Temper Getting the Best of You?

John Krautzel
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It's not uncommon for individuals to get angry or completely lose their temper at work. Stressful projects, missed deadlines, personality conflicts, demanding clients or declining profits are just some examples of issues that can tick just about anyone off. Regardless of the situation, it's essential to control your temper and remain professional in the workplace. Here are four tips for keeping your temper in check while at work.

1. Get Centered

Whenever you feel stress or anger starting to build, stop whatever you're doing, find a quiet spot and take a few deep breaths. This simple tip can help you to ground yourself and clear your mind, which can prevent you from losing your temper at work. This trick also helps you to become aware of the present moment, and when you're fully present, you're not thinking about what someone said yesterday or a bad situation that occurred five minutes ago. Remain still and present until the angry feelings begin to subside.

2. Put Your Feelings Into Words

According to neuroscience professor Amy Arnsten, it's essential to label your feelings, or put them into words, when you're emotional or stressed. The act of "labeling" minimizes emotional arousal in your brain, allowing you to calm down. Say how you feel out loud, preferably with no one around, and be as honest as possible when articulating your feelings. For example, you can say "I'm so sick of Tom talking about me behind my back" or "I'm frustrated with my boss' lazy, apathetic attitude." Getting these feelings off your chest can instantly help you feel better and might prevent you from confronting your co-worker or boss in an angry manner.

3. Reexamine the Problem

Once your mind is in a calm, rational state, revisit the problem. Since you didn't lose your temper, your reaction to the problem will be completely different. With a calm mind, figure out a way to rectify the issue at hand. If the problem is a gossipy, lazy or unprofessional team member, bring the issue to his attention, allow him to respond and make an attempt to understand his point of view. If the issue is a power-hungry, disrespectful and unappreciative boss, consider taking the issue to human resources. When you reexamine the issue in a calm state, you see the problem from a different angle and can approach it in a more professional manner.

4. Get Support

If you easily lose your temper at work, your overall life may be too stressful. The best way to deal with this is to ask for help. Don't be afraid to tell your boss if your workload is too large or your co-workers are slacking. Work collaboratively with team members to get projects completed more quickly. Ask family or friends to help out with your children or pay someone to assist with housework. The less stressful your overall life, the less likely you are to become easily angered.

It's natural to experience a multitude of different emotions at work, including anger. However, you never have to let your anger get the best of you. Use these four tips to help you control your temper when tough situations arise. If you need additional assistance, consider reaching out to human resources and requesting assistance with stress or anger management.

Photo courtesy of masaniellorosso at Flickr.com


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