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Oh, I'm So Mad

Resolving Anger at Work


"If Joanne cracks her gum one more time, I swear I'm going to send my stapler sailing into her cubicle," you think to yourself. "And that incessant babbling on the phone -- no wonder my workload is getting heavier and heavier." When you feel like you are just about to explode, you take a deep breath and go outside for a breath of fresh air. Congratulations! You've just diffused a potentially volatile situation.

You're not alone in your anger. According to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for The Marlin Company, some workers report being angry enough to strike a co-worker. Even if your anger has not gone as far as wanting to hit someone, you may be among those who are report being at least a little angry.

When You Lose Control

Of course, there are the extreme cases of a little bit of anger turning into something tragic. Every few months, it seems, we read about a disgruntled employee who goes on a shooting spree at work. Those who feel like they are losing control of their anger must seek help. Many companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that can help those with difficulties in and out of the workplace. If you are concerned about bringing your problem to the attention of your employer, ask your family doctor for a referral or contact Mental Health organizations in your community.

Understanding and Controlling Your Anger

Anger can be destructive, even if it doesn't lead to dire consequences. An American Psychological Association fact sheet on anger talks about it being a perfectly normal human emotion. Our normal reaction to anger is to "respond aggressively..." although "we can't physically lash out at every person or object that irritates or annoys us." The trick, the APA tells us, is to "express your angry feelings in an assertive --not aggressive -- manner."

If you feel that you can control your anger on your own, here are some resources to help you:

Anger Fact Sheet from the Association for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies

Strategies for Controlling your Anger from the American Psychological Association

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