Happiness Is: NOT Talking to Coworkers - Anger Untangled at Work - First of 5 Articles

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Meeting coworkers for lunch or coffee breaks is one of the biggest mistakes we make! The people aren't the problem.
It's the conversation.
We build negativity and anger with the constant whining and complaining.
When is the last time you said something like: I have so much work to do, it's just great! Wow, I'm having just the best day at work! Isn't this just the best place to work! I'm so glad I came to work today! NOT! Instead, too often we get caught in negative conversations with comments like: Have you heard what Bob did today? The photocopier's down again.
Skinflints! The equipment here is ancient! They don't pay me enough to take this crap! Management sits in their offices all day and does nothing! Jenny's at it again! I'll never get through all this work! I hate this place! The problem with the negative comments is that they're cumulative.
"You might handle the first negative comment OK.
And the second and third, but by the fourth or fifth your safety brain (amygdala) says, This place isn't safe! You'll find yourself getting angry, negative, or upset.
The safety brain takes over, dumps adrenaline in your system, and activates your defense systems-fight or flight.
Once the safety brain takes over, all rational thought stops AND no work gets done!" and you go back to your desk in a bad mood.
Regaining access to your thinking brain (neo cortex), and to the ability to get some work done, takes a minimum of 20 minutes.
First you have to calm down and relax.
Then, there is still a 20-minute window when, if anything else irritating happens, big trouble.
It's like a hole in the dike.
If there is even a shred of adrenaline left in your system, and something else irritating or negative happens, your safety brain releases a tidal wave of adrenaline into your system, and you're ready to explode in anger or frustration! It's happened to all of us.
Have you ever had a day at work that went from bad to worse? But the day finally ended.
You get home and, feeling calm, head into the living room to relax or into the kitchen to start dinner.
Then one of the kids, your partner, or the family dog makes the fatal mistake of BREATHING! And you rip their face off! I thought you said you were calm.
It happens at work, too.
During lunch or coffee breaks, if the conversation is negative, when you get back to your desk the adrenaline is running rampant, your safety brain is firmly in control, and you have no access to your thinking brain.
So no work gets done while you try to calm down.
Then, before you have a chance to flush out the adrenaline, your most irritating person walks by your desk.
WHAM! The adrenaline floods your system again.
Then, just when you thought you might be able to get back to work, you get a frustrated client on the phone.
WHAM! More adrenaline.
Then you glance through your inbox and see that report you've been putting off-WHAM! More adrenaline! Nothing gets done for the rest of the day.
Have you ever had those days when you get to work in a bad mood, felt like you were going a million miles an hour all day, and yet nothing got done? The company's profit margin would be a lot higher if we'd take our breaks alone, concentrated on positive conversation, or learned to calm down faster.
One of my favorite lunchroom replacements is puzzles: jigsaw puzzles, word search games, suduko, "Where is Waldo," logic problems, coloring books, and I LOVE the "I Spy" books.
Really, give people something positive to do and accomplish over lunch instead of whining and complaining.
I PROMISE everyone will go back to their desks happy, positive, and productivity will go up a minimum of 35%! Jeanette Kasper - The Anger UnTangler
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