Your co-workers are loud. You seem to know more than your manager. You are constantly being called in for your expertise, yet your boss gives you a minuscule raise after you waited three years for it. Your company seems to relish meetings more than getting the real work done. Some of your colleagues fail to perform their job responsibilities and keep getting away with it. These are just some of the many things that can cause your level of annoyance to reach an all-time high at work. When you find yourself in this situation, here are a few tips to help you manage your frustration:
Take a moment and breath: While there is an entire scientific reason behind the power of this strategy, what you need to know is that this strategy is tied directly into your body’s relaxation response. Taking a deep breath will slow you down and calm you down, so that you can decide how to proceed with a clear mind.
Assess and evaluate: After you calm down, it’s important to reflect on the cause of the frustration. Is your frustration stemming from a re-occurring pattern? Is this pattern something that should be addressed? Could it be that your patience is low because you’re hungry or tired? Are you moving too quickly to blame others without looking at your role in the problem? These are some of the questions you can ask yourself to gain a clearer understanding of what is triggering your feelings of frustration.
Shift your perspective: When you change your story, you can manage the situation. So, it may be time to think about whether you are feeding yourself a story that is undermining your well-being at work. This is also a time to consider the bigger picture. Ask yourself if it’s possible that you’re getting caught up in the small stuff instead of holding onto your vision of what you want in your career. Take some time to also consider what is positive and right at work.
Get yourself out of the situation: Sometimes, the best solution to a problem is the simplest. Before you blow your cool, go for a walk even if it’s to the coffee machine or the water cooler. Find a way to get yourself out of a frustrating situation if you feel like you are going to lose control. In the best scenarios, you can escape to the restroom or step out of the building for a brief stroll. Like taking a deep breath, this strategy gives you some time to calm down, consider your options, and make a healthy choice.
Advocate for yourself: You’ve tried breathing huge gusts of air and played at your greatest imitation of a Zen Monk, and still, you keep having the same grievance. While this may challenging at first and requires courage, this is a time to advocate for change. What other options lay at your disposal? Can you switch your role? Do you need to have a difficult conversation with a co-worker? Give some thought to what you need and then share those ideas with a positive approach.
-Cynthia Santiago, empowerment coach and founder of Latina Wellness