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Five ways to avoid losing your temper at work

By Wendy Hoddinett, MSN NZ Money writer
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Avoid losing your temper at work
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Are you finding it harder and harder to hold your tongue at work?

With fewer staff to do more work, stress levels are bound to rise and tempers flare. But for many of us, the worry about being on the chopping block for the next round of redundancies is enough to make us keep quiet so that our backs don't suddenly have a big round target placed on it.

Here are five easy ways to stay cool under pressure:

1. Go for a walk
Whether it's a brisk walk around the building 'til the steam coming out of your ears resides, or a walk around the block, you'll feel instantly calmer by physically removing yourself from a tense or negative situation.

2. Go to the gym
This one's time dependent, but 45 minutes in the gym will help restore your stress levels from the red zone to the zone of Zen. Try a boxing class and you'll get to bash and kick your stress away, or hit the treadmill for a half-hour session of running.

3. Count to 10
Stuck in a meeting and can't escape a tense situation? Counting to 10 is an oldie but a goodie. Before biting back a retort at some insensitive employee or manager it is worth staying quiet 'til you've had a chance to breathe deeply, count to 10 and think through the consequences.

4. Zone out for a while
Put your headphones on and ignore what's going on around you at work. Listening to your favourite music will help you calm down and focus on any tasks that need to be urgently done. If e-mails are driving you mad, make a conscious effort to only check them every hour rather than the instant they arrive in your inbox.

5. Take a long weekend
If the stress is really starting to bother you and you find yourself resenting being at work, then take a day off and have a long weekend. It's amazing how much better you will feel when work begins the next week. Key rule: you are not allowed to think about the office once.

Still stuck for ideas? If all else fails just give them the bird and tell the person to get stuffed and be done with it.*

* Just joking. This high-risk option is best avoided at all costs because you may lose your job!