17 Ways To Stay Calm at Work

Updated August 31, 2023

The experience you have at work is largely influenced by your attitude and the attitude of those around you. When you feel calm and practice positivity, you may feel more motivated, happier at your job and more connected to your team. Those around you will also notice and appreciate your calmness, leading to a better workplace atmosphere overall. Learn more about why it's important to stay calm at work and explore some tips on remaining this way.

Why is it important to stay calm at work?

It's important to stay calm at work because when you're calm, you're usually able to think more logically, which helps you make the decisions you must in the course of your workday. A calm demeanor can present well when you're teaching a workshop, working through a conflict with your coworker or presenting why you deserve a raise or promotion to your manager. When you remain calm, there is more of a chance that you also stay positive, which affects your relationships with those you work with for the better.

How to stay calm at work

Remaining calm at work is an attribute you can practice in your workplace to support a more cohesive space you're happy to be a part of every day. If you're wondering how to stay relaxed at work, consider these tips:

Remain focused

While multitasking can make you feel as if you're accomplishing a lot, it may also make you feel a little frazzled as you jump from one task to another. At the end of the day, you may realize that you haven't actually finished a single task, yet you feel you've done a lot of work. Instead of working on multiple tasks or projects, and instead of jumping from email to a project and back again, try focusing on one thing at a time.

Once you finish one task, you'll be able to check it off your list and move on to the next, keeping you motivated and feeling accomplished. Staying focused, and being able to complete many tasks throughout the day as a result, can also help you feel momentum going into the next group of tasks.

Remaining focused goes beyond tasks, too — consider focusing only on what you can control. There may be a lot of extraneous situations at work, but knowing what is within your control and what is outside of it can keep you calm as you approach these situations and find resolutions.

Read more: How to Improve Focus in the Workplace: Strategies and Tips

Be confident

If you're feeling less than calm, it could be from a lack of confidence. Try to feel confident in your abilities, your judgment, decisions, skills and in your team. If you approach your work with confidence, you should be better able to navigate complex tasks or projects and work closely with your team. Confidence also allows you to communicate effectively with your coworkers, which trickles down to a steady productivity level that helps you feel in control and calm.

Have a positive attitude

A positive attitude can make a big difference in how you approach the workplace. With a positive approach, you may find that you feel less stressed and more in charge of your day. You're also more invested in your work and able to think straight to find solutions to problems. Not only is it important to have a positive attitude, but it's crucial to surround yourself with others who do the same.

Read more: Positive Thinking in the Workplace: Benefits and Tips

Rely on your team

You can also remain calm at work by relying on your team. If you're feeling overwhelmed and stressed, consider asking your coworkers for help brainstorming solutions or taking on some of your tasks if they are available. If you're a leader of a team, delegate responsibilities so the team works together toward a common goal and you are alleviating yourself of all the burden. In return, you can offer assistance when they need it.

Take breaks

No matter what you do to try to prevent unease, it's still possible to feel anything except for calm at work. When this happens, it may be best to take a break. Count to 10, have a conversation with a teammate or grab a coffee.

You may feel stressed by all your responsibilities and have a hard time thinking clearly. Removing yourself from the situation for a brief period of time can help you relax and approach the rest of your workday or a particular situation from a new perspective.

If you know that you're prone to stress at work, try to understand what circumstances create these feelings so you can anticipate them and take the steps to keep them at bay. You can take a break when you feel the stress increasing and then you might never reach the level of unease as you may have in the past.

Plan ahead

A plan can help give you purpose and set you up for the entire day. You may feel a sense of calm in knowing what to expect. When the unexpected happens, it'll be easier to adjust because you know what the rest of your day has in store. Try coming up with a plan at the beginning of the day, accounting for what you are responsible for and any due dates, then brainstorm what could change and anticipate the updates you'll have to make. With this, you won't be as blindsided by changes to your day.

Have a workplace buddy

Simply having a buddy at work can give you the sort of support system you need to feel calm. This could be someone in your office space or a coworker from another department who you connect with. Find someone who you feel comfortable with, enjoy talking to and who is open to taking breaks with you so you have a partner to spend your time with as you step away from your work tasks.

Ask for more responsibilities

If you feel calm when you're in control of a situation, consider asking your manager for additional responsibilities or the opportunity to lead a project. Just having something that falls on you to complete can give you the feeling of calm you've been looking for. You may feel calm from having people and processes rely on you and your work. Having more to do can send the signal to your manager that you may be ready for a change in position, too, potentially opening the door to a discussion about a promotion.

Be ready to pivot

You should also be able to remain calm at work if you're flexible. Being ready to pivot when a situation doesn't end up the way you expected can put you into a state of being where you feel tasked with coming up with viable solutions rather than overwhelmed at the idea. Pivoting means being able to regroup and deal with new issues that come up. When you have this mindset, you can expect to feel calm in the face of adversity at work.

Set priorities

You're probably well aware that not all tasks carry the same level of importance. Actually, some tasks rely on others getting completed first. To remain calm, set priorities for the day so you can focus on completing your tasks in order and feeling a sense of control over your work. Approaching your day in this way can help keep you calm.

Read more: How to Prioritize Tasks in the Workplace

Take deep breaths

When the day is getting to be a little more overwhelming, take deep breaths to reset. When you're stressed, you may notice that you're breathing differently, which can actually make you feel worse. Stress can also affect your judgment and make it difficult to complete important projects. If you need to refocus, handle the issues in front of you or communicate with someone you have a conflict with, take deep breaths until you feel calm. Then approach the situation again.

Limit trips to the coffee counter

Despite needing a boost of energy in the middle of the afternoon, coffee could be counterproductive. In some people, coffee can actually stimulate your body too much, causing you to be unfocused and, therefore, overwhelmed later on.

Let go of expectations

It's normal to have expectations, and sometimes they're even encouraged, so you can work toward meeting or exceeding them. However, there are times when you'll need to let go of your expectations so you can readjust your day or compensate for a change of plans that you weren't expecting. Expectations for how your day will go that are too rigid can easily lead to stress when it doesn't work out that way.

Ask questions

Don't hesitate to ask questions if you don't understand something you're working on or are unclear about a manager's expectations for your work. If you have a clear idea of how your day should progress, what takes priority and how something is accomplished, it'll help you feel less stressed and more calm as you tackle your work responsibilities.

Communicate with your manager

One way to stay calm is by developing an open line of communication with your manager. Your manager is there to help you, to assign projects to members of the team and to work with you on your goals. If you have work conflicts or conflicts with a coworker that are making you feel defeated or stressed, meet with your manager so you can work together to identify ways to move past the conflict.

Be patient

Sometimes our sense of unrest comes from a lack of patience. Try to remember that everyone you approach in the workplace is learning and completing their tasks at a different pace than you might be. You may feel impatient when you're waiting on an email reply, as you're teaching a coworker how to do something or even when you're in traffic on the way to work. By practicing patience, you're more likely to have the resources to remain calm despite the situation you're in.

Read more: 5 Ways Being More Patient Can Help Your Career (With Tips and Techniques)

Build an appropriate work-life balance

Yet another way to stay calm at work is by maintaining an appropriate work-life balance. If you overwork yourself, you may be prone to more stress. So, consider setting strict working hours for yourself so you can start and end work at appropriate times and still have the availability outside of work to enjoy your hobbies and spend time with loved ones.

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