Managing Your Emotions at Work

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Every employee faces it at some time in his or her career: the angry, screaming boss who makes you want to scream back; the meddling co-worker around whom you can barely keep your cool; the fight you had with your partner earlier that day that makes you want to break down in tears in the middle of your office. While these emotions and reactions are usually normal responses to stress, letting your emotions get the best of you in the workplace can be a recipe for career disaster. Many companies frown on displays of emotion at work, which can reflect negatively on your ability to maintain a professional demeanor. Moreover, losing control of your emotions at work can compromise your ability to perform your job to the best of your ability.

Bringing Personal Emotions to Work

Managing your emotions at work can be particularly difficult if you left unfinished business at home. An argument with your child or spouse, left unresolved, can find its way into the workplace and leave you feeling emotional and unprepared for a professional environment. The best approach to manage these emotions at work is to simply set them aside until you get home.

That may not always be possible, however. If you feel need to let out your frustrations, try writing in a journal during your lunch break or making a list of the things you want to do to resolve the problem once you are in a better position to deal with your non-work related emotions.

Managing Your Emotions at Work Can Mean Damage Control

If your strong emotions at work involve a boss, co-worker or client, begin by evaluating whether you can articulate your feelings professionally. For example, if you are feeling angry and hurt by a boss’s criticism, think about whether you are able to articulate those feelings in a way that is not defensive or argumentative. If you are not able to talk about those feelings constructively and professionally, take a “time out” and set up a time to talk to your boss another day, after you have had a chance to think about her remarks and assess the validity of her message.

Address the Mental Side of Your Emotions at Work

Negative emotions can take a toll on your physical well-being and make it difficult to concentrate, think clearly, and do your best work. As such, learning how to relax your body and clear your mind can help you successfully manage your emotions at work. Many relaxation exercises, including progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, guided imagery, and deep-breathing can all be performed quickly and in the privacy of a restroom or cubicle. These simple exercises can help you clear you mind and set aside your strong emotions until you are away from work and are able to process them fully.


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