In moments when stress wins and our capabilities reach the limit, we get angry and upset. At such moments, the thought of dropping everything and leaving, slamming the door, seems especially attractive. Experts call this “angry dismissal” – when we impulsively make a decision to leave without considering the consequences at all.
When we get angry and irritated, our brains go into fight-or-flight mode . In it, our emotional and behavioral responses become automatic, and we cannot think rationally and logically. The likelihood that we will regret the decisions we made in this state is very high.
So the next time you feel a strong urge to “angry quit,” try following the three-step algorithm.
1. Take control of your emotions
The first thing to do when you’re on edge is to take a deep breath and exhale a few times to oxygenate your blood. This will help reduce the impact of stress and think more than in fight or flight mode, as well as give you time to critically assess the situation and consider your reaction.
Our thoughts about what is happening can both fuel feelings of disappointment and dissatisfaction, and reduce them to nothing. We alone are responsible for our emotions. Remind yourself to be patient and that you will be able to show perseverance and poise to deal with a difficult situation.
Often, the behavior of others that is unacceptable from our point of view reflects their own problems. A colleague may have sent you a nasty email because he or she is suffering from stress. And the boss could break loose at the meeting, because he is experiencing problems in his personal life. Of course, this is not an excuse and in no way makes such behavior acceptable. However, being aware of this fact will help you manage your emotions more effectively.
Another way to calm down is to take a break and spend it in a nearby park. Studies show that walking in nature helps to get rid of negativity and recover. If you can’t go outside, open a window, get some fresh air and enjoy the view. You can also listen to music. It has a similar calming effect.
2. Analyze the situation
When you are so irritated that you are ready to drop everything in an instant, it is important to take a critical look at the situation. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the situation that pissed you off repeating all the time or is it an isolated incident? If you’ve been arguing with your boss for years, it might really be time to leave. But if a normally reserved colleague responded emotionally to you only once, perhaps his irascibility should be forgiven.
- What role do you play in the circumstances? Think about your own responsibility for what happened and how you could improve your skills and reactions in order to maintain a pleasant atmosphere and solve the problem.
- Your reaction is not too violent? Sometimes problems that have nothing to do with work lead to an emotional “short circuit”. For example, we may overreact to small things and lash out at others when we are in the process of moving or going through a difficult period in a relationship. Even lack of sleep causes bad mood and irritation. Therefore, it is worth considering the broader context that affects our response.
- Will it matter in the future? Everything may seem important here and now, but will what happened be relevant tomorrow, next week, or a year from now? Perhaps everything is not so catastrophic and the problem can be ignored.
- Can you influence the situation? If you’re dealing with a systemic problem, like a toxic work environment or a boss with no respect for his subordinates, it might be time to move on. However, if you have the power to improve the situation, suggest changes, or show an example of worthy behavior, do not miss the chance to prove yourself.
If you still decide that it’s time to quit, answer yourself a few more questions:
- Can you afford to be fired? Finding a new job will take time, so it’s worth making sure you have the financial airbag you need.
- What will you lose if you quit? Perhaps you are on the verge of a long-awaited promotion or fully share the company’s values. In a new job, you have to start from scratch. Make sure you get the best out of your current location before you leave.
- Why did you choose this job? Remember what attracted you to the position and the company at the very beginning: interesting tasks, a good salary, or career opportunities. If all this is still relevant, maybe it makes sense to stay.
3. Get started
Once you’ve got your emotions under control and analyzed the situation, it’s time to act. Developing a plan will help you feel less angry and feel your inner strength again.
Start by working out your reaction. Discuss what happened in a confidential conversation with a colleague you trust. Once you speak out, you will feel better. Or write a harsh letter to the person you’re in conflict with, but don’t send it. Remember that you are able to control your thoughts, and when you take responsibility for your thoughts, you will be able to control your emotions and reactions.
If you decide to take the last step, make sure you have a plan. Find people to help you and make a list of things to focus on. Perhaps now is the right time to move towards new opportunities, but in a different company.
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