We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes, and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. After all, negative emotions can spread, and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group.
Know what causes your negative emotions, and which types of feelings you face most often. When those emotions begin to appear, immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking.
Stressful situations are common in the workplace with time deadlines, targets and heavy workloads, but things like departments restructures, budgets cuts and redundancies create situations where it can be hard to manage your emotions.
In your personal life, your reaction to stressful situations might be to start shouting, or to take yourself away from the situation so you don’t have to deal with it but at work these types of behaviour could harm your professional reputation, as well as your productivity.
So, how can you become better at handling your emotions and reactions to stressful situations?
Whatever the reason, dealing with frustration quickly is important, because it can easily lead to more negative emotions, such as anger.
Anger can be one of the most destructive emotions that people experience in the workplace. It's also the emotion that most people don't handle very well. If you have trouble managing your temper at work there are things you can do to learn how to control it.
If you start to get angry, stop what you're doing. One of the best things you can do is mentally stop and look at the situation to get some perspective. Ask yourself what is making you angry or frustrated and think about how your actions and what your say might affect the people around you.
Would you want to work with someone who shouts at you and throws their arms about – probably not!
Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation can help you look at things differently and can help improve your mood. Try and remember the last time you felt frustrated – did your angry response change the situation? People may not realise that they are making you feel frustrated and are probably not trying to deliberately annoy you.
There are lots of reasons why people worry and become anxious at work. Many people worry about their jobs but this can sometimes get out of control and start having an impact on your mental health as well as your productivity.
Don’t get caught up with others who constantly speculate and spread worry within the workplace. Focus on how to try and improve the situation you feel you are starting to worry about. For example, if you hear news that the business isn’t doing well and they may have to make cuts, think about how you might be able to help increase business or ways to reduce unnecessary costs, rather than starting to worry about redundancies, show how valuable you are to the business.
If you find you can’t stop the worries then start writing things down and when you get home sit down and work through then and try and decide how you can handle them and get prepared in case the worst does happen.
If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind, write them down in a notebook or "worry log," and then schedule a time to deal with them. Recording exactly what is making you unhappy makes it easier to identify the problem and solve it or work around it. Remember, you always have the power to change things.
We’ve talked about happiness and wellbeing at work in previous blogs. Dealing with unhappiness at work can be difficult but feeling unhappy is the most likely emotion to have an effect on your performance and productivity. If you have perhaps reached for a promotion or not achieve a target you had set yourself you’ll feel disappointment and perhaps sadness. You may also be afraid to try again.
Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes things don’t the way we had hoped. If something does disappoint, stop and think about why. It may be as simple as adjusting the goal or extending the deadline.
And sometime most importantly of all – try and smile! Smiling throws a little “feel-good party” in your brain, neutralising negative messages to benefit your health and happiness!