We've all been there: a day filled with looming deadlines, uncooperative team members, and unexpected disasters cropping up. It's easy to let frustration overwhelm you — but if you do, you'll lose control of your perspective, making you susceptible to lashing out at your team and making you a less productive manager.

The good news: science has your back. Use these five simple research-based steps to cut your frustration and regain your perspective:

Seek out a happy colleague.

Researchers from the University of Warwick report that the phenomenon of social contagion, which causes us to pick up a good or bad emotion from those around us, can have a powerful impact on changing our own perspective.

Find the most positive co-worker you know, and spend five minutes chatting with this person. You'll notice that your frustration level has immediately reduced afterward.

Take on a tough task.

It sounds like it wouldn't work well, but when you're feeling frustrated, tackling the hardest portion of writing that new presentation is a great idea. A study from the University of Waterloo found that negative emotions can actually focus your attention better — this works especially well if you're an emotional person in general, as your reactivity and sensitivity provides you with even better concentration abilities.

Working can also distract you from what's frustrating you in the first place.

Grab a quick nap on your lunch hour.

If you've lost just a few hours of sleep over one to two nights previously, you're more apt to react with anger in a frustrating situation, according to research from Iowa State University.

This research is the first to actually prove an evidence-based link between sleep and frustration in the brain. Try a 20-minute snooze is just long enough to restore your emotional perspective, so you feel better equipped to handle frustrating events.

Review your good points.

Qualities such as warmth, a positive outlook, the ability to be agreeable and a willingness to be direct are the key personality elements that portend great workplace performance. These qualities will also go a long way to winning over your colleagues and impressing your clients.

Remind yourself of which of these qualities you possess in particular and write out a situation in which you used that quality to solve a work issue. You'll soon be feeling less frustrated and more capable.


Take a deep breath, hold it for five seconds, and then exhale deeply. Do this four times, and you'll feel your anxiety and frustration vanish instantly. Now you're in the perfect position to reboot your whole day!