Last Updated Jan 19, 2011 1:04 PM EST
When you feel yourself edging closer to losing your cool at the office, Gretchen Rubin, blogger and author of The Happiness Project, suggests you take a moment of self-reflection. But rather than just provide a platitude, she adds six specific questions you can ask yourself to short circuit a temper tantrum. They're well worth keeping in mind:
- Am I at fault? I hate to be criticized or to be in the wrong. Often, I'm angriest when someone is chiding me about something that I am, indeed, guilty of. When I'm about to hit back, I remind myself to accept criticism politely, if grudgingly.
- Will this solve anything? I often snap when I feel like I'm confronting the same annoyance over and over. Fact is, people often have irritating habits that aren't going to change. I try to remember that snapping isn't going to make any difference, but will only make me feel bad.
- Am I improving the situation? This is particularly important with my younger daughter. If I lose my temper with her, the problem just escalates to a whole new horrible level. She dissolves into tears and wails, "You talked to me in a mean voice!" It's far more effective to stay calm. Also, nicer.
- Should I be helping you? Often, I lose my temper because I'm actually feeling guilty about my own unhelpfulness. My guilt makes me crabby, but it's really a sign that I should be taking action.
- Am I uncomfortable? Discomfort shortens my fuse. I've become much more careful to dress warmly (even when people make fun of my long underwear and double sweaters), to snack more often, to turn off the light when I'm sleepy, and to take pain medication as soon as I get a headache.
- Can I make a joke of this? Using humor is extraordinarily effective.
Read More on BNET:
- Is Anger Management BS?
- 5 Effective Ways to Use Anger in the Office
- Losing Your Temper at Work: How to Survive It