of the most challenging environments for avoiding interpersonal conflict and frustration. Whether it is that particular coworker who knows just how to push your buttons or the frustration of not getting a promised promotion or raise, the potential for anger certainly exists at work.
So how do you go about keeping your cool when circumstances threaten to get the best of you? These anger management tips will give you practical, effective ways of keeping sane at work.
Identify the Triggers
What is making you angry at work? It can be helpful to keep an anger journal to recount the specific incidents that really ruffle your feathers. While you cannot control what other people do, recognizing what sets you off is the first step toward taking control and staying cool at work.
Avoid Your Triggers
Not all situations are avoidable, but if you know that Bob, your arch nemesis coworker, is going to wander by your cubicle on his lunch break to taunt you into a confrontation, either get mentally prepared beforehand and focus on keeping calm, or make a point to be doing something else when he might walk by. Learn to control what you can control and let go of the rest.
Create Immediate Coping Strategies
To really gain control of your anger, you need to create both immediate and long term strategies to manage it. When you are in the moment and anger threatens to overwhelm, do one or more of the following:
- Take several deep breaths
- Count to ten
- Ask yourself what you will gain by losing your temper
- Create a motivator for staying calm, such as a special purchase or treat and focus on that
Create Long Term Coping Strategies
The effects of stress are physical and tangible. The American Psychological Association lists the body systems that are negatively affected by stress; virtually every part of our body will experience side effects from stress. Consider longer term strategies such as exercise, meditation and healthy eating to boost your health and immune system while lowering your stress level and helping you relax. The more you nourish your mind and body, the better you will be able to resist in stressful work situations. This is one of the most effective—and time consuming—anger management tips.
Reward Yourself for Keeping Calm
Positive reinforcement is an effective way to bring about positive changes. Set goals for yourself, such as not losing your temper or getting enraged for a two week period. Then create a suitable reward. Two weeks might get you a special dinner out, while the reward for staying calm for a month or two might be a more expensive treat you can splurge on. Keep those rewards in mind when anger threatens and be sure to make them things you really want to earn.
Anger is a very serious issue in the work place and an equally serious threat to your health. Only you can control how you respond to stressful situations, so learning to refocus your energy, control your thoughts and temper your reaction are among the first anger management tips you need to master. With these, you will find your stress level reducing and you might even begin looking forward to work again.