How to Cope When You're Mad as Hell at Work

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Kelly Ripa fans (including us) were eagerly awaiting her return to Live! With Kelly and Michael this week, to hear what she would say. Ripa was returning from a short hiatus following Michael Strahan’s announcement last week that he was leaving the show to become a co-anchor on Good Morning America. (Ripa was reportedly blindsided when she learned about his departure minutes before the announcement on April 19.)

 “I needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts,” Ripa told the Live! audience on Tuesday. “After 26 years with this company I earned the right … I always speak from the heart so I didn’t want to come out here and say something I regret.”

We were impressed to say the least. Ripa handled the drama like a pro, and also noted that the events at ABC started a conversation “about communication, consideration, and most importantly, respect in the workplace”—which may be why her experience is resonating with so many people.

Who can’t relate to feeling hot under the collar at work? “Colleagues don’t always act the way you want them to act, and situations don’t roll out the way you want them to,” says Alexandra Levit, a workplace consultant and co-chair of DeVry University’s Career Advisory Board. But it’s important to keep your cool to protect your reputation, she says. Here, a few anger coping tips from Levit and other experts to help you channel your rage in a productive way.

RELATED: This Is the Best Way to Handle Your Anger

Take a breather

Ripa took a few days off to gain perspective. But even a few minutes can help when you’re about to boil over. Say, “I need to run to the restroom and I’ll catch up with you in a couple of minutes.” Even if you’re in a meeting. “It’s better to get out and look weird, than be somewhere you can’t control yourself,” Levit says.

Losing control is a risk you can’t afford to take, as Brad Bushman, PhD, a professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University, explained to Health in an earlier interview. "Angry people are highly aroused and when people get aroused, they do and say things they later regret.”

After you’ve left the scene, call a trusted friend to vent, suggests Levit. Or simply count: Counting—slowly—to whatever number seems appropriate gives your blood pressure and heart rate a chance to return to normal. The way Bushman put it: "As time passes, arousal diminishes."

Then, head back in. “The situation might be the same, but you got the emotion out of it, reducing the likelihood that the scenario will escalate,” says Levit. Because flipping your lid is never a good idea. “Even if you’re in the right, no one will remember that. All they’ll remember is that you screamed,” she says.

Know your triggers

Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of The Happiness Project, recommends doing some self-reflection to assess what fuels your fury. In a prior interview, she suggested, “Is it because work seems meaningless? Because you can never get all your tasks done? Or because you have a conflict with a co-worker?”

When you can anticipate your anger, you can practice coping in advance, says Levit. For example, you might imagine your boss criticizing you in a meeting. In front of a mirror, practice exactly how you’d respond while remaining calm.

Tune into what triggers you to feel stressed, too. “Stress can lead to anger, which can make you lose control,” Levit points out. So if you know that tight deadlines freak you out, for example, try to work ahead so you’re not racing against the clock.

​RELATED: Best and Worst Ways to Cope with Stress

Look for the positive

When your expectations haven’t been met, try to spin the scenario so it’s less painful. Instead of thinking so-and-so should have done this or that, rephrase your thought train, Levit suggests. Start by stating how you have liked things to go down, and then name something you appreciate about your job:

I would have liked if my colleague did such-and-such. But since she didn’t, I have to remember I [have a great job/get paid well/love what I do/make a difference]. So I’m going to figure out how to get past this.

Team members who can “make lemonade out of lemons” are usually well-liked and valued in the workplace, she adds. “People who can come back from adverse situations have better reputations.”

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8 Celebrities on How They Really Feel About Botox

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In a recent Lenny Letter, actress Amanda Peet explained that she plans to stay Botox-free because she wants to set an example for her two young daughters, who are "growing up smack in the heart of America's youth-obsessed beauty culture."

But, she confessed, she's also scared: "I'm afraid one visit to a cosmetic dermatologist would be my gateway drug. I'd go in for a tiny, circumscribed lift and come out looking like a blowfish."

Whether you're philosophilcally against injectables or you wholeheartedly embrace them, everyone seems to have an opinion. Here, eight Hollywood stars open up about aging naturally, or not.

RELATED: 17 Celebrities Explain Why Getting Older Is Actually Awesome

"I've bleached my teeth, dyed my hair, peeled and lasered my face, and tried a slew of age-defying creams. More than once, I've asked the director of photography on a show to soften my laugh lines. Nothing about this suggests I'm aging gracefully. Yet for me, it would be crossing the Rubicon to add Botox and fillers into the mix."

—Amanda Peet, Lenny Letter, April 2016

“I’m not advocating for it one way or another, I’m just saying Botox changed my life.”

—Kelly Ripa, “Watch What Happens Live”, July 2012

“There is also this pressure in Hollywood to be ageless. I think what I have been witness to, is seeing women trying to stay ageless with what they are doing to themselves. I am grateful to learn from their mistakes, because I am not injecting s**t into my face.”

—Jennifer Aniston, Yahoo! Beauty, December 2014

“If it makes you happier and more confident, then why not? But I also think you have to do your research, so you know what to expect—that you'll look fresher but not necessarily younger. I don't want to age, but hey, what can you do? It's a natural process. I'm trying to do it gracefully”

—Sofia Vergara, InStyle Magazine, October 2014

RELATED: 11 Celebrirites on What They Think About Their Breasts

“My goal is to never get Botox. Or any other filler or injectable, for that matter…I don’t hate on people who get Botox; I would just prefer to do everything a more natural way. We don’t know the long-term effects of that stuff, and it doesn’t seem right to me. We are supposed to age—that’s part of life!”

—Kristin Cavallari, Balancing In Heels ($25;, March 2016

"Sometimes I use Botox. One time I did too much, though. I feel weird if I can’t move my face, and that one time I overdid it, I felt trapped in my own skin. I don’t have a problem with any of that stuff; if it makes you feel better about yourself and it’s done properly, then fine."

—Courteney Cox, InStyle Magazine, July 2010

“Everyone always thinks I've had my nose done or my lips done or just anything to my face like besides Botox, which to me isn't plastic surgery.”

—Kim Kardashian, Harper’s Bazaar’s The Look, July 2012

“LA scares the crap out of me. I feel if I have to work out four hours a day, and count the calories of everything I put in my mouth, and have Botox at 22, and obsess about how I look the whole time, I will go mad, I will absolutely lose it.”

—Emma Watson, Harper’s Bazaar UK, August 2011

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Gruyère, Asparagus & Pea Baked Pasta

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Gruyère, Asparagus & Pea Baked Pasta Recipe
Gruyère, Asparagus & Pea Baked Pasta
This healthy casserole recipe contains tons of veggies alongside whole-wheat pasta for a satisfying dinner kids and adults will enjoy.

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Jalapeño Popper-Chicken Panini

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Jalapeño Popper-Chicken Panini Recipe
Jalapeño Popper-Chicken Panini
In this delicious grilled cheese recipe, jalapeño popper flavors are stuffed into a toasty chicken sandwich. Serve with a mixed green salad. P.S. Don’t toss the jalapeño pickling liquid: use the flavorful brine in place of vinegar in dressings.

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The Crazy Thing That Happened When I Tried Floating in a Soundproof, Lightproof Tank

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It is pitch black, and eerily quiet. I am floating in a foot of salt water, inside a light-proof, sound-proof tank. The air and the water are about the same temperature as my skin, and I realize I’m not sure where my body ends and my surroundings begin. I suddenly feel dizzy, and a wave of nausea washes over me.

Two minutes down, 58 to go.

I am here, belly up in this pod, to see what floatation therapy is all about. In the last five years or so, the practice has grown wildly in popularity, with float centers springing up across the country. Devotees claim floating transports the mind and body, offering profound relaxation, and a variety of other benefits, from pain reduction to enhanced creativity and better sleep.

RELATED: Yoga Moves to Beat Insomnia, Ease Stress, and Relieve Pain

A few more minutes into my session, I start to get why people do this: As I focus on my breath—in and out—my tension melts away. I close my eyes and imagine myself drifting on a cloud.

When I hear the signal that the session is over, I can’t believe an hour has passed. I know I didn’t nod off. But my brain had somehow slipped out of its regular rhythm into an altogether different state where I lost track of time.

As I climb out of the pod, I feel a deep sense of calm, and incredibly refreshed—like I just woke up from the best nap of my life.

“The majority of people that achieve that restful state, they report the same type of effect,” says physical therapist Robert Schreyer when I tell him about my float. He is co-owner of the Aspire Center for Health and Wellness in New York City, which allowed me to float for free as a journalist in one of their two pods. (The usual price is $90.)

Schreyer and his staff often recommend that their physical therapy patients float before an appointment. “When they get out, their muscles are more relaxed, and our interventions can be much more effective,” he explains. That benefit may have something to do with the 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts—or magnesium sulfate—dissolved in the bath to make the water denser, and thus floaters more buoyant. “There’s a lot of theories that magnesium provides muscle relaxation,” he says.

RELATED: 15 Natural Back Pain Remedies

“But floating seems to be beneficial for everyone," he adds. “It’s the ultimate way to detach.”

Out in Tulsa, Oklahoma, clinical neuropsychologist Justin Feinstein, PhD, is trying to understand that mental piece of the float phenomenon. Feinstein is the director of the only float lab in the U.S.—the Float Clinic and Research Center at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. His team has been using wireless, waterproof sensors and fMRI scans to collect data on what happens in the brain while people float.

“Our preliminary analyses are showing that the stress circuits of the brain are shutting off post-float,” Feinstein tells me over the phone. Once he finishes this current study, he plans to explore the therapeutic potential of floating for people who suffer from anxiety, especially PTSD. (To avoid triggering claustrophobia in subjects, the lab has a specially designed open tank in a light-proof, sound-proof room.)

“So what is it about floating that makes it so restorative?” I ask him.

“It’s most likely a combination of a lot of variables,” he explains. For one, you’re in a near-zero gravity state, he says, which gives your body a chance to relax. “You’re also reducing external sensory input to the brain—reduced light, reduced sound, reduced proprioception, or how you feel your body in space.”

This is why people refer to floating as a form of sensory deprivation. But Feinstein says that’s actually a misnomer.

“What we’re finding in our research is that floating is a form of sensory enhancement,” he says, because it allows you to tune into your own body—especially your heartbeat and your breathing.

“It becomes an ideal environment for mindful meditation,” Feinstein points out. “For anyone who may have trouble focusing on their breath outside of the tank, floating makes it lot easier to enter into a meditative state.”

RELATED: This Easy meditation Method Will Help Clam Your Anxiety

What he says explains so much about my experience: I must have reached a meditative state during my float without even trying. I have never been able to meditate before. It had always seemed impossible to quiet the incessant chatter in my head. But inside the pod, it seemed to happen automatically.

Feinstein believes floating can help many other people like me—which could be a powerful thing, considering the proven health benefits of meditation.

As for me, my float has inspired me to try again to meditate the traditional way. Now that I know what’s possible, I’m determined to learn. If I could start every day with that same calm and centered feeling of zen that I had when I climbed out of the tank, it would be life-changing.

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Getting to know Leah Simmons

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We chat to yogi star Leah Simmons about her her fit life and how she fuels her body.

Leah Simmons prides herself on being the girl-next-door – who just happens to twist her body into amazing yogi shapes. A qualified Pilates and fitness instructor who hates to cook, she fuels her body with organic and wholesome food, and powers her Instagram with poses we can use for good health.

Day on a plate
Meal 1: 500 ml water with 2 g chlorella.
Meal 2: A long black coffee, two free-range eggs (boiled or scrambled) with one piece of organic rice loaf and one tbsp organic sauerkraut or kimchi.
Meal 3: Post-workout shake containing ½ frozen banana, handful of fresh or frozen berries, one large dollop of coconut yogurt, ½ cup coconut water, one tbsp pea and brown rice protein powder, one tsp superfood powder, and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt.
Meal 4: Big salad with 100 g tuna or grilled chicken and a homemade dressing containing extra-virgin olive oil and organic/raw/unpasteurised apple cider vinegar.
Meal 5: Green vegies with 150 g of a lean protein and ½ cup brown rice.

Simmons says
I am definitely not a foodie. Frankly, I just don’t have time to create mouth-watering masterpieces of ‘infused-this’ and ‘slow-cooked-that’. That doesn’t mean to say though that I don’t think about what I eat and appreciate food. I limit my alcohol intake and I eat a very healthy, balanced, organic diet that complements my training regime.
I would say that my overall diet is high protein, with a balance of good fats and carbohydrates. I always have a protein shake after training, unless I am trying to lean out for a photo shoot. If that’s the case, I will avoid all sugar including fruit and limit my liquid intake to just water.

Looking for more motivational stories? Head to our lifestyle section. 


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VIDEO: 10 minute morning workout

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5. 10min aerobic workout website thumbnail

WH&F Head Trainer Sheena-Lauren shares her 10 minute workout to kickstart your mornings.

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