Although events cannot always be controlled, your reactions to them can be. Learning to respond in a balanced, appropriate fashion to events at work is a key skill in fighting stress. A bad day at the office is just that; it is not life-threatening.

Modifying behaviour

Behavioural patterns deeply embedded in our subconscious often surface in times of stress, even if they are not appropriate for work. For example, if a situation at work makes you feel uncomfortable and you do not take action to change it, you may find that resentment builds up and is reflected in your behaviour – you may become angry and intolerant of other people. Learn to find inner balance and overcome inappropriate behaviour by analyzing any feelings of unfairness, and trying to discover and deal with the root of the problem.

Setting your standards

A common cause of stress is feeling guilty about doing or not doing something at work. Remember, no one is perfect, so do not ask too much of yourself. If you have very high standards and expectations, it can be difficult to accept that you have made a mistake. Try to regard mistakes as a part of a learning curve – analyze what went wrong, correct the error, and avoid repeating it. Similarly, it can be difficult to refuse work, even when the request is unreasonable. For this reason, it is important to learn to say “no” graciously. To lead a balanced life at work, you need to establish your own priorities, standards, and rights, and be willing to take responsibility for your own actions.

Handling anger

Gaining inner balance has much to do with controlling anger. Anger is a disabling emotion that produces measurable physical sensations, such as an increase in pulse rate and a rise in blood pressure. An explosion of anger may make you feel better briefly, but it will disguise the real problem by becoming an issue in itself. If you explode unreasonably at a person or in a situation, question the root of it. Make a list of possible reasons: “I am angry because...”. To control your anger successfully in the long term, explore what appears after “because”.

Thinking positively

In order to obtain a calm, low-stress working environment, train yourself to think positively. A positive outlook and the ability to remain calm under intense pressure are likely to produce positive responses in your colleagues, which, in turn, will reduce the presence of stress in your team or workplace. In the same way that stress can infect a whole team, it can be eliminated by a conscious group effort to think positively.

Learning to say no

Some people find it difficult to say no; they are afraid of causing offence, or think it might be career-threatening. Remember that accepting a task you cannot handle can be damaging. Use these phrases to say no assertively without being aggressive.

“Let’s arrange to meet soon and talk about this in greater detail.”

“I don’t think I can give you the answer you’re hoping for.”

“I am unable to take on any more commitments at the moment.”


Do not ignore your problems – acknowledge them as they arise.


Avoid people and situations that tempt you to behave in ways you are not happy with.


Exercise can be a short-term solution to anger.


Be honest about your reasons for rejecting a task.


Try not to be pressurized into making important decisions hastily.

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