Do you have a tyrant boss who makes you feel one inch tall? Are you constantly hit with unreasonable deadlines? Do you have a coworker who feels the need to micromanage everything you do?
Many of us have jobs that are so physically demanding and psychologically challenging that we feel frustrated, resentful, and angry on a regular basis. Besides the fact that it’s neither pleasant nor healthy to walk around with these emotions trapped inside of us, it’s also true that strong anger-based emotions can sabotage our ability to excel, progress, and be productive in our work.
Unresolved and unmanaged anger at work WILL derail your business success.
What do you do when fast-paced work, difficult work, too much work, or a stressful office populated by difficult personalities gets you so angry that you have the urge to break something, yell at someone, or rip out your hair? Here are seven strategies that will help.
Recognize anger as a physical state.
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Frustration and resentment come from anger, and anger is merely a physical sensation. You can work anger out of your body much like a masseuse works a kink out of your muscles. You need to move the energy out, physically and constructively, in a safe place. Do it where no one is around to inhibit you.
Feel anger’s effects on your body.
Physical symptoms of fear include: ears getting hot, face flushing, chest pounding, spine tightening, sudden sweating, muscles tensing, and feeling as if you’re about explode. It’s great to recognize the signs of anger, because then you can take steps to move the energy up and out of your body.
Find a private space, such as a locked bathroom.
Instead of snapping at your coworker or your boss, excuse yourself to a private bathroom and lock the door. To release anger from your body, push against a wall as hard as you can. Or grab the bathroom stall door and shake it on its hinges as if you were going to break it off the foundation. Or jump up and down, stomping your feet and shaking your fists.
Don’t stop the tears from flowing.
When people release anger from their bodies this way, it’s common to feel the urge to cry. If you feel like crying, allow the tears to flow. According to Minnesota research scientist William Frey, crying can help to wash chemicals that trigger the stress hormone cortisol out of our body–one of the reasons we feel much better after a good cry.
Do the rest of your anger purge at home.
Once you get home, you can really let it rip. Pound a mattress with your fists, hit a tree with a rolled up newspaper, scream into a pillow, growl, or hit old telephone books with a flexible hose. After all this physical activity, your face will be relaxed and you’ll sleep very soundly. Watch how good you feel the next day when it’s time for work.
Reboot your thought patterns.
A side effect of workplace anger is blame, on the one hand, and feeling victimized on the other. Interrupt destructive thinking about how people and things “should” be and accept what is. You can change your thought patterns the same way you memorized times tables as a kid–through repetition. Repeat out loud: “People and things are the way they are, not the way I want them to be.” Say it and think it hundreds of times, until it’s absolutely automatic. It’s a powerful phrase to use before work, throughout the day in your high-pressure job, or just in general.
If you don’t find a way to release strong emotions constructively, sooner rather than later your productivity and job satisfaction will suffer. On the other hand, expressing the emotional energy and focusing on acceptance dissipates anger and restores balance. You’ll feel more centered and loving. Your thinking will be clearer. And you’ll be able to calmly accept what is, or be able to say or do what you need to in order to resolve the situation.
Want to find out more about the attitudes and emotions that dominate your character and may be derailing your business success? Take a quick self-quiz here, and then try the coping strategies designed to address them.