Dealing with anger over job loss

I have been receiving calls lately from people experiencing a great deal of anger over recent job loss due to the deteriorating economy in the United States. They are asking how they should deal their angry feelings and what advice I might have to help them cope with what is usually experienced as very scary and traumatic event, especially if others might also suffer such as family members.

The first piece of of advice is to think carefully about how you are going to cope with the situation in your head.  Any stress, including unemployment, can be interpreted or explained to yourself and others in a variety of ways. What you tell yourself (self talk) can have a drastic affect on your emotions. Tell yourself some things and you will dial up your anger; tell yourself other things about why this happened and you can dial down your anger.

People who deal better with job loss tell themselves things like (1) Don’t take it personally- thousands of people have been layed off in the current economy, (2) Anger is not the right response to this situation – it will not solve anything except make me and others around me miserable, and  (3) I will survive this and it need not affect my whole life ,(4) It will not last forever, (5) This might be an opportunity to develop or find an even better job, business or employment opportunity. Write these and other self-talk statements on a card, if you need to, and read them to yourself throughout the day.

In addition to working on your thought skills, develop a daily life structure to help you find another job, or develop resources to actually improve your employability. Action often helps to reduce anger and action feels much better than sitting around “stewing” about the situation. Resentment is an emotion that doesn’t move you forward in life.  Instead, make a plan to work finding work. Think of other skills you might have that you could transfer in your job search, instead of just the ones that were needed in your last job. Lastly, start networking with others and getting the word out that you need a job. Many new jobs are found by someone knowing someone who knows someone.