Hot under the collar? 4 ways to manage anger at work

May 24, 2017

Everybody gets angry from time to time, and how you respond to your anger can make an enormous difference in your workplace.

Managing stress at work

Displays of negative emotion in the workplace can cause significant distress for those around you. It is the same at home; closeness and intimacy can be quickly eroded by disrespectful interactions.


How does anger impact us?

Research suggests that people who manage their anger have less interpersonal difficulties.  Being able to manage your emotions will also improve your physical and mental health. For example, people who regularly discuss their feelings report improvements in blood pressure, possess a higher sense of self-efficacy, have less depression, and lower body mass index.


What can trigger our anger?

If you notice that you are reacting with strong anger to a situation, or series of events, it is worth trying to identify other emotions that may also be present. For example, if you perceive that a colleague’s poor performance reflects badly upon you, you may feel anxious about the security of your job or you may worry about the impact on your reputation.


While anger is the most noticeable emotion, in this situation, it is actually driven by fear. Acknowledging that fear and addressing it, makes it easier to respond to the situation without an inappropriate display of anger.


How can we manage our anger?

When people communicate with anger, responses are usually defensive or critical; neither of which resolve the problem or soothe the emotion.  Researchers have identified that those people able to communicate their emotions respectfully are better able to find a solution to the problem.


Research suggests four ways of effectively managing anger:


  1. Relax your body: Anger brings with it a range of physiological reactions. Muscles become tense, blood pressure increases, body temperature rises and heart rate increases. Exercise (e.g., going for a walk or a run) is beneficial, calming activities such as mediation, yoga and diaphragmatic breathing all help to reduce the intensity of your emotions.


  1. Think rationally: When you are angry, it is difficult to see the situation with logic and harder still to see it from the other person’s perspective. If you can effectively consider others’ perspectives, use logic, and be rational, you will be better able to reign in angry reactions.


  1. Move away from the situation: It is much easier to reduce your emotion and seek alternate perspectives when you are no longer in the environment that caused the initial upset.  Leaving the room, even for a few minutes, can make an enormous difference to your ability to manage anger.


  1. Find a solution: While expressing anger in a supportive environment can make you feel better; it doesn’t help you move toward a solution. Be clear about the goal you wish to achieve. When you are calm, speak to the people involved in the situation.  Identify their perspective and work together toward a solution by communicating respectfully.


If you would like some assistance mastering your response to anger contact the team at Behave Yourself:


< Older

Newer >

Leave a Reply