We all have those moments where we’re sitting in the office, talking to our boss, a client or a coworker and you feel like you either want to blow your own brains out or strangle one of them.
Am I right?
It’s incredibly frustrating to deal with, especially if you don’t have a lot of control over your work environment.
Unfortunately, murder is extremely illegal and would most likely result in you getting fired, so as satisfying as doing that would be...that option isn’t on the table.
“So what should I do in this situation to help myself chill out?” I’m glad you asked.
Being More Mindful At Work
The key to keeping yourself calm and collected at work in lies within a combination of increasing your level of consciousness, and understanding the proper techniques.
How do you go about doing that? That’s where I come in.
When it comes down to it, keeping your chill at work doesn’t have to be overly complicated. There are a few simple ways that you can discourage or help combat feelings of overwhelm, stress, or frustration when they start to happen.
The key is to try and understand what emotions you’re going through in the moment and what kind of future situations are going to trigger those feelings ahead of time. From there you can work on developing habits around those situations to help yourself get through them in the way that is beneficial for you and that will help reduce your stress.
So without further ado, here are three perfectly quick and helpful techniques that you can use and habits to build to not want to kill your coworkers, boss or clients when something goes wrong.
1. Deep Breaths
The first and easiest technique when trying to calm the F%*@ down at work is something that you think mostly happens unconsciously (your brain and body usually handle it pretty well by itself), but in moments of stress can be done incorrectly.
I’m talking about breathing people.
It is much more of a conscious process than you realize. Here are better ways to breathe and take in oxygen that will ultimately be better for your brain and help you concentrate. Utilizing more correct and conscious breathing helps calm you down as well.
You likely have experienced that terrible feeling when you start to get a lot of anxiety, where your muscles tighten up, your heart rate increases, and increased or irregular breathing. At this point when your healthy breathing is restricted, your focus becomes limited, and that can start to compound. This, in turn, can to frustration and negatively affect performance.
So…. (drum roll please)
A simple yet effective tactic is to take 10 really deep long breaths whenever you start to feel frustrated. As soon as that tight chest feeling pops up and your thoughts start to race instantly remind yourself to slow it down and breathe.
This has 2 things primary benefits.
- Separation – It’ll take you out of that moment of that compounding frustration. Part of the reason why you’re freaking out is because of your external environment. Getting yourself out of it, even by stopping to take some deliberate breaths can help combat that.
- Show your brain some love. Getting oxygen to your brain is imperative for cognitive functioning. These breaths will help you think more clearly and ultimately make better decisions.
- SUPER BONUS. If you want to take it to the next level then there are a guided meditation videos and beginner meditation styles if you haven’t ever tried it before that will help heighten your overall level of consciousness.
Breathing is awesome and healthy. Remember to do it.
2. Take A Lap
Give it a while and walk I guarantee you will be a lot less stressed.
The second best thing you can do to help yourself calm the f*@# down when you’re stressed at work is to physically remove yourself from the situation.
Again, not rocket science (although it is rooted in our biological makeup), but can be extremely powerful and effectiveness.
The key here is that in life, you are affected by the environment and external influences you are surrounded by. When you are feeling like an emotional explosion is imminent at work, these influences cause the stressful reaction to occur.
But fear not, this is where you come in to save the day. Taking 10 minutes to go on a walk and physically remove yourself from that situation allows you to detach and disassociate from the negative stimulus, start thinking more clearly and most importantly, help you think of a way to more properly handle this situation and calm down a bit.
Instead of wanting to burn down your office building and file a personal grievance insurance claim, taking a mini time out allows you to return to the situation with fresh and clear thoughts. You may not feel intrinsically any different when you get back, but your external reaction will be much healthier and that’s what matters.
The next time you find yourself in one those situations….
- Take a break
- Go for a walk outside
- If you can’t leave for that long or go outside “excuse yourself to the restroom” and walk around the building
The point isn’t how long or where you go, it’s simply to go. While you’re gone, don’t be on your phone or do anything other than sit with your thoughts. Give it a while and walk I guarantee you will be a lot less stressed and thinking a good amount more clearly after you do implement this than before.
One more, you’re almost there.
3. Get Your Crazy Thoughts Out Of Your Brain
My last and final gem (which might be the most important) is to write down everything that you are feeling in these moments. 100% serious. On a piece of paper with a good ol’ fashioned pencil if possible.
“But Ken, I have the Microscribble Xtmp30 pro writer software from MicroAppleZon, I have no use for these rudimentary tools you speak of”.
I get it, clearly, I understand the value of technology. But there is a method to the madness. I’ll explain.
Start by writing down every negative thought and crazy reaction you are having and wanting to have in these moments of high stress at work. Then, write down exactly how you want to handle them. Whether that is…
- Yelling at your boss
- Attack your coworker with a spork
- Waterboarding your annoying client
Jot it down.
Overall, you are getting these thoughts out of your mind (which at the moment is a place of turmoil and craziness), and tangibly arranging them (grammar, syntax, etc etc) in a way that you can organize and make sense of. You are also able to get a better grasp of what you’re thinking and what your next step should be.
Seeing the fact that you want to want to strangle somebody sitting in front of you probably puts you in a different mindset than just having the thought of doing it. It allows you to better rationalize your thoughts in a way and help change your mentality hopefully to something that’s a little more productive and positive.
THE PAPER AND PENCIL is there to help you focus up. I happen to know that 9 – 17% of your time goes towards mindlessly consuming social media or other stimuli that take your attention off of the task at hand. This method will help keep things pure and complete the exercise as intended.
Look, there is nothing wrong with having certain reactions, feelings or emotions throughout your day but when those are obstructing you from doing your job or hurting your well-being then perhaps it’s time to revisit them. Writing those down and getting them out on paper in a way that’s purely your stream-of-consciousness to analyze and make sense of things is a huge help.
Just so we’re on the same page, work can be a pain in the aft end (or ass if you’re not cool enough to know what that means).
Your boss, co-workers, friends, spouse, and life, in general, will tend to put you into situations that are adverse and stressful and using techniques like these and others mentioned on the blog will help you cope. You’ll be able to move forward in a way that is productive and that will help your mind to perform better at those tasks and keep you keepin’ on.
All it takes is a little breathing, mindfulness of your surroundings, and writing some stuff down and thinking about it.
Now go. Be free, and conquer.