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Anger and Emotional Hijacking

Have you ever wondered where anger comes from? Have you found yourself getting angrier than might later seem reasonable? Anger is one of two emotions that can cause the longest and most detrimental issues and concerns for many people (the other is fear).

Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure, wrath, belligerence or hostility. It can range from irritability to outright hostility. When you feel it, you know it! It can be a very uncomfortable and challenging emotion, in part because it sets off a series of physiological responses in our bodies. Anger, a form of emotional hijacking, happens to everyone because it’s an innate physiological response.

Sooner or later; everyone feels angry at work. However, displaying anger can have devastating consequences in the workplace. One person’s anger may cause those around them to feel fearful and it could be considered harassment. For this reason, anger in the workplace may sometimes have legal implications for the person who is angry and for their employer.

Experiencing anger sets off a series of physiological responses in our body which can interfere with getting along with people in our personal and professional lives.

It can occur for many reasons; however, it is often triggered when our expectations are not met, when something or someone gets in the way of what we want, or when our strongly-held beliefs are challenged.

If anger is a natural process, then why it is a problem? Anger is a problem because it is such a powerful emotion that it causes others to become fearful of being hurt emotionally or physically. Perceived threats pose the same physiological threats as real threats. When you are frequently angry at work it can affect your job and even your career because:

  • you may get a reputation of being difficult and unpredictable
  • it can damage relationships inside the company with internal customers
  • it can damage relationships outside the company with external customers/clients

There are laws requiring that work places be safe. Anger can be seen as harassment or bullying and an anger situation at work can also have legal implications. These types of situations can potentially cost the company time, money and can hurt its reputation.

Anger can happen so quickly that you may not take the time to think things through. To manage emotions more effectively, you need to figure out what gets you angry and whether you have a short or a long fuse.

With practice, you can identify the early warning signs of anger. As you develop self-awareness, you will learn to recognize when you are in the early stages of anger so that you can take action and get back on track. The more self-awareness you have, the better you can become at regulating your emotions. The more you know about your motivators, passions and what’s important to you the more you can predict your reactions, especially anger. Emotional temperature is what your body is feeling and gives you an early warning about how you will react.

Using what you learn about Emotional Intelligence (EQ), its dimensions and components, and practicing the techniques, is the way to keep anger from controlling you. When you’re motivated, you can learn to regulate your emotions, and practice will make you more adept at managing yourself. With well-developed Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills, you can learn to disarm anger before it disarms you, so that you can minimize the occurrences of being emotionally hijacked.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and emotional discipline, check out an article of ours from earlier this year.