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Harness Your Anger at Work

Anger is a difficult feeling to manage — especially in a work context. But anger isn’t inherently bad. In fact, it can serve you, if you know how to channel it. Here are some strategies to help you manage your anger when it arises at work.

  • Identify the needs behind your emotion. Clarifying questions include: What triggered my anger? Which feelings are underneath my anger? What steps can I take toward a resolution?
  • Acknowledge that a violation took place. If you’re hurt because of an unfair decision or mistreatment, you’re allowed to feel angry. Acknowledge what you’re feeling and name the violation.
  • Avoid excessive venting. Blowing off steam is not as productive as you might think. Rehashing a problem, without moving toward a solution, has been shown to make both you and the people listening to you feel worse, not better.
  • If you can, compose yourself before sharing your emotions. If your heart is racing and your muscles are tense, give yourself time to calm down before sharing how another’s actions made you feel.
  • If you can’t communicate your anger, indirectly address your needs. Sometimes, you’ll be angry because of something you just can’t change. In those instances, look for ways to remove yourself from the situation and reach out to a friend or therapist who can help.
  • Channel your anger strategically. If you tap into it, anger can actually increase your confidence. Use it as motivation to effectively advocate for yourself.
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