Help! I can't control my anger

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Feeling depressed, anxious or overwhelmed? WKND is here to help with a new, interactive column dedicated to mental health

By Dr Annette Schonder

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Published: Thu 24 Sep 2020, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 24 Sep 2020, 9:00 PM

I am 61 years old and suffer from diabetes and a heart condition. I get angry very easily when I see people who do not do their jobs properly. I even tend to get abusive. Please advise how I can control myself. - Shaukat
The most important thing for you is to take good care of yourself. Make your health and wellbeing your priority. You already know that being angry and abusive is not a good state to be in, because of the negative consequences to your physical and mental health. And being abusive to your fellow workers creates a hostile and toxic work environment for everyone.
You are aware of what triggers your anger (the incompetence you perceive among your fellow workers) and the unhealthy behaviours that follow (anger and abuse). You need to learn how to respond positively in those situations, rather than react with anger and abuse. What can help you when you want to lash out at a colleague who has not worked properly is to give yourself time to manage your angry feelings. A few deep breaths can dampen your anger to the point where you can respond more calmly to the colleague with helpful instructions on how to do the job correctly. Try to see yourself as an experienced colleague who can function as a mentor.
It is essential that you  manage your stress at work and after you go home. A few small breaks to take deep breaths and taking time to drink water and have lunch are also very helpful. Exercising after work and spending meaningful time with family, friends, and hobbies will significantly contribute to your overall wellbeing and increase your ability to deal with frustrations at work and in life.
If you try to make some positive changes in thoughts and behaviours but continue to feel angry and behave abusively, I would encourage you to seek mental health services to rule out the possibility of an underlying mental health disorder.
(Dr Annette is integrated psychotherapist at CHMC, Dubai. Got a query? Email us on

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