Three ways to keep your cool at work


Remember how you feel during work, when you get a rude email from your boss, or when your co-worker undermines at a meeting.

Now, remember how you feel, if you face these irritations, during a particularly tough work week. Albeit, small irritations they are just about enough to push you over the edge when combined with everything else you've experienced during a certain week or even day.

There can be any number of road bumps in your day. And, these bumps don't care about timing, or if you're feeling particularly stressed or upset. Your first instinct may be to get angry, to snap, or to react. But, if you're a respected professional, you can't afford to do this.

There’s always a better way to handle bad moments and using your temper, is not one of them. You have to relentlessly remind yourself to keep a level-headed outlook when it comes to your job.

It might sound easier said than done but if you know you have a process, for when things get too much, it will prevent you from a reaction that could potentially ruin your carefully crafted reputation. So, next time something gets to you, try one of these three simple techniques for staying cool, calm, and collected.

1. Ask yourself how important it is

When our blood pressure rises, we lose perspective. Nothing else matters, apart from that one grievance that seems to have just turned our world upside down. So, you really need to be very quick to ask yourself; will I care about this in five years? Usually, the answer is almost always a definitive no. In fact, you will have moved on from this by next month. So when you feel your anger rising, give yourself some perspective.

2. Don’t take anything personally

You might think that everything is personal. But, if you really look into why other people do the things they do, it's never because of you and always to do with them. Negative behaviour is deep seeded, so if you think someone is going out of their way to attack you, then it's probably because they've been attacked by another colleague or it's their insecurities or, it could be down to a whole heap of other possibilities.

There are times when you may feel like a curt email or snappy comment from your boss has something to do with your performance and there may be times when this may be the case. But more often than not, the people you work with have their own issues and stressors that influence how they’re interacting with the world—things have nothing to do with you.

3. Don't feed your negativity bias

We are all susceptible to something called negativity bias, which means that the bad events of the day are more memorable than the good ones. But, just because it’s your natural, genetic, tendency to dwell on the negative - doesn’t mean that you can't overcome it and reverse it.

You can choose to focus on the minor frustrations of your day—or, you can choose to focus on seeing the positives. Even if something went terribly for you, focus on what you got from it and how you'll be better next time. Try to channel your angry or frustrated energy in another direction. Use your frustrations to fuel your goals.

Work will never be free from annoyances, but you’re always in control of your reactions to them. Don't let negative emotions tear down all of your good work. A good reputation takes years to built (even decades) and can be torn down by an ill temper or snappy remark, in just a few moments. If you do your best to maintain perspective and not get bogged down by your daily stressors, you will live a happier life, be well-respected and have a fruitful career.

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