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Coping With Anger On The Job

A meeting gone wrong. A frustrating co-worker. A missed promotion. These are just a few of the things that can set a person off in corporate America. And truth be told, anger on the job is much more common than people realize. In fact, it is becoming so frequent that the employment site Business Insider wrote an entire feature article devoted to the topic. Emphasizing that these feelings were “very normal” (which we agree with), the mag offered some helpful coping mechanisms and warning indicators illustrating when to seek professional help.

Temple University professor Deanna Geddes was featured in the piece and shared some basic facts that she commonly addresses with her business students.

“Anger is a healthy emotion,” Geddes explained in the Business Insider article. “It signals that something is upsetting us. When we feel anger, it’s helpful to stop and think about what’s really making us angry.”

The BI piece went on to list de-stressing tactics for the workplace. The fist involves removing yourself from a toxic situation. When meetings get tense or you’re having a difficult moment with your boss, it is okay to walk away. Geddes emphasized that exiting gracefully is completely acceptable in the corporate world and cannot be held against you. Simply excuse yourself and perhaps take a walk in the lobby or outside to cool off.

Another tip is to avoid words like “never” or “always.” The article makes a big point to reframe your thoughts and distance yourself from “exaggerated” or “overly dramatic” ruminations. If a bad thing happens at work, it’s easy to go into a spiral and believe the whole day is shot. But that is certainly not the case. BI writer Rachel Premack advises to take a step back and compartmentalize the upsetting moments.

Premack also recommends discussing your frustrations without pointing blame. This could be with the person who upset you or even with a human resources representative. The key is not to bottle up angry emotions inside. You definitely have a right to be heard and many times, your emotions are correct. If there is anger because a co-worker may have taken credit for your work, for example, try and explain it in a calm and straightforward manner (vs. being aggressive). It may not always lead to a perfect resolution, but it can help take away the accusatory and heated feelings.

Of course, work anger can also be the root of deeper rage issues. And that is perfectly normal too. If some of the recommendations above still feel like they’re not solving the problem, our advice is to speak with a counselor and sort through the deeper emotions.