Published On: Fri, Jul 6th, 2018

Strategies To Remain Calm Instead Of Losing Your Temper At Work

Dozens of situations may cause you to lose your temper at work. However, when you respond with anger, you jeopardize your job, credibility and reputation. Use several tips to help you respond appropriately when you feel like losing your temper.

photo/ Jürgen Rübig

Learn Your Triggers

Loud co-workers, hostile customers or a heavy workload may trigger your temper. Understand your unique triggers and practice mindfulness so you can take steps to manage your anger. If you need help, visit a therapist or take an anger management class.

Become an Observer

Step back and take a few minutes to view the situation as a third party. This perspective can help you set aside emotions and evaluate the situation objectively. It can also give you insights into potential outcomes, consequences and solutions that allow you to fix the problem with a calm and kind attitude.

Consider the Future

Telling off a rude customer or sending a nasty email to a coworker may feel satisfying in the moment, but pause to consider how you’ll feel about this situation in a week, month or year. Weigh the ramifications of anger for your future self professionally and personally, too, as you diffuse your strong emotions.

photo/ Pete Linforth

Breathe Deeply

The way you breathe can calm your emotions and center you. Try to focus on the sounds of your breathing and allow its rhythm to calm you. You can also sit or stand tall, breathe deeply from your abdomen, and then exhale your breath and emotions completely. Additionally, meditation videos can prompt you to focus on calming breathing techniques.

Walk Away

Step away from a frustrating or triggering situation, and gain valuable time to clear your head and refocus. The physical act of walking also releases feel-good endorphins. You’ll return to work after your break with a fresh perspective and a calm demeanor.

Think Before you Speak

Because you can’t erase words, always think before you respond in anger. Consider how the other person will perceive what you say and the effect your words will have on them and on you.

Exercise Respect

The angry, rude or selfish people you face at work are humans with feelings, and they may face struggles you know nothing about. For these reasons, show others respect even when they or you feel angry. With respect, you can respond to frustrating people with the attitude you want them to give you.

Address Personal Issues

You may sometimes experience a short fuse as you draft legal documents, care for children or sell videos because you spilled coffee on your suit, had a fight with your partner that morning or suffer from a chronic illness. While these challenges do affect your emotions, set aside time outside of work to analyze and address your personal life issues so you can maintain professionalism at work.

Talk to a Safe Person

Before anger strikes, choose a person whose presence and words relax and calm you. Take a minute to call or text that person when you feel angry, and you will feel yourself relax.


A simple distraction can diffuse anger and help you focus your mind and body on something besides your strong emotions. Feel a stone in your pocket during frustrating customer interactions, run your hand over a strip of Velcro on your desk when you get stuck creating presentations or play with a pen as you talk with your boss. These fidget techniques assist you in staying calm.

Reply in Private

While you might want to tell off your messy co-worker in the middle of the break room, choose a private setting for the confrontation, and wait until you’re calm. This strategy improves your ability to stay in control of your emotions and resolve the problem amicably.

It’s normal to feel anger sometimes at work. These steps help you control your temper and protect your job, credibility and reputation.

Author: PJ Taei

photo/ Mary Pahlke

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