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Anger Management: How to manage emotions at work

How to manage emotions at work

With Hong Kong’s unpaid overtime tab running at $10billion annually, according to a report by the Standard Working Hours Committee, it’s easy to understand why tensions at work can boil over. But it’s not only extra hours that cause employees to suffer from high-stress levels – there are numerous reasons why emotions surface, ranging from tight deadlines and difficult clients to unmet expectations and unfair treatment.

To avoid burnout or the urge to unexpectedly quit your job, it’s essential to find methods that allow you to deal with the bottled-up frustration before it explodes, potentially causing more harm than good. Here are a few strategies that will help you to manage and release your emotions in a professional manner.

Focus on finding a solution

Tensions at work often arise due to unexpected mistakes and unresolved issues. While some might only feel temporary stress due to a demanding project, others may have a constant fear of being fired. Whichever it is, the way forward is to focus on the solution rather than the problem. Stop worrying, look objectively at whatever causes your anger, and identify what you can do to fix it.

Once you analyse the root of the problem, start brainstorming for solutions. More often than not, you will be able to resolve the issue by yourself, be it by asking for additional time to complete an assignment, making more of an effort to get to know an annoying colleague or creating a system that helps you to prioritise your tasks. If that doesn’t work, consult a trusted mentor or manager for advice.

Keep an eye on the bigger picture

When working on a project that drags on for much longer than it should, it’s easy to lose oneself in the details of a task. If the back-and-forth between you and your co-workers continuously fails to produce the desired results, stress and frustration are a natural consequence.

Once you begin to feel tensions rise, it’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What is it that you are trying to achieve? Are you working towards one goal or are getting stuck on a minor detail, creating a bottleneck as a result? Smaller conflicts and unnecessary frustration are often due to tunnel-vision and can be solved by re-evaluating processes and streamlining where necessary.

Give yourself a break

Although it may seem like the last thing you need when stressing about an important project, taking a break can give you the necessary perspective to move forward. In fact, studies have shown that workers who frequently take short breaks are actually less stressed and more productive than those who don’t.

Whether it’s going for a short walk to get a coffee, playing a quick round at the office foosball table, or getting recommendations from colleagues for your next holiday getaway, do whatever you need to to step away from your desk for a bit. Taking short breaks is even recommended by the Hong Kong government, as it equally boosts productivity, helps to prevent accidents and keeps workers healthy.

By taking these measures, hopefully you’re able to inhale deeply and calmly manage your emotions – as well as eradicate the issues that were stressing you in the first place.


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