How to manage your emotions at work

| 11 May 2024

Organisations are hotbeds of emotion.

There’s joy, excitement and happiness.

But there’s also anger, frustration, irritation or annoyance; fear and anxiety.

When those emotions hit, you feel threatened or unsafe and you probably do one of two things:

React in haste – go off the deep end, cry or lash out, then regret it.

Say nothing and try to suppress what you’re feeling (which can make the feeling even stronger.)

Neither of those is a great strategy. They both have consequences.

If you’d like to better regulate your emotions ‘in the moment,’ these four questions will help. I recommend starting your practice in situations where you feel calm and grounded to get familiar with how this works.

What am I feeling? Give the feeling a name. Happy, angry, bored.

Why am I feeling it (be curious, not judgemental.)

Where am I feeling it? (Gut, chest, head?)

How do I want to respond? (You can say nothing or pause before responding and then respond mindfully rather than react hastily.)

Why does this work?

We tend to blame other people for making us feel a certain way. But that’s a cop-out. Nobody can make you feel anything without your permission.

Becoming familiar with your emotional triggers is valuable learning. Knowing what pushes your hot buttons tells you something about yourself.  It’s often a clue that you need to clean up some of your thoughts or beliefs about yourself, other people or the way the world is.

It also puts you in control.

Practise using those four questions and you’ll get much better at regulating your emotions whenever you need to.