Keeping your cool at work when things are going wrong is an essential life skill to develop if you wish to avoid the side effects of stress. Tight deadlines, workplace politics and the inevitable drama (on top of your personal life demands), can all test your ability to stay calm when things go wrong.
Here are 7 tips on how to keep your cool and remain calm in stressful workplace situations:
1. Know Your Boundaries.
Knowing what you can control and what you can’t allows you to let go of the responsibility for things you can’t change and manage the things you can. The only things you truly have power over are what YOU think, say, feel & do. What others say, feel, think and do is their responsibility. Sure, you can influence other people, but ultimately what someone else thinks, says and does is up to them. Be clear with communicating your expectations and let go the stress of taking responsibility for other peoples opinions, emotions and behaviour.
2. Stop the games.
We’ve all been caught in the drama triangle of playing either the rescuer, aggressor or victim. Avoid the drama of office politics and step out of these roles. Whenever we are caught in the game, we are making the assumption that the other players can’t take responsibility for themselves and so we need to. And when we are doing that, every body ends up being the victim because they are giving away their personal power. Give people back their power by being curious, asking questions and support them in being accountable for their commitments.
3. Practice Being Mindful
Mindfulness raises our awareness about how we create the stress we experience in response to the environment we are in and that includes the people in it. Essentially its not them and what they do or say, its about you and how you process and integrate what happens. When we recognise the thoughts and feelings we have internally in response to what takes place out there, we can own our thoughts and feelings and deal with them.
4. Practice regular meditation
Meditation is quite simply quietening the mind by bringing it to a single point of focus, that rests the thinking – feeling loop which is fuelled by demands we place on ourselves in our busy lives. For some, taking a few deep breaths to bring more oxygen to the brain is enough to calm the nervous system and bring about rational, considered responses, rather than the automatic reactions which have us raising our voice or feeling the urge to react. Spending time in nature, chanting, all slow down the busy mind and calm the central nervous system, which soothes stress levels in the body.
5. Move Your Body
If you hold stress in your body, then exercise is your greatest friend when it comes to releasing built up tension. Not only does it decompress built up pressure from the day, it also releases endorphins that will help you feel good and re-energise, ready to face your next challenge.
6. Nourish your body
Replace stress generating foods like caffeine, sugar, alcohol, highly refined and processed foods, with clean, whole foods that nourish and vitalise you physically. If your body is getting its nutritional requirements met through organic, leafy greens and fresh seasonal vegetables, it will be stronger and more resilient to stress. Fresh food, fresh mood.
7.Play At Work
When things get too serious, we can lose our ability to creatively address the problems that are causing stress. Hold the pressures lightly, keep your mind open to other people’s contributions and look for the funny side. This will allow you and your team to remain engaged, keep going and find solutions beyond the stress.