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How to Handle Co-Worker Stress

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If you spend all day every workday with one or more co-workers that cause you stress, you know that it can bleed over into other aspects of your life, even negatively impacting your health.

We have some tips for decreasing the stress surrounding dealing with co-workers.

Practice Your Deep Breathing

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Learn some deep breathing exercises and perform them when you know you will be seeing your co-worker. If he or she says something that causes you to feel angry or stressed, repeat your deep breathing before you respond.

Deep breathing helps calm your mind and your body, so you’ll be less likely to escalate the situation with your co-worker by responding snappily.

Once you feel peaceful, you will be more likely to be able to get your point across to your co-worker calmly.

Understand That You Won’t Always Agree

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Some of the stress of dealing with co-workers comes from feeling a need to come to an agreement with them on everything. It’s important to understand that you and your co-workers won’t always agree, and that doesn’t mean that you can’t compromise and get the job done well.

Focus on changing your mindset: differing opinions can be beneficial to everyone involved, allowing the best possible solution to be reached. When you approach mild conflict with this attitude, you can embrace rather than dread it.

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Speak Up for Yourself

There are some co-workers who are bullies, and you don’t need to put up with that. Be sure that you stand up for yourself by letting the co-worker know that it’s not appropriate for them to abuse you verbally or otherwise. If this doesn’t solve the problem, go to a supervisor right away.

Work to Change the Workplace Culture

If conflict and stress between co-workers is a chronic problem in your workplace, go to your supervisor and discuss it with him or her. Let the manager know that chronic workplace stress leads to health problems and decreased productivity. Discuss the possibility of implementing some guidelines for resolving conflict between co-workers.

Avoidance Can Be Your Best Friend

If you have one particular co-worker who always causes you stress, do your best to avoid him or her as much as possible. Don’t be rude, just be unavailable.

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