Dealing with Anger Outbursts

18th Dec 2017 • by Amaha

Everybody tries their best to manage their emotions at work. Yet, there are times when these emotions are so intense and overwhelming that they lead you to have an outburst. An outburst is a sudden release of intense emotions, such as anger. You can have an outburst for various reasons and express it in different ways. Anger outbursts take place when you feel that you have no control over an extremely stressful situation. In such cases, you might end up yelling, swearing, or even being physically aggressive.

Anger outbursts at the workplace can interfere with your work, relationships, and the overall working environment as well. Studies show that such reactions typically occur when major changes take place in organisations that make you feel wronged (for example, laying off of employees owing to budget cuts). However, there are different triggers for different people. For instance, you might get angry when deadlines are pushed up when decisions are made without your input, when colleagues don’t listen to you, or when your juniors don’t do a task well.

While the outburst may help you release pent-up tension, you might often end up feeling negative emotions such as guilt, regret, and humiliation. This means that you have to take steps to make things right after an outburst and address the situation. This will ensure that your reputation, relationships, and productivity at work don’t suffer in the long run.

Forgive yourself

After an outburst at work, you might feel ashamed or embarrassed. While such an outburst may be frowned upon at work, try understanding that anger is a normal human emotion that everybody experiences from time to time. Acknowledge that it happened and forgive yourself, so you don’t have any lingering negative feelings about the incident.

Address what happened and apologise

In addition to accepting the incident yourself, it is important to acknowledge to your co-workers what might have happened, and address the situation. Apologise if you might have hurt someone in the course of the incident. This will ensure that your relationships at work do not suffer owing to the outburst.

Allow the incident to motivate you

An anger outburst can be beneficial if you let your anger motivate you. Instead of blaming yourself or someone else, channelise your anger to resolve the issue that made you angry by speaking with the concerned person/s involved. This can improve workplace processes, relationships, and systems; it can also lead to a healthier working environment.

Understand your triggers

Think about what set off your anger outbursts at work, as this will help you address the underlying problem effectively and avoid such outbursts in the future. You can try noting down your thoughts when you are feeling angry, and review these thoughts after your anger has subsided. Such an exercise will give you insight regarding the root cause of your anger and help you address problematic thinking.

Take a timeout

If you find yourself getting angry at work, take a timeout - leave the situation to cool off. Try taking deep breaths and/or going for a walk before you respond. This will ensure you don’t say or do anything in the heat of the moment that you later regret.

Explore alternatives

In order to avoid a future anger outburst at work, it may be helpful for you to look for alternative ways of releasing your anger in private, such as writing a journal or going for a run. Long term strategies could include regular exercise, sleeping well, and taking care of your alcohol intake.

If nothing else works, and you find yourself getting angry too often, you can reach out to a therapist for professional help. A professional will enable you to understand yourself better and learn techniques and strategies for relaxation and anger management.

If you think you need help with your mental health in any way, please do not hesitate to reach out to an Amaha therapist. You can also download the Amaha app for self-care.
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