We all can become emotional at work; a favorite project was canceled after you put a lot of work into it, a friend is fired, problems with a coworker, difficult customers, a difficult boss, etc. The extent to which these things bother some varies but everyone feels these things. The problem is of course that while at work you cannot let it affect your performance. This is especially vital for managers, directors, and others in a position of authority because those sorts of negative feelings can begin to infiltrate the entire office.
Ignoring it or trying to build a shell around yourself are both short term solutions and are as likely to cause an even worse blowup over time, so instead let’s look at ways to handle things
The first step is to identify exactly which emotion you are feeling. As a bonus the time you take processing this is also time spent defusing. Common negative emotions include:
Disappointment: Once you’ve identified this, write down precisely why you are disappointed—you didn’t get promoted, project was canceled, whatever it may be. Then write down several things which have gone right over the past week, and this list does not have to be work related. It can be a kid who got a good grade or maybe you just had fun with friends over the weekend. Next go back to the problem and adjust your goals. This project didn’t work out, so okay, what else can you do in that area? You didn’t get that promotion, when is the next one? Are you in a position to ask for a raise? Was this even a realistic expectation? Finally come up with your new plan.
Dislike: 1. Take the highroad always, no matter what. This in itself may over time solve the problem. You may find they begin to like you more and maybe whatever was causing the problem disappears. If not, unfortunately realize you are going to have to live with it and not let it affect you, so it is important to; 2. Be assertive. Calmly and professionally explain your problem, whether it is how they treat you or whatever it may be, and make it clear you think the behavior is unacceptable.
Worry: First try to stay away from situations which cause worry. For example if co-workers like to gossip about layoffs, walk away and avoid those situations entirely. Use deep breathing exercises. Finally, focus on ways to fix the things which worry you. Even if you find you can’t fix the things that worry you, being proactive will alleviate much of the anxiety.
Anger: Anger tends to creep up, which gives you time to prepare. Know the signs that you are beginning to feel this emotion and understand you are 100% in control of how you react. Next, stop what you are doing for a moment and close your eyes. Even a second can help to distract you from the anger and to get your mind back in a more positive place. Finally, imagine yourself when you are angry from another person’s perspective, and ask yourself how you would react if you saw that, or remember the last time you saw someone act out of anger and whether that is how you want to be seen. This is usually enough to get rid of those feelings, or at least minimize them. Finally, redirect that anger toward something positive at work.
Last but not least in all of these situations, smile. The act of smiling is shown to have measurable positive impact on how you perceive the world around you, actually improving mood.
The couple of moments you take to do these things can potentially save you hours of unproductive work.