THE BLOG
22/09/2015 07:50 BST | Updated 21/09/2016 06:12 BST

How to Stop Getting Cross at Work

The pace of change in technology, society and innovation has accelerated continually in the last 50 years and become an exciting high speed journey along the information superhighway.

With this speed comes impatience. We now expect that Web pages load in a quarter of a second, but two seconds in 2009 seemed just fine as did four seconds in 2006. By 2012, video had to load in under two seconds to have any hope of going viral.

The human brain has only evolved by 10 per cent in the past 50,000 years. Most of your brain is still very much living in the past. 90% of you is hanging around the cave, fighting off perceived predators. We are on a mission to protect our share of the next sabre toothed tiger. When something we perceive as a 'predator' comes our way, our brains hit reactive mode as our innate survival instinct. With this mode comes a feeling of inner homelessness; we feel disconnected, unappreciated and unloved.

As Dan Gardner explains in his book The Science of Fear,

'When it comes to the evolution of psychology, we should imagine the development of the human brain by equating the past 2 million years of human development to a 201-page book. Of that book, 200 pages would cover the entire time our species spent being nomadic hunter-gatherers in the Stone Age. The last page would cover our time as an agrarian society. The last paragraphs on the final page would cover the last two centuries of the world we now live in. We are cavemen.'

We cannot avoid our built in caveman entirely. But studies show that up to 42% of employee time at work is spent engaging in or trying to resolve conflict, (Anger Management Institute), taking up 20% of leadership time and resulting in 370 million lost days annually in the UK alone. That's a lot of wasted time.

So if we can find ways to control the caveman, we can spend less time pacing around the cave in a state of unproductive angst and more time hanging out in the hammock with a relaxed creative mind.

1. Notice when you get a visceral angry response and stop whatever you are doing. Sit straight, smile and take a deep breath and notice what's happening. You need to get conscious again so best to stand up and walk a little. Our cavemen brain will be telling us something is dangerous. Unless you are in ISIS territory, it usually isn't. See what the fear is and what is really true.

2. If in doubt, go somewhere else, walk away from your desk and find some space. By moving your body the reaction will dissipate and you will feel calmer and more able to focus.

3. Phone a friend - talking to a friend will help by getting their perspective. It is possible for one person to feel great anguish over something that another person wouldn't mind at all.

4. Go out into a park and shout at the trees until you feel better. Nature and fresh air is proven to make us feel better. Just 5 mins of walking in nature can benefit your mood, self-esteem and mental health, a study by the University of Essex has shown.

4. Remember its not about you, you are just reacting, so don't go to a bar and hit the drink. An angry drunk ain't a fun one.