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Take a deep breath…

Take a deep breath…

There’s been a couple of great posts working their way across Linkedin and other social media platforms, via Youtube, in recent weeks. They consist of gasp / ‘laugh out loud’ footage, depicting workers losing their cool in the office environment. So what is it about these flashes of rage in an office setting that keeps us so engrossed?

Apart from the obvious, undignified spectacle of it all, there is a certain ‘there but for the grace of God’ angle to this form of entertainment. We’ve all seen it happen many a time – maybe not to the degree to be witnessed in these eye-watering examples - and, let’s face it, we’ve all been tempted once or twice to let the red mist take us and let loose…

There are some positives to losing your cool, if you’re prepared to risk looking like a bit of an idiot, losing face, along with your cool, and damaging your reputation. (May as well get a bit of ‘worst case scenario’ out of the way !). Obviously, there is the immediate gratification of letting off steam and shouting at someone, who you know to be in the wrong, of course (!!!), but there are also other, less obvious, benefits to letting go.

A Harvard Medical School study found that those who repress anger at work were far more likely to have reached an impasse in their careers. This is borne out by a new study from the University of Cambridge who found that those who have strong ties to their jobs are less likely to quit if they lose their temper as their outbursts are indications that they actually care and identify with their workplaces.

There are also health implications that come with holding down rage which, again, makes a little outburst every now and then seem something of a positive. Research conducted by the University of Sweden indicates that men who repress anger at work are more than twice as likely to suffer from heart attacks.

If anger can be expressed, without losing control, it can denote assertiveness and a willingness to show passion which should command some respect. However, it’s got to be proportionate, on the right scale and worth it. To clarify the latter, there may be consequences to raising your head above the parapet and unleashing your temper. To be angry is to risk losing control and that means exposing yourself to any outcome. In short, it needs to be about something really worthwhile; something that matters.

And, like any great emotion, to have good effect, anger should be used sparingly. When used infrequently, anger can be a good commodity but if you are always quick to blow your top, you won’t be taken seriously and neither will your reaction. If you are not perceived as an angry person, any indication of displeasure will carry some weight: As with everything, a little anger can go a very long way.

Best advice is, if you’re in a situation where you feel the blood virtually burning up within you, take five minutes and calm down. Go for a walk, get some air and remove yourself from the situation. If that’s not possible, then mentally count to ten.

When you’ve had a chance to think, run your thoughts by a trusted friend, colleague or family member and see what their perception is regarding whether or not your feelings are justifiable and if you should act. The key thing to remember is to pick your fights carefully. Will this really bother you in a month, next week or even tomorrow?

Take a deep breath and start counting….


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