While in your personal life you can get away with handling negative emotions by shouting or walking out, you cannot afford to behave in an inappropriate manner at work. You will have to put a lid on your emotions and this can get extremely stressful over a period of time. Emotional outbursts can be detrimental to your efficiency and overall productivity and in the uncertain times that we live in, it can jeopardize your chances of moving ahead in your career. Here are some tips to manage your emotions and deal with that of your co-workers' emotions as well.
Tune yourself to emotions
Awareness of one's own emotions and those of others is a skill worth practicing. It gives you a chance to temper your own emotional reactions to stressful situations. Attune yourself to subtle changes in people's expressions and language and try to pick up cues from it to moderate your own reaction. Also watch your own feelings and observe the effect on your body and mind. Be aware of whether you are operating from an emotional state or from a logical frame of mind.
Separate behavior from person
Often we react negatively or sometimes even violently to our colleagues' emotional outbursts. It is easy to dismiss the feelings of others as immature or inappropriate or even take it personally. But if you can put aside your own judgments and reflect on the reason behind people's misdemeanors, you might understand them better and be more empathetic. There is always an underlying reason for the way people react and the person is not always his behavior. Maybe the way he behaves is not ideal but try not to throw out the baby with the bathwater! The next time you encounter someone's emotional outbursts, take a minute to step back and reflect on the reason and you may well help your colleague to deal in a more effective way with his emotions.
Watch your body language
We all know that our body language reveals a lot more about us than our words. Our facial expressions and body language are dead giveaways of what we are feeling. But the good news is that psychologists have discovered that changing your facial expression consciously can actually change your mood for the better. For instance hunched shoulders can make you feel defeated, while just straightening your back and smiling can leave you feeling more positive and upbeat. So fake it till you make it!
Separate thought from emotion
It is important to delineate your thoughts from the emotions because you cannot think and emote simultaneously! It is always the thought or belief that first occupies mind space which is then followed by emotion. When you are upset about a situation, take some time to process your emotions first to sort out the reasons for your outburst. This way you will be able to interrupt the negative cycle as soon as they invade your mind. Once you do this, you can then proceed to think with clarity.
Step back and evaluate
When you find yourself getting carried away by your emotions, take a deep breath, step back and evaluate the situation. Notice what you are feeling, identify it and maybe note it down. You may notice that you generally have an automatic reaction to your thoughts and emotions. You can then consciously choose a different reaction that is more effective and positive. If you take a moment to pause before reacting and be in that space, you might find yourself responding to situations effectively.
Keep a ‘worry-box'
If you find yourself plagued by various stressors and are unable to function effectively at work, then note them down on a piece of paper and drop them into your very own worry-box! Schedule a specific time to deal with them so that you can proceed with the work on hand. Just the act of noting down your worries will free up mind space to focus on your work priorities. Then when you arrive at the time that you have scheduled for worries, you can conduct a swat analysis on each of your stressors. This process will help you take the necessary action on them or maybe even let go of what you cannot control.
We live in a world that is connected by technology but disconnected from ourselves and often from others. We all deal with both positive and negative emotions at the workplace and in our personal lives. Learning to cope effectively with our negative emotions is the need of the hour. Emotions are infectious and both positive and negative emotions have a way of enveloping everyone around you. So make a choice and spread positive energy because nobody wants to be around a negative or pessimistic person.