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It can be hot in Singapore sitting in the airport waiting for your plane. And even worse, people can get really irritable when the plane is late. In observing masterful customer service representatives, I’m reminded of how “heated” work can get.  Work life can be filled with pressure, stress, impatient people, and sometimes angry dialogues.  So how do you keep your cool when things get heated, or times get tough?

Here are 3 things to remember to help you keep your cool.

1) Reframe – Before you fly off the handle, stop for a moment and try to “reframe” the situation.  Look at the facts, and don’t jump to any conclusions or negative assumptions.  We create the meaning of the situation in our own heads, so how you choose to look at the situation makes all the difference in the world!  Instead of focusing on the difficult, stressful or challenging parts of the task at hand, instead focus on the positive in the situation.  Perhaps this is an opportunity for you to try something new, or develop a new skill? Maybe doing a great job on this difficult task will gain you that promotion you’ve been wanting?  Maybe this project will help build and strengthen the working relationship and camaraderie between you and your colleagues, and your team will be better prepared for the next task.

2) Breathe and focus – when things get heated, it can be easy to say something you may later regret.  Before you say or respond to a statement in a sensitive situation, take a moment to breath and focus.  This will help clear your mind, give you time to cool down, relax your body, and formulate what you really want to say in your head.  Count to 10. Just taking a deep breath activates your innate relaxation response.  What you say after doing this will likely be much better and more effective than the reactionary or impulsive statement you wanted to say at first.  The other person who is receiving your message will in turn respond to this, and you may find it to be a useful tool to de-escalate arguments or heated discussions.

3) Take care of yourself – your mental and physical well-being is important for helping you keep your cool.  Be sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise, don’t overwork yourself, and remember that there should be a life outside of work.  People who practice a good work / life balance and overall lifestyle choices for keeping their body and mind in good shape, are less likely to loose their cool at work.  Your stress levels will be lower, you’ll feel better, and be more prepared to tackle the challenges when they do aries.  Before long, you’ll be the “ coolest” person at the office!