Is there a woolly mammoth in the room? No, so don't act like there is

Heather Campbell, business consultancy specialist, gives her top ten tips on how to avoid being a caveman at work.

1 Avoid creating an imaginary woolly mammoth. Don't expect the worst - anticipating disaster sets up fear responses in your brain.

2 Keep your logical brain engaged. Say the alphabet backwards or do a puzzle in your head. This helps maintain a logical approach to situations.

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3 Breathe deeply. If you are running away from a sabre toothed tiger your breath becomes very shallow and quick. A few deep breaths will counteract this response.

4 Ask questions. Remembering to ask questions helps you engage with the other person. A person who is responding with caveman reflexes will become very defensive and argumentative - asking questions can help to prevent this.

5 Listen to understand. Feeling that you are threatened by another person's point of view is typical of the caveman response. Listening properly helps to counteract the feeling that you are under threat.

6 Be aware of your body. Watch out for a clenched jaw or tensed fists. Physical tension in the body is a sign of the fight-or-flight reflex. If you relax you can deal better with situations.

7 Express yourself. Don't be afraid to say if you are feeling upset or hurt. By saying: "I feel very upset about this" and acknowledging your emotional response you make it less scary.

8 Don't worry too much about how you are coming across. If you are feeling tense it is very easy to give the wrong message by trying to control your body language. A smile can become a snarl in a difficult situtation.

9 Be prepared. If you are heading for a difficult meeting or an important presentation make sure you have prepared for it as well as you can.

10 Always remember: what we think drives what we feel. If you get your thinking right then you can stay on top of things and feel comfortable.