HUMAN RESOURCES / MAY. 14, 2015
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10 Ways to Control Your Anger

Uncontrolled anger is a destructive force and can negatively impact both your personal and professional life. Choosing to bow to anger in the workplace will foster irritation, frustration and unproductivity. If you want to further your career and personal development and growth, you must find a way to control your anger. It is important to respond to situations and other peoples’ behavior rather than react to it. This article will address 10 ways to control your anger.

1. Take a Moment for Reflection

The best defense against anger is to take a moment for reflection. Basically, you need to give yourself a time out. Taking a break from the tense moment allows you to have the time to regroup and focus on finding a positive solution to the tension. When you take that moment for quiet reflection, you will increase your chances for finding a peaceful resolution in handling the conflict without arguing.

2. Utilize a Filter For Your Words

After taking that time out for reflection, utilize a filter for your words. You need to take the time to carefully consider each word that you will speak during the moment of anger. When we speak out in anger without carefully considering our words, we increase our chances of speaking damaging words that we’ll regret. This “filter” should be implemented prior to being in the midst of an angry situation so that you are prepared to think before you speak.

3. Keep Your Tone Calm & Reserved

When you begin to speak through your “filter” system, you need to make every effort to keep your tone calm and reserved. By this step, your anger should have subsided somewhat and you will be able to respond in a calm manner, while clearly stating your thoughts and opinions. Remember to continually state your frustrations in a non-argumentative manner. Responding in anger will dilute the truth to your words and be misconstrued by the other person.

4. Stick to the Facts Without Blaming

In addition to keeping your tone calm, you need to stick to the facts and not blame the other person. If you want to harshly criticize and play the blame game then you are not ready to participate in a constructive conversation. Rather, you’re ready to continue the argument. It is important to stick to the facts and not lash out with angry emotions. Also, take responsibility by expressing your feelings through “I” declarations. For example, say, I feel irritated that you did not fully participate in the team project. Don’t say, You never put in a maximum effort in the team project. Sticking to the facts and using “I” declarations will help create a positive resolution to the tension, rather than increase anger you both have.

5. Find a Way to Break the Tension

If there is any way that you can break the tension, you must find it. For example, bring a sense of good humor into the tense situation. However, at all costs, avoid the use of derision which will only make the argument continue to escalate. This step will quite possibly be one of the most difficult ones to accomplish because during an angry discussion, humor is the last thing on your mind. If you can find a way to smile and create some humor, you will be one step closer toward deescalating the situation.

6. Think Outside the Box for Resolutions

The main point of controlling your anger is to find a way to think outside the box and create a positive resolution. Sometimes an argument can escalate so far that we don’t even really remember what the argument centered on in the first place. If you are continually controlled by anger in the workplace or this is an issue with one of your colleagues or team members, figure out a solution to the issue so that you can avoid any future arguments. For example, if anger continues to arise because a team member is slacking off and not working to full potential on a work project, deal with the specific cause of the slacking off. Find a compromise that will resolve the issue so that no future arguments occur.

7. Utilize Relaxation Techniques

Another way to control your anger is to utilize relaxation techniques like deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises. The moment that you sense tension and feelings of anger rising, begin to engage your deep breathing exercises. Silently count to ten before reacting in anger. Focus your mind on a calming scene or memory. Train yourself to focus on phrases from an upbeat or a relaxing song, whichever will put you more at ease and in control of your emotions. When you step away from the tense moment, you can practice your muscle relaxation exercises and if the work environment allows for it, you can practice several calming yoga positions.

8. Get Into Motion With Exercise

You may not be able to exercise during an angry moment at work. However, you most likely will be able to step away and go for a walk while exiting the scene. Studies have shown that exercise can moderate anger and lessen the increase of tension in the body. When you are experiencing anger, if at all possible, try to get into motion with a fast walk or some other exercise.

9. Steer Clear of Becoming Bitter

Unresolved anger can lead to increased frustrations and then to bitterness. This can become an extremely negative and unproductive experience in the workplace. It is vital that you do everything in your power to resolve the issues and steer clear of allowing bitterness to take root. Remember that there will always be negative situations and behaviors enacted in your life. However, how you respond to them will make all the difference in furthering positivity and productivity in your life and in the workplace.

10. Find a Trusted Mentor to Help

Sometimes you need to vent your anger, and finding a trusted friend, coworker or colleague can be exactly what you need. You may face extreme situations when anger has taken control of you rather than you controlling the anger. In those circumstances, it is vital to consult with your trusted mentor in order to gain advice, encouragement and support toward effectively controlling your anger.

What steps have you taken to effectively control your anger during incidents in the workplace?

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