10 Kindergarten Lessons in Anger Management
When someone or something at work causes you to fume, how do you
blow off steam without blowing your career? Learning how to control
your reactions to the things that make you angry is easier than you
might think. In fact, everything you need to know about managing
your emotions in the workplace you likely learned in kindergarten.
Here's a refresher.
Lesson #1: Give yourself a timeout.
If you're ready to blow a gasket, do whatever you have to do to
calmly remove yourself from the situation. Excuse yourself from a
meeting, grab a breath of fresh air, take a walk to another area of
the building or visit with a friend on another floor. Chances are by
the time you return, you'll feel much better and be able to handle
whatever made you angry in the first place.
Lesson #2: Redirect your attention.
One of the most popular early childhood buzzwords of the '90s
was "redirection," which moves your mental attention from an
undesirable activity into a substitute, more positive activity or
thought. Highly effective with young children, this technique also
works well with angry grown-ups. "When I get angry with a vendor on
the phone, I turn my chair and read a poem I have posted on my wall
that reminds me of all the wonderful things life has to offer. I
also have a sweet photo of my young son that always causes me to
smile. It's a great way to change my perspective," says Mary, a
Lesson #3: No temper tantrums allowed.
It's never appropriate to have a meltdown at the office. Not only
does a temper tantrum show a lack of self-control, it is an immature
way of dealing with your emotions. Ask anyone in human resources -
employees who lose their cool rarely get promoted. Count to 10, take
deep breaths, or "blow an imaginary bubble." This extra oxygen gives
you time to refresh and relax and slows the adrenaline flow.
Lesson #4: No hitting.
Hitting, throwing or other physical violence is a big no-no. As much
as you would like to clobber the guy in the corner office who took
credit for your work, acting out your anger in a physical manner
will likely cost you your job or worse. If you need to get physical,
try a strenuous walk outside, head to the health club, or grab a
Lesson #5: Don't be a bully.
It happens on the playground, on the street and it happens in
offices across America every day. It's bullying and it is demeaning
for the victim at any age. Be aware of your feelings and actions
that make you want to belittle, intimidate or tear down the efforts
of subordinates or less talented co-workers. Bullies lack self-
respect and often have low self-esteem. Take a look at how you feel
about yourself and make sure it is not being directed toward others.
Consider seeking professional help or counseling.
Lesson #6: What happens at home stays at home.
Teachers must always consider that a child who acts out at school
could be reacting to issues that occur at home. We all have mornings
when the kids spill the milk, the dog runs away, and we get stuck at
a train crossing and behind a school bus. Rather than bringing your
frustrations to the office, let it go by the time you arrive. While
driving, practice relaxation breathing. Breathe deeply, from your
stomach. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut." Listen to
relaxing music and concentrate on becoming calm. Use visualization
techniques and imagine dropping your morning anger baggage as you
walk from the parking lot to office the door.
Lesson #7: Treat others as you would like to be treated.
It's the golden rule - the one our mothers and teachers quoted us
hundreds - if not thousands - of times throughout our childhoods. By
treating others in a respectful and courteous manner, you're likely
to get the same in return.
Lesson #8: Choose your words carefully.
Be very careful when using words like "never" or "always" when
talking about yourself or someone else. According to the American
Psychological Association, "saying things like `This !&-%@ machine
never works,' or `You're always forgetting things' are most always
inaccurate. These statements also serve to make you feel that your
anger is justified and that there's no way to solve the problem.
They also alienate and humiliate people who might otherwise be
willing to work with you on a solution."
Lesson #9: Grab your crayons.
When you're really mad at someone, use "silly humor" to help defuse
your anger. Picture the person you are mad at using an imaginative
phrase. If you think your co-worker is a slimeball, use colored
markers to draw his or her slimy appearance talking on the phone or
oozing from his desk like something from a Nickelodeon cartoon.
Visualize this picture each time you encounter the person and you're
sure to break a smile. Drawing or other forms of creative ex-
pression will usually take the edge off anger.
Lesson #10: Ask yourself, is it worth it?
The next time someone or something at work annoys you, ask yourself
if it's worth the irritation and stress it is causing you. Then, ask
yourself if it will be important a year from now. If it's truly
worth it, by all means take your annoyance to a supervisor or
manager. If it's not, let it go.
And that goes for you Monkeyboy, you BIG bully
London Bye Ta-Ta...
Edited by diamondogz74 on 02/25/06 01:02 PM (server time).