Cheat Sheet

Anger Management For Dummies

From Anger Management For Dummies by W. Doyle Gentry

When you feel angry or agitated try to manage your anger and use it constructively. You can be assertive without being aggressive, and a few changes may make your work experience is more pleasant, even if you hate your job.

How to Keep Your Cool

Take immediate action if you find yourself getting provoked so you don’t react in anger. You can diffuse your anger and keep control if you take the following steps:

  1. Rate your anger on a 10-point scale.

    A rating of 1 to 3 means you’re irritated, 4 to 6 means you’re mad, and 7 to 10 means you’re in a rage.

  2. Keep yourself from reacting immediately.

    Reacting in anger is what gets you in trouble. Try responding instead — by being thoughtful, deliberate, and in control of your actions.

  3. Give yourself time.

    Emotions are transient. They will pass even if you don’t act on them. Time is on your side.

  4. Relax.

    Take a deep breath or count to ten.

  5. Analyze your anger.

    Who are you angry at? Is this where you want to lose your cool? Why are you angry? Is the intensity of your anger consistent with the cause?

  6. Give yourself three options (and consider the consequences of each): Let it pass, respond with a vengeance, or walk away initially but return later to discuss why you were angry.

  7. Now respond.

    At this point, you’re more likely to respond to your anger in some type of constructive way.

  8. Reward yourself for exercising self-control.

How to Make Anger Your Ally

Believe it or not there is a positive side to anger. You can use anger constructively to lead a happier, healthier, and more productive life by using these techniques:

  • Decide how you want to feel after you express your anger. Do you want to feel ashamed or embarrassed? Or, do you want to feel like you have a better understanding of the person you were angry at?

  • Acknowledge your anger. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying, “I am angry.”

  • Focus your anger on the problem, not the person. Try not to personalize your anger (by saying something like, “That idiot!”). Stick to the issue that triggered the emotion: “He doesn’t return my e-mails and I have a deadline.”

  • Identify the source of your anger. This is the most important step of all. The source of your anger is always you. It has to do with the way you think, how stressed you are, how much sleep you’ve had, your inability to forgive, and so on.

  • Accept that all problems can be solved. Most people use anger to try and “fix” other people. Try fixing problems instead and life will be a lot less emotional.

  • Try to see things from the other person’s perspective. Like all emotions, anger is subjective. Maybe if you looked at things from the other person’s viewpoint, you wouldn’t get so mad.

  • Co-op the person with whom you’re angry. Ask the other person, “What can we do about my anger?” Or, better yet, “What can we do about solving this problem so I don’t have to get angry?”

  • Keep a civil tone throughout. Nobody likes to be shouted at and, besides, the message gets lost when the volume goes up.

  • Be respectful. No rolling of your eyes, finger-pointing, cussing, lecturing, or sighing.

  • Make anger a two-way conversation. Don’t just be angry at someone — be angry with them. That means letting him have a say as well. Ask him how he feels about your anger — does he think it’s justified?

Aggression Do’s and Don’ts

Aggression differs from anger because aggressive behavior is intended to inflict harm on others. Follow these rules to harness your aggression and use your energy in a more productive manner:

  • Do be competitive. All successful people are competitive. The trick is to know when and how.

  • Don’t be confrontational. You won’t accomplish everything you want in life with a hostile, in-your-face attitude. People typically avoid confrontation, so they end up avoiding you.

  • Do be forceful in pursing goals. Passion and drive are what fuel success. It’s not enough to be achievement-oriented, you have to be achievement-driven.

  • Don’t be too intense. Don’t overpower those around you. It’s exhausting — for you and for them.

  • Do be persistent in getting what you want out of life. When you start something, stick with it. Don’t allow anger to distract you from your objective or cause you to give up prematurely.

  • Don’t be impatient. Give people a chance to work with you on solving a problem. Let time be your ally not your enemy. Never be afraid to step away from a challenge in order to achieve a better perspective.

  • Do be direct in your communication. Let people know how you feel about things — big and little. Don’t leave it up to them to figure out if you’re angry and why. And don’t say you’re fine when you’re not.

  • Don’t be demanding. People are more cooperative and less defensive if you ask them to do something instead of ordering them around.

  • Do be a determined person. That means having resolve and being unwavering in what you say and do. Determination is a trait people admire.

  • Don’t be domineering. Don’t beat others over the head with your opinions and ideas. Don’t always think you have to have the last word. Stop interrupting and try being more of an active listener.

How to Be Less Cranky at Work

If you’re tired of being a disgruntled, dissatisfied, or disheartened employee, and want to create a more positive work atmosphere, try these things to help your job situation:

  • Accept the reality of your situation. Not everything in the workplace can be changed. Stop focusing on how things “should” be and instead deal with them as they are.

  • Stop personalizing the issue. Just because you didn’t get the raise you wanted or you’re on the wrong end of some company policy, it doesn’t mean that everyone is out to get you. Remember the line from The Godfather, “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.”

  • Write down how you feel. Take a few minutes each day and jot down all the negative emotions — including anger — you have at work. It’ll keep things from building up to the point where you feel like exploding.

  • Pull back. Stop giving 120 percent at work. Set some healthy limits on the energy you expend on the job — save some for other things like family, friends, recreation, and a spiritual life.

  • Engage in some positive rumination. Instead of thinking so much about all the things you don’t like about work, think about something positive instead — something you have control over, some part of life where you don’t feel like a victim.

  • Find some benefit in what you do at work. No job is all bad. What’s the silver lining in the way you make a living? What is there about work that you’re grateful for?

  • Get some exercise. Regular, moderate exercise is a way of detoxifying your anger after work. That 45 minutes of exercise on the way home from the office can make all the difference in how your evening goes.

  • Be forgiving. No job is perfect. It’s important to forgive your employer for that! And forgive yourself for being employed in a situation that can be difficult and frustrating.

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