How to Deal with Stressful Situations in the Workplace
Dealing with Challenging Situations in the Workplace

No matter what you do in life, there will be challenging situations in both your personal and work life. Conflict is inevitable and an unfortunate necessary evil. These types of challenging situations are ones that need to be corrected immediately, because the longer they are ignored, the worse things will get. The important thing is to handle these situations with grace and the openness to learn from the situation. There is no way around these issues, so it's in your best interest to know how to handle them. In order to be successful, it's essential that you have a positive work environment. No, you can't change the actions of others; however, you can change the way you react to the situation. Always keep that in mind the next time you come across a challenging issue in the workplace, or in your personal life as well, for that matter.

Examples of challenging situations and how to handle them

  • Interpersonal issues

No matter how nice and accommodating you are to your co-workers, there will always be someone you don't get along with. Everyone's personalities just don't fit together well all the time, but that is no reason to let it cause you problems. There are effective ways to deal with all types of personalities. You aren't going to get along with everyone you cross paths with as you go through life, and this is an important concept to always keep in mind.

Interpersonal issues can cause unnecessary drama that can zap any productivity or creativity you might have. If not handled swiftly, it will cause a great amount of stress that will continue to build. First things first: Take ample time to reflect on the situation at hand. What kind of problem are you having? Is it a simple annoyance, such as loud talking, or something similar to that? If so, take a step back to look at your habits, first. Are you doing things that might be annoying your co-workers as well? If it's something that you just can't deal with, then by all means talk to that person. Most importantly, be nice when you approach that person. Being rude isn't going to make the situation any better.

  • Office gossip

While you may find yourself drawn to find out who did what, or said whatever, it's one of the worst situations you can find yourself in. There is nothing good about office gossip, or the people that do it. There are always going to be the office gossips, because that will never go away; however, that doesn't mean you have to participate. Negative gossip can create so many unnecessary issues, affecting productivity, morale, employee engagement, and turnover. (Quast, 2013)

No workplace is safe from gossiping, and honestly there is no escaping it. No matter what industry you are in, or what type of job you do, there's no getting around it. It can be extremely toxic to the work environment if there are any of these aspects: 1) disrupting the work place and business of work; 2) hurting employees' feelings; 3) damaging interpersonal relationships; 4) or harming employee morale. (Heathfield, 2014)

All of these things can cause a negative workplace. The best advice is to not be a part of any type of office gossip. You will be better for it in the long run, and you don't want the reputation of a gossip. Keep the trust of your fellow co-workers by not participating. You don't want to lose your credibility, integrity or reputation.

  • Dealing with difficult people

When it comes to dealing with difficult people, especially in the workplace, it's not an easy task. It takes confidence and great self-esteem to deal with this type of situation. Also, there is always both a right way and a wrong way to deal with difficult situations. First and foremost, when you find yourself face to face with a difficult person, do not allow yourself to get pulled in to the drama. Also, never be judgmental or try to correct their way of thinking. These tactics just won't work. People are people and all of us have different ways that we deal with things; we obviously don't all think the same way -- hence the reason there are so many challenging situations in all areas of life.

  • Admit mistakes. When you realize that you were wrong, then admit it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making mistakes and acknowledging them, because it is a great growing process. This is just a part of life and no one is perfect. In today's society, it has been an unfortunate thing that admitting to mistakes is seen as a weakness at times. Always remember that this is not a weakness. In fact, it is one of the bravest things you can do. It shows character within yourself, which others will see.

    Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Mindfulness in the Workplace course?
  • Take a step back and examine yourself and your surroundings. It is always important in these types of situations to take a step back and examine it as a whole. Where is it stemming from? Does it have to do with difficult personalities, too much office gossip, or too much work and not enough recognition? These are just a few examples of what it might be; however, it is important to take the time and think it through, clearly and thoroughly, in order to solve this in a timely manner.

  • Don't avoid the situation. Keep in mind that avoiding the situation will just make matters worse over time. Conflict can't be escaped and it is unavoidable in the workplace, as well as your personal life. It is all about how you deal with things. This is especially true if you are in a leadership role at work. You must lead by example, and your employees will be observing the way you are dealing with things -- whether you realize that or not. As one article states, "While conflict is a normal part of any social and organization setting, the challenge of conflict lies in how one chooses to deal with it." (Myatt, 2012)

Awareness: Being Present in the Moment


In order to learn how to be mindful, it's essential to be aware of the present moment. There are so many things that people do that they aren't even aware of, because the world is full of unnecessary distractions. This article will focus more on being aware of the things around you, and to be present in the current moment.

What can you do differently?

First of all, there are a lot of things you can do differently that you probably haven't realized yet. For the next week, try to recognize the times that you were truly in the moment. This seems like such a simple task, but for many it is not. Unfortunately, many people have issues with being fully in the moment. It will be much harder than you think, so be sure you know that going in, so this will be something you can conquer. I'm sure you've heard this saying: "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans." Keep this idea in mind as you go through your day and as you tackle new successes and issues that come your way on a daily basis.

One of the first things to do is take stock of all of the different areas of your life. Take a moment to look around you to see what things you can change, and what things you can't. Think about one thing at a time, even if you feel overwhelmed at first. A recent article states, "Most of our time is spent in the past or the future, rather than the present moment. What we end up doing is passing through that moment on the way to somewhere else and, in doing so, we miss the moment. That's how life ends up passing us by – we do it to ourselves." (Michael J. Formica, 2011) Multitasking is something that is hard for most people. So, just take a moment and focus on one thing at a time. Focusing on a million things that you need to do will just slow you down in the long run.

Bring yourself back to the present

If you are working on a task, and you find your mind wandering, bring your thoughts back to the present moment. Not taking control of your thoughts will bring all sorts of stresses and worries your way. Always being in the moment will bring so many positive things to your life -- clarity, calmness, and positivity. (Edberg, 2014)

Did you know that when you are in the present, you are more positive? Being in the present results in your happiest moments. It isn't very often that you have negative thoughts in the present, so keep this in mind the next time you find your thoughts wondering to the latest crisis in your life. Always remember to bring yourself back to the present.

Practice your way to self-awareness

Below are some techniques to use in order to practice awareness and always trying to be in the moment.

  • Focus. Always focus on what is around you at all times. Take stock of all of your senses. Actually think about what you are smelling, seeing, hearing, etc.

  • Take a breath. If you find yourself getting stressed, then by all means, take a step back to take a deep breath and clear your mind. Just deep breathing for two minutes will bring you back to the present, and is one of the most relaxing things you can do.

  • Surround yourself with positive people. Do you have moments when you find yourself with negative people? Being around negative people will do nothing good for you. It's true that there are many negative people in the world, and you will come across them in the workplace; however, it doesn't mean that you have to be brought down to where they are.

  • Take a walk. One of the most important things you can do is take some time for yourself. Put your cell phone away and take your dog on a walk, or spend some time reading a book or taking a relaxing bubble bath. Focus on just that moment and how it feels at the present time. Let your senses take over and feel yourself being taken away from the stresses of the day. Be in the present!

  • Listen to music. Another great idea is to use music as a relaxation technique. The power of music is a strong force that will take you to another place if you let it. Have you ever listened to a song and it took you back to another place and time? It's an amazing relaxation technique. It's been proven many times over the years, that music can greatly improve your stress level and quality of life. (Collingwood, 2007)

  • Check in with yourself. People are so busy at work that sometimes there isn't a lot of time to step back and give themselves a minute or two just to reflect. Today's career world is one that is more and more demanding. It's very common for people to get lost in their days and not realize what is going on within themselves. It's important to check in with yourself and notice what's happening in your mind and body. (Margarita Tartakovsky, 2013)

  • Body language. Believe it or not, body language tells people a lot about your attitude. Be aware of the way you are sitting, standing, or talking to other people to ensure that you aren't inadvertently turning people away.

Learning to be more present in the moment isn't going to be easy. Persistence is the main key to learning to be more aware of your surroundings, and to stay focused on one moment. Worrying about things is a total waste of time. This moment, and this moment only, is the only thing you should be focusing on at this time. Everything else can wait. There's no use to worrying about what could happen or what you could be doing. Be aware of now.