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Zen and the Art of Keeping Your Cool at the Office

If there’s one place you want to avoid feeling angry at, it’s the office. Anger can alienate your colleagues, distract you from doing good work, and ultimately lead to termination. Yet office anger is a problem many struggle with: 64% of people report having gotten angry in the workplace, and 45% report doing so regularly.

This is a problem, and clearly it’s one that many people struggle with. Wondering how you can keep your cool? Below we’ve compiled four tips to help you out.

Tip One: Deep Breaths

Sometimes, problems aren’t really as bad as they seem. In situations like these, it can help to take a few deep breaths.

In the moment, this might feel like a silly thing to do. After all, breathing won’t solve your problem. However, science has shown that deep breathing enhances the work of your parasympathetic nervous system, ultimately helping you feel calmer.

Because the real goal is to feel better, not necessarily to solve your problem.

Tip Two: Talk to Your Boss or Coworker

Of course, there are times when the problem is solvable. In these cases, it’s all about communicating your feelings in a respectful way with the people who can do something about the problem.

Don’t blame anyone. Just talk about why your feelings are hurt and look for positive, helpful solutions.

It is important to get a good read on someone before doing this. If your boss really is a raging jerk, they won’t want to hear it. But most bosses want their employees to succeed and most coworkers want to be liked, making this a potentially productive path forward.

Tip Three: Venting

Sometimes, though, you’re not even looking for a productive solution. You’re just looking for a way to vent your frustrations.

In this situation, it’s probably best to vent to a loved one or a friend — someone who’s outside the office, since office gossip can lead to trouble. At the same time, people need to vent, and sometimes office gossip is unavoidable.

Tip Four: Look at Things From a Different Perspective

There are some instances where nothing seems to work. Deep breaths feel useless, the person you have a problem with isn’t good with communication, and even venting is just a short-term solution.

In these situations, the real solution is to just accept the problem and move on. That may feel wrong if the problem is stressing you out, but the truth is, people stress other people out. In much the way that you’re getting stressed out by someone at work, you’re probably stressing someone out in some area of your life.

It’s unavoidable, and the best thing is acceptance. Chance the things you can change — see if you can’t rack your brain and determine an action you can take to prevent the problem before it starts — and accept what you can’t.

Forty hours a week is a lot of time to spend with a group of people. You’re bound to get frustrated, but at the end of the day you have to accept people for who they are. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, so long as you avoid throwing a work tantrum, you’re on the right path.

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