You know that feeling of dread when you’re about to encounter someone mean, such as a difficult boss? If you tell yourself the person is dealing with issues that have nothing to do with you, you may be able to prevent that dark cloud, according to research in the journal Psychological Science.
To prove the theory, researchers performed an experiment in which volunteers looked at several series of faces in photos. In one round, the researchers explained that the subjects were having bad days and that the volunteers shouldn’t take it personally. With that explanation, volunteers weren’t upset when they saw angry-face subjects.
In a second round, the volunteers were told to feel the emotions brought on by the angry faces, and as a result were disturbed by the photos.
So the next time you’re getting ready for an encounter with an angry person, try focusing on what lies behind that anger, and you may be pleasantly surprised by your own sense of calm.