How to brush off a bad encounter

Whether it’s an angry customer or a vengeful coworker, we’ve all had encounters at work that leave us feeling crummy. Generally, we like to brush off the bad feelings and put on a professional front, but that’s sometimes easier to do than others.

Here are 4 tips for shaking off the uncomfortable feeling and returning to normal:

  • Start every day with the intention to feel good. Predetermining your attitude can help you return to your normal self more quickly after a nasty encounter. If you decide daily that you go to work to have a good day and do your best, you’ll find that over time, that’s exactly what happens, no matter how anyone else behaves.
  • Realize it’s almost never about you. When someone snaps, it’s usually because they’re angry about something else. You’re just the hapless person who got in their way when the proverbial straw broke the camel’s back. No one likes being yelled at, but it helps if you realize that the yeller is using you as a stand-in for their actual problem, and it’s not personal.
  • When the yelling starts, stay calm. If there’s one thing worse than someone being nasty to you, it’s being nasty back. Now, you not only feel bad about the way you were treated, you feel bad about the way you acted. Breathe deep and realize that while you can’t control anyone else’s behavior, you can control yours. Chose a reaction you can feel good about later — that includes standing up for yourself in a professional manner if the situation warrants it.

Grab a coffee. Sometimes the best you can do is to do something nice for yourself. Take five, step away and give yourself a little extra space. There are times in life when bad feelings linger. Realize that you need a little time to feel better and do what you can to give yourself room. This is a good time to stay away from people who push your buttons or ask a coworker to step in with a difficult client. Breathe deeply and return after you’ve had a few minutes to clear your head.