Lifestyle

9 expert tips for staying calm at work when things are going wrong


Hold on to your zen (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

Annoying co-workers, toxic bosses, never-ending piles of things to add to your to-do list – with all that going on, it can be hard to keep your cool in the workplace.

The usual daily stress of work can start to mound up, making you an irritable, grumpy mess.

It goes without saying that this isn’t a good thing – for your mental state or your productivity. Getting angry or frustrated in the office doesn’t help anyone.

So it’s vital we learn how to keep our cool.

Handy, then, that we’ve got workplace expert Salman Raza here to reveal nine easy steps to stay zen and achieve some calmness in the workplace.

Next time you can feel the rage starting to build, try some of these tips.

Count to ten

Nope, this isn’t just a technique for kids. The simple act of counting can allow you to pause, reflect, and respond – rather than react.

‘Simply pause for a moment and count to ten in your head,’ suggests Salman. ‘Use your fingers, count your inhales, tap your feet – do whatever you can do to focus on the present moment of just counting from one to ten.

‘It may sound silly but taking ten seconds’ break from the stimuli causing distress will help you refocus.’

Stop and examine your feelings

Salman tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Ask yourself why you are feeling the way you do.

‘Processing your feelings will allow you to consider what you should do next rather than acting impulsively. This also may shed light on situations causing you to feel a certain way.

‘Sometimes for example, we discover we feel angry at a colleague because of something that actually happened with a friend or a loved one and maybe we are bringing that baggage to work.

‘Likewise, we may find we are feeling stressed because we have too much to do that day. Now is a good time to stop and plan your day, prioritizing the tasks that really need doing.’

Detach yourself from negative emotions

This is a subtle change in mindset that makes a big difference.

‘If you are feeling angry, remind yourself that there is anger in you – you are not angry,’ explains Salman. ‘There is a key difference – an uninvited negative emotion has penetrated you and you need to get rid of it.

‘Remind yourself: “this impulsive negative emotion does not represent the best of me”.’

Take a break

If you can, remove yourself from whatever situation is causing you stress or annoyance. Go and get a cup of tea, go for a walk, nip to the toilet.

Salman suggests: ‘If you really can’t leave your workspace, try standing instead of sitting, or just face in a different direction for a few moments.

Let it out – with respect

‘One of the biggest culprits that contribute to workplace dysfunction is passive aggression,’ notes Salman. ‘When you don’t voice your concerns to the proper entity, and instead let them grow inside of you like a volcano, you will eventually blow.

‘Practice initiating constructive and respectful conversations with your colleagues and management.’

Embrace gratitude

Gratitude is seriously powerful when it comes to being happier and healthier – and it can be a huge help when you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the rubbish stuff that’s happening.

‘Take a few moments to recall or write down five to ten things you are grateful for in your life,’ Salman reccomends. ‘By changing your focus from negative to positive, you can ultimately shift your perspective and demeanor in the moment.’

Ask for help

Don’t struggle on when you’re drowning.

‘We often think we have to go through work alone and that asking for help is a sign of weakness,’ Salman tells us. ‘There is great strength in asking for help.

‘Whether you need help completing a project or are curious about outside resources that can assist you with your problems at work, asking for help shows strength and self-awareness.’

Recognise the challenge

‘Train yourself to see the hidden signs of your environment that cause stress,’ suggests Salman.

‘Be on the lookout for people’s tone of voice, their body language, eye contact and their body proximity.

‘These cues can help you determine the best way to respond. As you play detective and focus your attention outward, your triggered ego becomes tamer, and you begin to problem solve.’

Be kind to yourself

Okay, so you kicked off and had a bit of a strop. Don’t beat yourself up too much.

‘Remember that we are all human, and we are all flawed,’ says Salman. ‘Things at work are going to upset and stress us from time to time.

‘No one is perfect! The best thing we can do is take each situation we encounter and learn from it. Our mistakes are our greatest teachers.’

Salman Raza is a management expert and the author of Life’s Non-Conformities: An Auditor’s Tale of Practical Application of Social, Emotional & Behavioral Strategies.

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