Cooling Down Before Reacting

Sometimes, we get fired up about something, but hotheads don’t make rational decisions. The thing is, it’s hard to think clearly when we’re angry. Feeling angry can make us say and do things that are negative and that we will regret later. At work, it’s especially important to keep a cool head. Your words and actions impact not only yourself but also can impact your team.

So, what’s the best way to deal with your emotions so you can make the smartest decisions at work, even when you’re upset? The key is to help yourself cool down enough to think clearly before you react. When you feel upset, put your words and decisions on pause until your feelings have simmered down. Here’s how: 

  • Take a timeout: Take a break from the situation that made you angry. If you are able to, physically leave the situation. Walk away from the conversation, event or person that is upsetting you, and only return once you have cooled down emotionally.
  • Count to calm down: Try counting to 100 to help you cool down. If you reach 100 and you still feel upset, count to 100 again and repeat until you feel calmed down.
  • Consider solutions: Once you’ve calmed down, think through the issue rationally. Ask yourself why the issue is making you feel so upset. Figure out the root of the problem. Based on that problem, begin brainstorming solutions to the problem that will help you and the other people involved move forward. 
  • Plan your reaction: Before you speak or act, brainstorm how you will enact the solution you have come up with. Imagine what you will say and how you will act to resolve the issue. Also, imagine how others will react to your words and actions. Play those imaginary scenarios out in your head like a movie scene before acting or speaking in real life.


  1. Have you ever said or done something you regretted when you were angry?
  2. How can our emotions make thinking clearly more difficult? 
  3. How can thinking about your words or actions before actually doing them help you make smarter decisions? 
  4. What helps you calm down when you feel upset?