Some people will let out an audible sigh for the world to hear, others will take their aggression out on their office supplies (poor inanimate objects!). However you choose to job vent, I'm willing to bet that there's a healthier way.
At a previous job where I had a private office, I would do 20 pushups every time I found myself frustrated, miffed, or plain ol' pissed off. Let's just say I got myself into pretty decent shape.
This post is about taking the negative energy that's associated with work frustration and harnessing it into something positive. Here are the tactics that I use. I'd love to hear how you cope with "workstration" in the comments section below.
WALK THE LINE. The power of getting up from your desk and going for a brief walk cannot be overstated. The best advice is often simple. When your body let's you know that you are frustrated (shallow breathing, tingly skin, tight muscles, etc.), get up and go for a walk. It can be a two-minute affair or 20; find what works best for you. It's the perfect recipe to shake things up. You distract your mind, get the oxygen flowing, change your scenery, and readjust your blood pressure.
MASTER DEEP BREATHING. The beauty of breath is that as long as we are living, we take it everyplace that we go. There are no gadgets to buy or pills to swallow. If you can calm your body with the simplicity of deep breathing, you will be able to limit your work frustration, no matter how deep it runs. And it's something you have full control over. The best part is that it’s something we each have full control over.
ARRIVE TO WORK TIRED. I'm not suggesting that you cut your sleep short. The goal is to tire out your body by exercising in the morning. This will help limit how in-tune you are with some of the background noise items that tend to get workers upset. It’s sort of like shutting down your “Spidey-sense” so you are not hyper-alert, therefore looking for things to be upset about.
SUCCEED. Since many of the things that frustrate workers tend to be things they have no control over, sometimes we have no choice but to accept. I like to redirect the energy associated with getting annoyed to improving myself. So if I get angry at work, I'll channel that force into my job search or a new project or a hobby. Rather than expend energy on something someone else is doing, I redirect the energy to improve myself.
KEEP BUSY. The more focused we are on the big-picture items, the less likely we will be to harp on the nonsense.
FIND A GOOD EAR. The Office Complainer is someone to be avoided at all costs, as they have a way of bringing down a room. However, occasionally speaking your mind about something that is troubling you on the job is AOK. The key is to find a colleague who understands the situation and will not allow a stray job vent to turn into a daily occurrence.
REFLECT ON THE PROBLEM. Many of your coworker's flaws are tied to burdens that you are unaware of, troubles you will never see. Meditate on the issue that bothers you and look at what the potential source of the problem might be. This is not to make excuses for people who are not nice, but rather a way to get the full view of the picture. A little compassion goes a long way and will make YOU feel better about the situation.
Remember this: If things feel so suffocating at a job, you always have the choice to leave. Always. Sure you might have bills to pay, and yes the economy is in trouble, but sometimes just realizing you have the power of choice is enough to turn the mountains back into mole hills. And if none of the above help relieve some of the frustration you feel at work, you can always drop and give me 20.