4 ways to control your anger at work

Posted on June 25, 2018 at 5:30 PM

Nobody likes to be angry, which is especially true in a professional setting. Losing your temper at work can quickly turn ugly, with you saying things you don’t mean, yelling or simply walking out. However, while you tell yourself that you want to stop the anger from overcoming you, in the moment, you likely find it impossible to stop yourself from losing your cool. Here are some suggestions on how to control your anger at the office.

  1. Leave the building

    Sometimes, you just need to put some physical distance between yourself and the situation to cool off, so go and get some fresh air. Create some space in your head by distancing yourself from the stressful situation. Take a brisk walk, have lunch outside or just sit somewhere quietly for a while to compose yourself and gain mental clarity. By the time you get back to your desk, things will not seem half as intense.

  2. Write an email draft

    If you can’t resist the urge to discharge your negative feelings, do it in writing. Whether you scribble your honest opinion onto a piece of paper or compose a candid email, you will feel much better after your demons have been exorcised in this way. However, under no circumstances should you send your missive. File it away until a later date and reread it when you are calmer, then delete it for good.

  3. Talk to a colleague you can trust

    Discuss the problem with someone whose opinion you value, who understand the office dynamics and who you can confide in. If you can, take a quick break outside the office so your conversation can’t be overheard, and pour your heart out. Venting is cleansing, and the simple act of telling someone else what has happened may put things into perspective for you. Your confidante will offer sympathy and may even suggest solutions that had not occurred to you.

  4. Recognize your personal ‘triggers’

    We all have ‘hot buttons’ that can trigger angry or violent responses without warning. The trick is to be aware of your personal triggers and to recognize them in time, before they overwhelm you. If you can learn to take a deep breath and step back from the brink every time your buttons have been pressed, you will have made huge progress in controlling your anger.