Do you sometimes feel on the brink of losing your temper? You hold it in and bite your tongue, but it doesn’t make you feel good. The other person wonders what just happened and you certainly don’t perform at your best for a while afterwards. It happens to everyone. We all encounter experiences that test our patience.
There are times when you are more likely to lose your temper.
You are more likely to feel wound-up when you have too much to do and too little energy with which to do it. Add to a busy agenda, already feeling tired when you woke up in the morning and you are all set for anger.
Often, really, we are annoyed with someone else or about something other than the immediate “provocation.” Unfortunately, the person around us at the time is the most accessible target for displaced anger.
Sometimes, we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves, the team or our family and friends. What we plan doesn’t take into account the unpredictability of life in general and we blame others for their inability to fulfill our unrealistic goals.
Often frustration is of our own making because we failed to be honest with ourselves or to put in the extra effort it took to plan properly.
Once you begin to feel frustrated, it is all too easy to slide into thinking it must be someone else’s fault; “they’re out to get me”. Once you start to think this way, it is all too easy to find things that seem to confirm our distorted perspective.
Losing your temper doesn’t make you feel better. Talk about anger being cathartic is misguided and sometimes down-right dangerous. Anger feeds anger. And afterwards you usually feel guilty and embarrassed as well as concerned for those you may have hurt. The waste is of energy that would be better spent solving the problem.
So what can you do?
Here are some suggestions for helping you to control your temper.
Get the rest you need. It is often tempting when you feel under pressure, to work very long hours or to take work home. Done for a long period this can have a hugely negative effect on both your state of mind and your performance. Make sure you get adequate rest and relaxation if you want to continue to perform at your best and avoid anger
Find, and face, the real cause of your anger. Ask yourself what is really going on. If you can’t deal with the issue immediately, start to plan and take steps to reduce the tension. Be honest with yourself and seek outside help or advice if you need it.
Be realistic in your plans and expectations of yourself and other people. Face reality and make contingency plans in case things go wrong. Allow enough time and resources to do the job properly. If you do decide to cut corners, be honest about the risks you are taking.
Plan for things carefully and always think what could be the worst case scenario. Time spent planning saves time spent putting things right.
Accept that those around you are no more perfect than you are. They will sometimes make mistakes. That doesn’t mean they are bad people or that they don’t want to do their best to help you. Accept them for what they are and do your best to help them do better next time.
Learn to take time out. When you feel yourself beginning to get wound-up, learn to have the grace to walk away and calm down. Take a few minutes out, preferably in the fresh air. Go for a short walk or sit quietly and slow your breathing. You could use the calming technique I described here last week. You can find it at this link. When you feel calmer make plans for handling the situation before you return to it.
If you would like to discuss how to handle your anger better, get in touch.