E is for: How to Leave Emotional Baggage Behind Before Entering The Workplace

How to Leave Emotional Baggage Behind Before Entering The Workplace

Abandoning our emotions at the door before entering the workplace at times may seem impossible as our feelings don’t go away just because we are at work. Despite our best efforts, many of us have experienced an array of emotions while on the job. Whether it was a moment of anger, extreme sadness or exuberance over a happy event, we can’t help but feel our emotions.

In business, emotional outbursts can be viewed as irrational, or an annoyance and frowned upon, yet most leaders want an employee that exudes confidence, passion, enthusiasm, and determination. These are all emotions. And yes, as long as we share positive feelings constructively and professionally, they are welcomed in the workplace.

The question becomes, how do we become better at handling our emotions and “choosing” our reactions to stressful situations? We continually experience feelings throughout our day but learning to regulate those negative emotions and being able to leave them at the door can present a challenge.

Here are a few strategies to help deal with the following negative emotions:

Anxiety – fear about job loss or ‘the big mistake’ made at work can quickly get out of control if allowed. Instead, concentrate on all the positives you bring to the workplace and the many accomplishments you earned. Try doing breathing exercises, breathe in slowly for five seconds and breathe out slowly for five seconds; repeat and focus only on your breathing.  If you happen to be wearing a smartwatch, you will see how the heart rate decreases.

Irritation – this can be caused by something big or small, but regardless it is a negative emotion that needs to be dealt with quickly because irritation can easily turn to anger. But before you react think about this; “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”   Victor Frankl

Distaste of a Co-Worker – most everyone has had to work with someone that rubs them the wrong way, but in the workplace, it’s important to behave professionally. Begin by being empathic to this person, we have no idea what is going on in their personal life. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. However, if this person is disrespectful and unprofessional, kindly explain that you will not be treated this way and remove yourself from the situation. By doing so, it will set an example others can follow.

Anger – this emotion can be the most destructive in the workplace and in our personal lives, especially when it becomes out of control or unmanaged. Learn to recognize the signs of anger building in your body. We can choose how we react by learning to stop, breath, step away from the situation, then reflect and carefully choose a reaction.

Everyone will face negative emotions in the workplace at some point in our careers. Learning to use the proper coping skills is essential for our work life as well as our personal lives. Keep in mind the more negative emotions we carry, the more they will spread to others – and not no one wants to be constantly bombarded with negativity.

Learn what is causing negative emotions, and become mindful and aware of the changes that will occur in your mind and physical body when they appear. The power is in your thoughts. Choose the path of positive thought and rid yourself of negativity; it will increase productivity at work and happiness in self and at home.

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About Ann Zuraw

Ann Zuraw, the voice behind "Chicks, Chat and Change", is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™). If you have comments on this post contact Ann Zuraw

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