17 Anger Management Techniques For Stressful Occupations

Remaining calm: it’s the hardest part of the job.

Whether it’s a drunken student biting off more than he can chew, or a genuine threat to your safety, security staff are regularly placed in precarious situations that would challenge almost anybody to stay in control.

That’s why these 17 tips are so important. May they help you in your career, as well as your day-to-day life.

1. Start off with Keeping

Thomas Jefferson famously said, Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” – and he was right. After all, you don’t get to be the President of the United States by angrily overreacting to every little thing you don’t like or can’t control.

…Or maybe you do (Touchè, modern world).

Anyway, we all have our boiling point, but a good way to cool off is to focus on the positive things in your life, instead of caving in to the negative. As the saying goes, positivity is a habit that becomes a lifestyle.

If you can relate to the stress-inducing circumstances of your day as simply a minor part of an otherwise good life, you’ll be amazed at how high your tolerance levels can become.

Remember, you’re above all this. The person in front of you may be angry, but you don’t have to share that feeling or join their argument.

You’re a professional doing your job. View their problems from a distance and deal with them in a calm, responsible manner.

2. The Best Methods to Maintaining

Maintaining composure is a skill like any other – and, as such, it can be learned, even mastered, by anyone.

The trick is not to let yourself crack, and if you do start to crack, to not let the other person see it. Now is the time to work on that poker face.

Here are a few other ways you can stay cool, calm and collected.

Don’t take things personally

The person insulting you doesn’t know who you are or care anything about you. They are trying to make things personal, but they can only do this if you allow them to.

Do not give in to fear

Have faith in your training, your colleagues and, above all, yourself. Trust that the situation will be resolved soon and don’t let doubts and anxieties sway you from that belief.

Speak clearly and act decisively

Commit to a course of action and make good on any punitive measures you’ve threatened. Remain dispassionate and analytical. Such actions are the essence of composure.

3. Think Before you

Words are powerful things; they shape our reality and sculpt our self-image. The right words can enhance the majesty of great moments (“I have a dream”, “that’s one small step for man” etc) and the wrong words can wreak absolute havoc on a person’s life.

Using factual, polite and non-inflammatory statements can help to diffuse a situation, as can the subtle replacement of accusations with questions.

Your words will help to determine what a person thinks of you, so if you speak clearly and ask questions, you can often find a peaceful resolution to a potentially explosive situation.

4. The Power of Using

An ‘I’ statement is a way of communicating the frustration you feel towards a person or situation without necessarily forcing blame upon them. 

Using a ‘you’ statement might be something like, “you’ve ruined the roast. Look at it, you’ve burned it to a bloody crisp!”

Whereas an ‘I’ statement might be more along the lines of, “I’m really frustrated that the roast is ruined. I was looking forward to eating that”

One statement focuses the ire and blame upon the person who burned the roast, while the other acknowledges the anger without aiming it at anyone in particular.

Correct use of ‘I’ statements can really help to soothe a tense situation…But, sadly it won’t save a burnt roast.

5. Practice Your

The person before you is angry, but do you know why? What caused them to behave in this manner?

Even if their behaviour is alcohol or drug related, it does not necessarily follow that alcohol or drugs have caused their feelings. In most cases, such substances are mood enhancers, meaning that the anger was already there, just below the surface.

This is where your listening skills come into play.

Your feelings of anger are most likely normal and probably reasonable enough, but this does not necessarily validate a decision to react aggressively towards others.

As Dr. Martin Luther King once wrote,

“We must not think in terms of retaliatory violence. Violence creates many more problems than it solves”

Practice Your Listening Skills

6. Why Patience is a

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In most cases, you don’t need to respond to a situation right away. You can take a little time and evaluate that situation from a slight distance.

Often, our first reaction to a problem is an emotional one, but emotional solutions rarely solve problems. What is required is clear, balanced thought.

Take a second, breathe deeply and try to imagine any negative emotions leaving your body as you exhale.

Practice patience every day. You can do this by reading more (especially older or longer books), planting something to watch it grow, cooking from scratch, collecting something one piece at a time, building models, or finding a creative hobby such as drawing, painting or learning to play a musical instrument.

Any or all of these activities will help you to become a more patient person.

7. Know the Difference Between

Anger is a feeling, an emotional reaction to particular stimuli, whereas aggression is a course of action brought about by that feeling.

Being angry once in a while is a normal and unavoidable part of the human condition. Aggression, on the other hand, is a decision.

Although aggression can take many forms, it is most often a conscious course of action taken as a result of anger. The most extreme form of reactive aggression is violence.

So if a person insults you, the feeling of anger that arises from it is more or less automatic, but the decision to retaliate in some way is an act of aggression, get it?

This is where the term ‘anger management’ comes into play, because if you know how to adequately deal with your feelings of anger, then you are far less likely to respond aggressively to people or situations that make you angry.

Know the Difference Between Anger and Aggression

Your feelings of anger are most likely normal and probably reasonable enough, but this does not necessarily validate a decision to react aggressively towards others.

As Dr. Martin Luther King once wrote,

“We must not think in terms of retaliatory violence. Violence creates many more problems than it solves”

8. How to Control your

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” – Nelson Mandela

Pop psychology is everywhere these days. You know that episode of whatever where one character hit out at another character because so-and-so died or such-and-such left them or he-or-she lied? Yeah, like that.

The reason these well-worn stories have never gone away is because they almost always ring true. Everybody is dealing with something, even (or perhaps especially) if they don’t feel like they are.

We have all lost our temper at some point, haven’t we? In that white hot, rage-filled moment, we felt justified; maybe we still do, even in hindsight, and if you’re lucky it wasn’t caught on camera.

The skill you need to develop is to keep your cool and not rise to provocation when it is offered.

Breathing exercises work. Counting to 10 under your breath works. Meditation works. All you have to do is want them to work and work at making them work.

Losing your temper and lashing out is the easy solution – and, in the moment, it feels good, but the long-term ramifications for such rash action could be (and often are) dire.

There are many options available for keeping your temper under control; take your pick.

9. Understanding How to

The word ‘stress’ describes a feeling of being under pressure. It can be caused by any number of things, from oncoming deadlines and financial concerns, to relationship issues and bereavement. It often has a cumulative effect, as stresses from one area of your life appear to ‘pile up’ and combine with pressure from other areas.

If it isn’t properly dealt with, stress can lead to all manner of debilitating physical and psychological disorders.

Some signs of stress include,

Understanding How to Manage Stress

The key to understanding stress in others is to recognise it in yourself.

Firstly, you need to understand the things that are causing you stress. You may not be able to do anything about them, but you can at least acknowledge them and the effect they have on you.

Next, you can sort these worries into three categories; things you can fix, things that will solve themselves naturally over time and things that you have no control over (and therefore cannot change).

Try to focus on solving the first set, waiting out the second set and not worrying so much about the third.

Once you understand how to relieve your own stress, you can begin to help others do likewise.

10. Recognising the Signs of

It is very important that you recognise when you are angry. This sounds a bit obvious, but very often people are unaware of the true depth of their feelings.

A lot of people simply pretend that they aren’t angry, or else displace themselves from the causes of their anger.

Anger can be subtle and quietly influential. It isn’t always expressed by shouting, violence or antisocial behaviour; anger can find expression in numerous other ways.

If you are angry, you may find yourself clenching your teeth, suddenly suffering from a headache, or experiencing a stomach ache or muscle tension.

You may end up shaking or trembling, feeling sick or desperately wanting to get away from the person or situation that’s bothering you.

Recognising the Signs of Anger

Emotionally, you could become irritated, depressed, guilty, resentful, anxious or even afraid.

Recognise these signs, know yourself and when you’re about to lose your temper, then look out for those signs in others. It can be, quite literally, a lifesaver.

11. How to Identify Triggers

Obviously, you also need to understand what makes you angry.

You might believe that it’s that mountain of bills that made you angry, or your team’s less-than-stellar performance in Saturday’s big game,  the truth is that when we’re happy and things are going well, we don’t really focus on those things that irritate us. Instead, we tend to let them go.

Other (often quite complicated) emotions can be brought to the surface by certain stimuli. For example, feelings of guilt, frustration or failure can arise when you confront your monthly bills, but those emotions can all subsequently find release as anger or aggression.

However, once you understand that there’s more to your anger than simply the trigger, you’re already halfway home.

External triggers could be things like:

  • Being disrespected by someone in public.
  • Losing money (or spending too much).
  • Getting stuck in traffic.
  • Queuing (no matter how much you remind yourself that it’s Britain’s national sport).
  • Difficult co-worker(s).
  • Being accused of things you didn’t do and etc.

These things raise feelings inside you that either make you angry directly, or else find their release as anger about something else.

 

Internal triggers could be things like:

  • Not getting enough sleep.
  • Feeling hungry (hence the term ‘hangry’).
  • Dehydration
  • Personal issues unrelated to the issue you’re facing.
  • Past trauma.
  • Desire for sex (and the various social issues/stigmas that often come with that).
  • Negative emotions (such as anxiety or depression).
  • Worrying about what other people think (or don’t think) about you.

Ultimately, these internal triggers are usually thought based – and, with dedication and self-discipline thoughts can be controlled.

Identifying the triggers that ‘set you off’ as it were is an important step on the road to emotional wellbeing.

For advice, we recommend identifying these triggers and what makes them…trig. Understand what they are and why they exist. This may be painful at first, but it will likely offer a small amount of release then and there, which should be enough to let you know you’re on the right path.

Remember also that your thoughts are just thoughts, they can’t hurt anybody and nobody besides you is aware of them. The flip side of this is that you don’t know what others are thinking, either, so don’t assume you do.

Keep in mind that conversation, NOT telepathy, is key if you wish to resolve an issue.

If you have a persistent, disturbing or upsetting thought (or thoughts), we suggest verbalising it, either to somebody you trust or simply out loud to an empty room. Dark thoughts are like great white sharks, badass apex predators in the waters of your mind, but absolutely pitiful when washed ashore on the dry land of being spoken out loud.

If you suffer from regular intrusive thoughts or feel you may have obsessive-compulsive disorder, you may require cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This is a separate issue, but we felt, worth a quick mention here as it does affect a lot of people.

Above all, remember that regret comes from living in the past and anxiety comes from worrying about the future. The present, in most cases, is actually quite enjoyable.

12. How You Can Use

Humour is a very useful tool when it comes to relationships of any kind, from the gleeful giggles of a first date, to the well-rehearsed running jokes of a long term friendship and even the comparative awkwardness of client meetings and discussions with tellers at the bank.

Socially, we use humour for many reasons, including masking our true feelings, attracting potential mates, building trust, hiding pain and communicating difficult information to others.

However, humour can backfire on you – and when it does, look out! We’ve all been at a family gathering, meeting or, uh, place of worship, where an ill-considered joke has just bombed. It is, to say the least, not much fun. You definitely want to avoid this in a professional setting, so here are a few tips.

Firstly

You need to ensure that people are in on the joke. There is, after all, a fine line between banter and bullying. A lot depends on how well you know the person you’re joking with. Recognise when you’ve crossed their lines of acceptance and don’t push past them.

Secondly

You should never use humour to mask your negative feelings, because they’ll shine through regardless and you will come off as cruel and insensitive.

Thirdly

Make sure that the person you’re joking with is included in the joke. This then becomes an exercise in bonding, rather than mean-spirited bullying.

You also want to stop the joke if it fails the first time out. If the intended recipients don’t laugh at first, they never will, so all you’ll be doing by carrying on is digging a hole for yourself.

If you want your jokes to land better, be playful and approachable – and expect to get as good as you give. Take good-natured banter from others as a sign of respect and acceptance. There’s nobody less popular than the person who is happy to dish it out, but then gets upset when it’s their turn to take it.

Finally, Poke fun at yourself from time to time, it’s good for you!

13. Put Yourself in

There are two sides to every argument, and although most people would agree to this, not everybody will consider it when they’re actually embroiled in a dispute.

Try to consider things from a different point of view, specifically that of the person you are arguing with.

In many cases, arguments start out as misunderstandings, with one party believing one thing and one party believing another. This is where your listening skills and ability to empathise come in.

As we’ve said elsewhere, understanding your own anger will allow you to understand the anger of others.

There are two sides to every argument, and although most people would agree to this, not everybody will consider it when they’re actually embroiled in a dispute.

Try to consider things from a different point of view, specifically that of the person you are arguing with.

In many cases, arguments start out as misunderstandings, with one party believing one thing and one party believing another. This is where your listening skills and ability to empathise come in.

As we’ve said elsewhere, understanding your own anger will allow you to understand the anger of others.

14. How to Deal with Angry People

When confronted by angry people, it is important to see past their feelings and not end up sharing them yourself.

You may be mentally disciplined, but you are not above losing your temper, nobody is. Even the Dalai Lama himself loses it from time to time, or, as he puts it, “You never stop getting angry about small things”.

A good idea is to try to find out a person’s name. There is a lot of power in a name. Indeed, learning a person’s name is one of the major steps towards building a friendship. However, you should be careful not to overuse their name, as this can come across as patronising, or even faintly antagonistic. The last thing an angry person wants to feel is that they’re being ‘handled’.

Being friendly and polite also helps, as does smiling. If a person is looking for a fight, it is best not to give them one. Instead, be professional, calm and unflappable.

Asking questions is also a great tactic. It allows the angry person to air their grievances and gives them an opportunity to reevaluate the events leading to their initial outburst on their own terms.

In many cases, they will unwittingly reveal a hole in their own logic, or apologise for something they did. When this happens, you can politely suggest a compromise, which will allow them to save face and allow you to resolve the issue.

To return to the example of the Dalai Lama, he says “We cannot overcome anger and hatred simply by suppressing them. We need to actively cultivate the antidotes to hatred: patience and tolerance… When we are engaged in the practice of patience and tolerance, in reality, what is happening is you are engaged in a combat with hatred and anger.”

15. How Stimulating your will Help you Relax

The vagus nerve (sometimes called the pneumogastric nerve) runs from your neck through to your diaphragm and is the tenth cranial nerve. Broadly speaking, it interfaces with the autonomic control of the heart, lungs and digestive tract.

So why is it important? We’re glad you asked, Johnny. When you exhale for longer than you inhale, our old friend the vagus nerve tells the body to rely more on your parasympathetic nervous system and less on your sympathetic nervous system.

How Stimulating your Vagus Nerve will Help you Relax

What does that mean?

Parasympathetics control your ability to rest and relax, whereas sympathetics control your in-built ‘fight or flight’ reflex. Soooo, by stimulating your vagus nerve, you’re specifically telling your body to relax you and not to send you into a panic.

This is one reason why breathing techniques are so effective.

16. A Breakdown of

Taking short breaks, during which you might read, listen to music or talk to a friend, will really help your mood to improve.

Also, anything that removes you from the source of your frustration is a good thing as it affords you time to calm down. Here are a few more suggestions.

Go out of your way to help others. Buy some food for a homeless person, praise someone’s haircut on Facebook, tell a colleague that you appreciate them.

You don’t need to rescue orphans from a burning building in order to do good in the world (though we’re not suggesting that you leave the orphans to fry if you ever find yourself that particular situation).

Before you go to bed, mentally list all the good things you did that day and realise that you’re a positive force in the world. That way, each night gives you a miniature George Bailey buzz.

Opt to change your mind and focus only on positive feelings, rather than dwelling on negatives.

Take a second to go over a scenario that made you angry. Was it really your other half leaving the lid off the butter that made you this P.O’d? Perhaps they don’t deserve to bear the full brunt of your ire?

Lastly, practice gratitude. Generally seen as something of a ‘New Age’ concept, the practice of gratitude is nevertheless an effective tool to aid positive thinking and improve mental discipline. You can do it in a number of ways, but the simplest is to spend roughly 5 – 15 minutes a day listing the things in your life that you’re happy about/grateful for.

So, instead of worrying about (to borrow a line from Alanis Morissette) “your bills, your ex, your deadlines, or when you think you’re gonna die”, be thankful instead for the positive things in your life. Express gratitude for your health, your family, the food in your belly, the air in your lungs or the roof over your head.

Do you have a kickass record collection? A happy marriage? A good relationship with your parents? If so, say thanks.

It doesn’t matter if you see yourself as ‘thanking’ any one or any thing in particulat. If you believe in God, thank God. If you believe in the spaghetti meatball monster, thank his sauce-covered ass. If none of the above are applicable to you, then just be grateful to yourself for your own good fortune and ingenuity.

You can practice gratitude mentally, audibly or via pen and paper, it is entirely up to you. After a couple of weeks, you’ll be amazed at how swiftly your mood – and your patience for other people – improves.

In the end, happiness is an option for everybody, whoever they are. To quote The Buddha,

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared”.

17. Don’t be Afraid to

If you are struggling, you can always seek help. Friends, family or professionals; the average person has more support than they think they do.

As we said elsewhere, sitting on your emotions can lead to all manner of psychological and physical ailments, some of which take years to cure – and others, once manifested, will simply never get better.

Your emotional wellbeing is extremely important, not just to you, but also to the people around you; whatever else you do, never forget that.

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