Being an attorney is stressful! At times stress can aid in productivity but if left unmanaged it can interfere with professional and personal relationships and impede productivity. There are several profession-specific contributors to anger among attorneys including, the competitive nature of the profession, fatigue from long hours, high and sometimes unreasonable expectations to name a few. Layers often experience divorce at higher rates than other professions, domestic violence, substance abuse and stress related physical illnesses.
Learning ways to manage anger is essential for avoiding these and other potential health complications, psychological distress, diminished productivity at work, poor personal and professional relationships.
Do You Have an Anger Management Problem?
Below are some signs and indicators of anger management problems:
- Inability to let go of situations or to accept disappointments or frustrations
- Getting very angry very easily, “Going from A to Z in a second”.
- Overreaction/disproportionate reaction disproportionate to situation.
- Impatience; low tolerance; inflexibility
- Saying or doing things in anger that you later regret,
- Intimidation or bullying
- Verbal attacks through criticism, sarcasm, or name-calling. Cursing at others in personal and professional settings.
- Impaired sleep due to thinking about a situation that has angered us
- Getting so angry that we can’t remember what we said or did
- Becoming vindictive.
- Family or co-workers expressing fear of our temper
- Feeling depressed or even suicidal after becoming very angry.
- Using alcohol/drugs, food, spending money or other behaviors when angry, frustrated, or hurt.
In some cases anger is acted out in passive aggressive ways, do you recognize any of these in yourself?
- Refusing to comply, or verbalizing agreement and doing the opposite
- Putting off tasks or neglecting certain responsibilities
- Missing or being late for appointments
- Giving someone the silent treatment
- Procrastination and intentional mistakes in response to others’ demands
- Being cynical or sullen
- Constantly complaining, blaming others, and feeling unappreciated
If you recognize that you struggle with these signs or you are concerned about a colleague struggling please reach out, we can help!
- Call the LAP Helpline 888-408-6222
- Call LAP Director 516-512-2618
- Email LAP@nassaubar.org
Anger Management Tools
Below are some tools for managing anger:
- Take several deep breaths while sitting or lying down. Learning to tolerate the feelings without reacting is helpful.
- Change your environment.
- Take time before reacting. Slowly count to 10 (or 20 or more) and think before you respond. Perhaps listen to your favorite soothing music.
- Think before you speak. Then express yourself in a way that helps you find solutions to the problems that contribute to your anger.
- Show respect for the other person and for yourself.
- When the person responds, give your full attention.
- Speak clearly and assertively, but avoid sounding or acting pushy.
- Make time for enjoyable activities to bring balance into your life.
- Take time to relax and enjoy hobbies, friends, family and pets.
- Talk out minor problems before they escalate.
- Simplify your daily routine and don’t be afraid to say “no” to avoid getting stressed out.