Has someone at work ever pissed you off so much that you felt a huge surge of energy rise up through you, and it took all your strength not to punch them in the face?
Have you then felt ashamed for feeling that way?
But also, (if you’re being really honest), did a little bit of you enjoy feeling angry at them?
Or, did you feel frustrated at yourself for letting that person get to you like that?
What did you do with those emotions?
Were you even aware in the moment that you were feeling all those things?
Did you push them down and try to pretend they weren’t there? But throughout the whole conversation felt like you were going to burst?
Did that strategy help?
Maybe short term. You didn’t punch the idiot right?
But did it help in the long term?
Did you get angry again with the same person? Or maybe a different person? Or maybe or a complete stranger like a little old lady who wouldn’t go faster than 30mph in a 60mph speed limit (annoying right!!).
Did you shout at someone you love, who actually didn’t do anything to warrant such a reaction?
But somehow in those situations you just couldn’t hold it in?
Or did you just feel a heaviness and tightness follow you around for the rest of the day, or week, or perhaps you’re still feeling that right now.
So maybe suppressing it wasn’t so effective after all.
But what’s the alternative?
There’s one simple action you can do, but it starts way before you even begin to feel angry.
The action is this:
And look…. you can do that action here:
(…btw – being frustrated, annoyed, irritated or irked, are just milder expressions of anger)
This is what you need to know about anger:
All of our emotions have three qualities:
Anger is triggered when something or someone important to you is taken away, or something or someone is getting in the way of you achieving your goal.
Anger therefore helps you to prepare to fight for what you feel is being taken away, or for what you want.
So when you feel frustrated or angry, you can actually start to feel quite strong. That’s why anger can be a bit of a confusing emotion. One that can both seduce, but also scare you in equal measure.
You may also feel:
This is a very human and natural reaction when someone has taken something away from you, or is getting in your way.
So, think back to the times when you got really pissed off or annoyed…
What was being taken away or blocked?
Was it an important opportunity? Or person? Or did someone violate a value of yours?
How did you know you were angry? How did it feel in your body? What thoughts did you have?
Whilst this might feel so simple that it couldn’t possibly help, awareness of what triggers you to get angry, how to spot it showing up in your body, and recognising that it’s a very human reaction, can help you be ready to deal with anger when it creeps up on you mid conversation.
But what if you do all that, and you still get angry (because you will), (because you’re human)?
Once you understand about how and why anger shows up for you, you may not react as intensely or as often, but you will still get angry.
So here’s a Quick Tip:
If you want an in-the-moment way to deal with anger or frustration, the best thing to do is to try to remove yourself from the situation until you have been able to calm down in a healthy way, (and I don’t mean by suppressing the emotion):
After you’ve calmed down, ask yourself:
Getting a better understanding of your emotions is fundamental to being able to manage them at work and in life, which in turn will enable you to have better conversations and better relationships with others.
So give this a go, I would love to know what you discover.
Written: Apr 1, 2020