Wednesday 19 February 2020

Ways to stop being angry and start feeling calmer at work

It’s not uncommon for work to be the root cause of anxiety and stress. Whether it’s an excessive workload, demanding deadlines or difficult colleagues that are putting on the pressure, we can often find ourselves in turmoil. But how do you cope when our reaction to stress leads us to feel angry and act aggressively?

Anger is the immediate response we experience when we feel violated in some way. Perhaps somebody overstepped their remit and did something that should be your role, perhaps your opinion keeps being overlooked, or perhaps a colleague talks loudly beside your desk which prevents you from working properly. There are many scenarios that could lead us to feel angry at work.

The effects of anger

As well as resulting in aggressive behaviours such as arguments and conflict at work, anger can have a damaging effect on both our mental and physical wellbeing. When stress and anger becomes a problem, we might experience the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Skin problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Other health issues

These effects can be extremely serious if the physical symptoms are ongoing and not treated accordingly. Innovare Journal of Health Sciences undertook research about the impact of anger on the human body, and the findings are fascinating.

So, how can we learn to allay anger in the workplace and start feeling calmer?

Focus on your breathing
When you feel like you’re losing your cool and the red mist starts to set in, it’s human instinct to take quick, shallow breaths. Make a conscious effort to take more controlled deep breaths as this can lower your heart rate, stress levels and blood pressure.

Recognise when you’re angry 
Rage can cause us to act irrationally, so by recognising when we start to feel angry, we can challenge our thoughts. If you can help your mind take a step outside of the situation, it will give you a better perspective and prevent you from acting inappropriately.

Release your anger
Exercise and walking outside in the fresh air can release serotonin in the brain and will help you to feel calmer and more relaxed.

Prevent angry feelings 
As the saying goes, prevention is better than the cure. Try relaxation exercises, meditation and visualisation on a daily basis. When performed together, this combination can help you to remain calm in stressful situations before you reach boiling point.

Focus on something else
Step away from a situation where your anger is rising to the surface and focus on something more positive to distract your mind. Perhaps try listening to your favourite music, chatting to a friend or turning to a different task that is less stressful. When you feel in a better frame of mind, you can go back to the task that you stepped away from.

Release your thoughts
Put pen to paper and express how you’re feeling. Not only can this remove the negative and angry thoughts from your head, it’s a great way to prevent you from speaking or reacting in anger and making a situation worse.

Often, anger occurs because we let negative feelings build up over time. To avoid this, try speaking to the person involved or even a close friend about how you’re feeling. Communication can nip any feelings of anger in the bud and will help you understand the point of view of the other person and them you. 

Friday 7 February 2020

Become more likeable in the workplace

It’s human nature to want to be liked and accepted for who we are, and this isn’t just when we’re children at school, but it also continues into adulthood and the workplace.

Although some people don’t care about whether they’re liked or not, for others, it can be much more difficult.

What are the benefits of being liked at work?

  • It can increase self-confidence
  • A sense of belonging
  • Friendship
  • To prevent loneliness
  • To feel respected
  • Career progression
There are many reasons why we might want to be liked and when we’re not, we might experience negative emotions, thoughts and feelings such as lack of self-worth, anxiety and fear. Very often a toxic work environment is caused by a clash of personalities, so it’s understandable that we would want to avoid this. In an article published by the BBC, Mitch Prinstein examines in more detail the effects and importance of popularity in the workplace.

Tips to becoming more likeable at work

We wouldn’t encourage changing your fundamental personality to fit in, but there are small actions you can take to help you become more likeable if you feel this is an issue.

  1. Rather than find problems at work, find solutions. Your boss might not thank you for pointing out everything that is wrong, but they may thank you for offering ways to improve systems. 
  2. Try not to compete with work colleagues. Always try your best at work but don’t compare yourself or try to outsmart others just to score points.
  3. Accept responsibility if you make a mistake and don’t point the blame at someone else. This will only cause animosity and a lack of trust.
  4. Smile more and use peoples’ names when you talk to them. This might seem like a simple thing to do but it can put people at ease and make them warm to you.
  5. Be helpful whenever possible but also accept help when you need it. It’s a thin line, but don’t be a pushover either if it is likely to cause you stress.
  6. Don’t ignore criticism, use it to improve where you can.
  7. Be reliable and timely.
  8. Don’t gossip about your boss or colleagues. It’s not nice to be the subject of idle gossip and it can create an unwelcome atmosphere. The chances are people will like you less if you speak negatively of others.
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or contribute your ideas in meetings but also know when to listen and when to speak.
  10. Don’t exclude colleagues from social events.
  11. Think before you speak. Take a moment to ask yourself whether what you are about to say is hurtful or offensive to someone else. To become more likeable, it’s important to speak to people in a manner that you would like to be spoken to.
  12. Perform small acts of kindness. Perhaps if you’re going to make a coffee, ask your colleagues if they would like one, or be flexible with your lunch breaks if someone else needs to take theirs at the same time.