Conventional wisdom teaches us that anger is uncivilized, unsophisticated and socially unacceptable. Its stigma is hard to escape. If you’ve ever been guilty of an ‘outburst’ at work, on the sporting field or even worse, at your child’s soccer match, it’s likely that you’ve built yourself a reputation as someone who can’t control their emotions, even if it was out of character.
However, a research conducted by Henry Evans and Colm Foster, authors of “Step Up: Lead in Six Moments That Matter” and experts in the field of emotional intelligence showed that high-performers experience and harness their full spectrum of emotions, including anger to find success and achieve their objectives.
By harnessing the positive powers of anger, successful people are more focussed, more assertive and more confident. Successful people deal with anger by cultivating a high emotional IQ through success-breeding habits, routines and practices like these.
In Their Head:
1. They accept that anger is natural and healthy
When you recognise anger as an essential and necessary emotion, you stop being afraid of it. Only when you’re no longer afraid of it can you start managing its manifestations.
Fear breeds defensive thoughts and behaviours, but when you embrace something, you put yourself in charge. Being in charge of your anger allows you to express it calmly and constructively.
2. They focus on ‘I’ statements
Most people experiencing anger talk in ‘you’ statements like “you are making me late” or “you still haven’t finished the report that was due this morning.” This type of language naturally makes other people defensive and less likely to want to help you out.
By talking in ‘I’ statements instead, the people you’re talking to are more likely to empathise and want to help. Talking in ‘I’ statements will also help you focus on how to fix the problem rather than just complaining that the problem exists. Try these instead: “I don’t like to be late, it reflects poorly on our team” and “I really need that report, is there anything I can do to help.”
3. They avoid negative self-talk
There’s nothing wrong with being self critical, but when your negative self-talk holds you back from personal, emotional and professional growth you need to act.
When you embrace your imperfections you’re more likely to think about how to improve, rather than what’s ‘wrong’ with you, which over a long period of time, can lead to stress and depression. Take a more positive and constructive view of yourself and you’ll achieve more and be happier.
4. They focus on the problem, not the person
Hanlon’s Razor states: “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” In other words, if someone’s done wrong by you it’s likely they didn’t mean it so lighten up!
Accidents and mistakes happen everyday and while it’s easy to blame, getting angry at the person you believe responsible is not going to fix the problem. Stop wasting your time with un-constructive finger pointing and get on with business.
5. They don’t hold a grudge
Holding a grudge doesn’t achieve anything. Moreover, it takes energy and effort to hold something against someone which over time, wears you down and contaminates your mind, leading to a negative world view. Let it go. Forgive and forget and be happier.
6. They never send an email while angry
The way you communicate with people at work can impact your future career prospects, and email is a permanent record of your communication with the potential to make or break a career. Anger impairs your judgement, which can lead you to write something in an email that you wouldn’t when you’re in a better frame of mind.
If you need to write something, draft an email with an empty ‘To:’ field, save the email as a draft and look at it again tomorrow. Also, checkout number 9 on this list.
7. They meditate
Meditation can help you deal with stress and anxiety which are precursors to anger. Regular meditation regulates levels of cortisol, a hormone released during times of stress. It also boosts serotonin, a so-called ‘feel good’ hormone that balances your emotions and can make you more aware of your feelings.
8. They exercise
It’s widely recognised that regular exercise boosts energy levels and aids focus. Researchers have also found that it can help you manage your anger. Studies have shown that regular exercise dissipates feelings of anger and reduces the risk of it bubbling to the surface. So, get running.
9. They keep a journal
Keeping a journal is an alternative and healthy outlet for your emotions, including anger. A journal is a great place to get your thoughts, feelings, ideas and emotions out without the risk of hurting anyone and without fear of judgement.