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生气你就输了:职场怒火扑救指南

有些人往往只是单纯地发泄怒火来得到某种畸形的快感,而不去找出怒火的源头,想办法改善不如意的情况。但研究表明,发脾气并不会使怒气消失,反而会激化负面情绪。

Picture this: you're pumped to start your work day with a cup of coffee, when you see that your jerk co-worker has left the break room in shambles: grounds everywhere, dish soap oozing on the counter, half-opened sugar packets on the floor by the trash.

我们不妨设想一下这样一个情景:你正精神抖擞,打算给自己来杯咖啡,好开始一天的工作。然而,当你走进休息室,却发现里面已经被邋遢同事弄得一片狼藉——到处都是咖啡渣,香皂盒里满是香皂液,甚至都溢到了洗手台上,地面垃圾遍布,已经打开的糖包散落其间……

So frustrating. And if you're like most of us, the first thing you want to do is blow off steam. We think of venting as a transfer of heat; as "blowing off steam," meaning anger, which would otherwise stay inside, creating pressure which could cause us to explode at an inopportune moment. Venting is different than complaining, which means voicing a concern with the goal of changing something or addressing the cause of the problem.

这种事情实在让人无法忍受。如果和大多数人一样,你的第一反应肯定是大发雷霆。其实,发泄是一种能量的传递,想“大发脾气”是因为有怒火在胸中燃烧,如果不释放出来就会不断累积,直到最后某个时机一股脑爆发出来。发泄怒火和抱怨是两回事,抱怨的含义更多在于表达某种担忧,而最终目的是想做出改变或解决问题。

You can get a kind of warped satisfaction from talking about being angry without necessarily wanting to change the circumstances that trigger that emotion. But research suggests that venting anger doesn't get rid of it. Instead, it amplifies those negative feelings.

有些人往往只是单纯地发泄怒火来得到某种畸形的快感,而不去找出怒火的源头,想办法改善不如意的情况。但研究表明,发脾气并不会使怒气消失,反而会激化负面情绪。

There are some obvious downsides to showing your anger in this way -- some studies suggest that angry people tend to be at greater risk for heart disease. But besides the larger health risks, fuming employees can corrode a workplace environment.

这种以发脾气来发泄怒火的方式有一些明显的弊端——诸多研究表明,脾气火爆的人更容易得心脏病。但除了健康上的危害,爱发脾气的员工还会破坏工作环境。

Even so, venting is an office staple. The average employee either vents or hears someone else vent about four times a day, according to Kristin Behfar, a professor of business administration at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. "Most papers on venting find that it's negative, but they stop there. They don't find what the listener does," Behfar says. So she and her colleagues worked on a study, currently under review, that looks at the best way to mitigate the damaging effects of venting.

即便如此,发泄怒火仍然是职场上的家常便饭。美国弗吉尼亚大学达顿商学院工商管理学教授克里斯汀-贝法尔说,平均每位员工每天发火或者目睹同事发火的次数可达四次。“大部分研究都只局限在证明发泄怒火的负面效应,而没有作更深入的研究。这些研究并没有关注听众的行为。”贝法尔和她的同事进行了一项研究,力图寻找最佳方法来减轻发泄怒火所带来的破坏性影响,目前该研究正处于归纳总结阶段。

The worst thing a listener can do, the researchers found, is agree with an angry co-worker. "When you feed the flame, it burns longer," says Brad Bushman, an anger expert at Ohio State University's School of Communication. "Listeners who agree are just keeping angry feelings alive when the key is to let them die."

研究人员发现,听众最糟糕的行为就是对怒火中烧的同事表示认同。“一旦助长了别人的怒火,它就会燃烧得更长久,”俄亥俄州立大学传播学院研究“愤怒情绪”的专家布拉德-布西曼说。“听众一旦表示认同,发泄者的愤怒情绪就会持续,但解决问题的关键却在于熄灭怒火。”

Listeners can diffuse destructive venting, but it can be difficult to do at work. First off, a small percentage of employees probably enjoy venting for the sake of it and may not care about the consequences, Behfar says. In that case, there's little a listener can do.

实际上,听众可以平息消极的怒火,但在工作时却不太容易实现。首先,有一小部分员工可能只是为了发泄而不计后果地发脾气,贝法尔说。在这种情况下,听众就无计可施。

Venting at work is particularly prevalent because the hierarchy at many offices can make people feel like their hands are tied. Very few among us enjoy confronting someone with an issue, especially if the issue stems from an authority figure. Instead, most of us vent to likeable people who tend to agree with us. Unfortunately, complaining to people that we trust can keep our anger alive longer.

许多公司的层级制度使员工感到束手束脚,因此上班时发泄怒火就成了司空见惯的事。很少有人喜欢和别人就某一问题而针锋相对,特别是如果挑起事端的是公司里的权威人物。相反,人们喜欢找关系不错的人来发泄一通,原因是他们大多会同意自己的想法。然而,不幸的是,向信任的人诉苦只会让我们的怒火燃烧得更久。

"The danger is that if you get a response that confirms a negative emotion, you can become a brooder," Behfar says. The brooder: another negative office personality, perhaps even worse than break room mess guy.

“危险在于,当你的负面情绪得到了认可,你就可能变成‘牢骚精’,”贝尔法说,“牢骚精”是另一种办公室人格,比休息室“破坏者”更恶劣。

The best way to keep from egging on an upset person, Behfar found, is to offer a new take on a frustrating situation, or provide context that can help convince a co-worker that the problem isn't that big of a deal.

贝尔法发现,要避免给一个正在发脾气的人火上浇油,最好是针对不利情况提出一个全新的见解,或者帮助他重新分析环境,使他相信问题也许没有想象的那么严重。

It's a rather anti-climatic way to cope with such a powerful feeling, and being told to calm down can deflate the rush that comes with feeling angry, which some people like. In fact, a couple of years ago, a producer for talk show The View called Bushman as a potential guest who would teach four angry women, the show's hosts, how best to vent. That would be the worst thing he could do, Bushman told the producer. The best way to deal with anger isn't to vent it or bottle it, he said, but address the emotion and then tone it down.

处理这样一种激烈的情绪,最好的方法是给它降降温,或许这一点与现在全球变暖的趋势背道而驰。劝说气头上的人冷静下来有助于释放发泄者的愤怒情绪,避免发泄者做出冲动的行为。事实上,在几年前,脱口秀节目《观点》的制作人曾有意邀请布西曼作为嘉宾,为该节目四位暴躁的女主持人传授发泄怒火的最佳方法。布西曼向这位制作人坦言,他不愿意这样做。他说,处理愤怒的最佳途径不是发泄也不是压抑,而是正确地疏导、缓和愤怒的情绪。

Some good methods include counting to 10, diverting angry thoughts with an activity such as a crossword puzzle, or doing something that makes it hard for even the biggest hot heads to stay enraged, like petting a puppy.

从一数到十是个不错的方法;除此之外,也可以把愤怒的情绪转移到其他活动上,比如填字游戏,或一些即使是最火爆的“暴脾气”也无法燃起怒火的事情,比如抚摸抚摸小狗。

Those activities would not make for good television, the producer said, and Bushman was not invited on the show.

但这位制作人称,这些活动无助于提高收视率,布西曼因此并没有受邀参加这档节目。

But the tactics Bushman suggested can be more productive ways to address anger than merely letting it all out to a colleague. So the next time you want to tell your co-worker about the coffee room disaster zone, make sure you find someone who will offer you new insight, or just tell you to calm down. That, or keep plenty of puppies handy.

但相比对着同事大发脾气而言,布西曼的方法却是应对愤怒的良策。所以,下次你因为休息室一片狼藉打算找个同事发牢骚时,最好找一个视角独到的人,或者找一个能帮你冷静下来的人。要不然,就带几只小狗在身边吧。

李红颖 本文来源:沪江英语
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