In preparation for an upcoming webinar, I’ve been doing some research on anger. I found this statement particularly interesting: Anger is a natural feeling, like hunger; everyone gets angry at times. Many people have been taught the opposite – that it is not acceptable to be angry or display anger, especially at work. Yet, if “anger” means being displeased and because it is often a response to a frustration due to a misunderstanding, anger will show up at work. What can you do? It can be helpful to realize there is a difference in feeling angry and expressing your anger to someone else. If we believe it is undesirable to be angry, we ignore the feeling. Just because we ignore our irritation or we try not to get mad, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist or that it will go away. The more we try to suppress feelings, the more they manifest themselves in other ways such as procrastination, tardiness, difficulty in sleeping or chronically sore neck and shoulder muscles.
How we respond to the emotion of anger is a choice, and we as humans can make a different choice. First, identify what you do when you feel anger. Do you let it out (yell, scream, throw things) or do you keep it in (seethe, bite your tongue)? Next, recognize there is an alternative. We can choose our response. Once we begin to realize there is a space between the moment an event occurs and our response, the more we can choose a response that is beneficial to all.
Here is your assignment for this week (it may require keeping some notes). Pay attention to the times when you feel angry. What is your automatic response? Now, what is an alternate response? For example, a co-worker makes a rude comment and you rattle off a sarcastic comeback. What if you choose to walk away, do some deep breathing or step into the other person’s shoes for a moment? The first step is recognizing we have a choice in how we respond. When we choose a different response, there will be a different outcome. Let me know what happens when you choose to acknowledge the feeling, let the feeling go and choose to be calm instead of angry