Managing your emotions can be the difference between thriving or failing.
Have you ever made a bad decision while you were at the height of your emotion? Or perhaps made a promise when you were too happy but couldn’t follow through?
How about receiving misdirected anger from a friend, a colleague, or even a manager whose life had been turned upside down?
Situations like these and many more are bound to be experienced by all of us, one way or another. While it’s natural for us, human beings, to feel and get caught up in our emotions sometimes, however, we should never let them get the best of us especially if that involves wrongly affecting your career.
So today, we will be discussing all about how managing your emotions will help you to achieve success in your work life and personal relationships.
So, let’s dive right in!
What are emotions and how do they affect us?
Emotions are like colors that can “paint” or determine how your day can go. When we feel happy, we feel good about ourselves and other people. We tend to be more sociable or more generous when we’re in a good mood.
But when we feel angry, we’re likely to show hostility towards others and incline to lose a fraction of our rationality.
Feeling negative emotions aren’t necessarily a bad thing though, because they can help us see our values and teach us a thing or two about ourselves.
However, trouble comes in when we don’t know how to overcome negative emotions and they wound up affecting our relationships with other people and our work performance. That’s why managing your emotions matters in life.
1. How to master the art of managing your emotions
The first step is to identify what exactly you’re feeling. There are eight primary emotions that other emotions stem from:
Other emotions result from the varying intensity of these basic emotions or a mixture between them.
The merit of emotional awareness is that it enables you to figure out what caused it and make the appropriate adjustments. This is called self-preservation. And is a simple step towards managing your emotions for successful and happy living.
Let’s say you hang out with your workplace “friends” who always make fun of you. And this causes severe anxiety and pressure to build up inside of you. By properly assessing what you’re feeling, you’ll soon realize that they are the reason for your anxiety at work or in your social life in general.
This should prompt you to get yourself out of that situation and consciously gravitate towards people that make you feel better about yourself.
2. Managing your emotions without indulging or running away from them
Indulging these emotions can lead us to spiral in our stream of negative thoughts, while avoiding them can cause us to misdirect our feelings to the wrong people.
To avoid this, it’s important to acknowledge that you don’t always have to be happy. Feeling negative emotions, being embarrassed, feeling enraged, and other negative emotions are natural.
Saying you shouldn’t feel a certain way about an upsetting situation will only upset you more and be counterproductive.
So when you’ve encountered and identified a negative emotion, process it by asking yourself the following questions:
What have I done to contribute to what I’m feeling?
When people are dealing with negative emotions, most look at the situation like they’re only victims.
While this can be true for some cases, it’s best to honestly acknowledge your own contribution to what you’re feeling to refrain from reacting to others too strongly.
You should also consciously make self-improvements to avoid feeling a certain way again. Another powerful step to practice for managing your emotions.
What are the things I care about or values of mine that were violated that caused me to feel this way?
By answering this question, you can generate an appropriate response that won’t leave you feeling like you overreacted or under-reacted to a situation. You can also set boundaries for yourself and others so that you know how much you can take and how much people can do to push your buttons.
Take good note that healthily communicating your boundaries to others is as important as setting one.
How can I respond to this situation in a way that I can be proud of?
All emotions trigger a reaction and a response. A reaction is an instinct, instantaneous feedback that doesn’t consider the bigger picture. It’s impossible to control this in the middle of an emotionally-charged situation but what we can control is our response.
A response is made thoughtfully with the idea of the long-term consequences of an action. These should be realistic responses within your means so that you won’t be even more upset when you can’t respond appropriately.
These can be challenging questions to answer, but mastering the process can help you learn from any emotion and experience. This lets you learn more about yourself, about the things that truly matter to you, and how you can deal with them to the best of your abilities.
This is truly key if you want to master the art of managing your emotions.
Express your emotions.
Remember to do this in a way that aligns with your values and with what you’ve just identified and processed. Channel your emotions and bring them to fruition by expressing them honestly without explosion or suppression.
Avoid attacking others and shouting at them (explosion) or by keeping things to yourself and staying quiet (suppression). Doing either of these renders the first two steps useless and is bound to worsen your emotions.
Plenty of distressing situations are uncontrollable, but the way you respond to them isn’t. The purpose of expressing your emotions should be to make-up and learn with the other party, not to prove ourselves right and those people wrong.
- When you feel jealous over the promotion of a colleague that has done the same amount of work at the same period of time as you, a reaction could be downplaying their work and skills. An appropriate response could be calmly talking to your HR department or recognizing that maybe they did their job better and congratulating them.
- When you feel guilt after doing something wrong, a reaction could be running away from the situation or beating yourself about it. An appropriate response is making sincere efforts to apologize and restore their trust and respect.