By | Lisa Christen | community.thriveglobal.com
Stay calm. Remain cool. Keep composed. It’s easy for people to say this is how you should react when you’re feeling angry, frustrated or disrespected at work. In theory, many of us would agree. The problem is that we don’t know how to actually do it.
For most of us, our first “normal” reaction to experiencing negative emotions is often reactive. Our anger comes seemingly automatically because our brains are interpreting what caused our negative feelings as a “threat.” Gone are the days when our biggest fear was being eaten by a lion or a tiger; in the modern world, our jungle is the workplace and some of the biggest threats we perceive are threats to our ego. Our threat detection signals go off when we feel someone is questioning our intelligence, expertise, credibility, worthiness or respect, and our anger can spiral out of control.
But the next time you notice you’re feeling angry, simply hit “pause.” You want to slow down your brain’s threat detection so that you’ll have the ability to make a deliberate decision to override anger and choose calm instead. This might sound complex, but it’s actually simple. Here are seven techniques for hitting pause when you’re feeling angry.
In the heat of the moment, hit pause.
You notice you are getting angrier, and you can’t seem to stop it.Instead of trying to use rational thoughts, do something physical that will hit pause on acting out the negative emotion. Take a breath.Take a sip of water. Take your pen and write a note. Touch your tongue to the back of your teeth. Go to the bathroom. Do whatever you need to do in order to create a pause between your strong emotion and your response. Even a two-second pause can be enough to stop you from reacting with anger.