Manage negative emotions at work to avoid conflict

Negative emotions at work that are not managed can often backfire. What can you do when a situation at work causes you to become very upset? How do you blow off steam without alienating your, boss, staff, coworkers, partners or customers?

If you want to succeed in business or in the workplace, you need to know how to effectively manage your negative emotions at work.

Here are some quick tips on how to effectively manage your negative emotions.

  1. Self-care is extremely important. An employee or boss who tends to her/his own emotional, physical and mental needs regularly, is going to be more adept at managing    negative or hostile emotions at work. Start with enough sleep, regular exercise and good nutrition.
  2. Know what anger and frustration feels like to you –  both in your head and in your body. Sometimes, we can get really “cut off” from our feelings and act out without knowing why. Spend some time knowing what anger feels like to you, and where you notice it in your body. Being present to your body’s feelings will help you calm potential conflict.
  3. Ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Often, frustration or anger appears when one of our fears has been activated. By going directly to the source of your feelings, you may be able to short-circuit them. Are you afraid “to look  foolish”, “to look stupid”, “to be unprepared”, etc. Getting in touch with what you are afraid of will often clear your mind. Then you will be ready to generate productive solutions instead of creating conflict.
  4. Vent to a trusted colleague, coach or mentor. When you share your frustration, your fears will often calm you down. These people can support you and help you move forward.
  5. Take a 10 minute walk or distract yourself. When you desire to “vent”, excuse yourself from the office and take a brisk 10 minute walk near the office. This will clear your mind and may save you from losing your temper. Often, getting your mind off the issue or person that is bothering you is enough to calm you down.
  6. Ask, “What’s working about this situation?” We can manage stress better if we start looking at  “what’s working” rather than “what’s missing or wrong”. Many times, communication breakdowns or can show you where better systems need to be created and placed and ultimately, will enhance you or your organization.
  7. Take an action.  Rather than feeling annoyed and frustrated, transform that energy into   positive movement forward, where you can.  Take action on another project where you can make a difference.  Or, make a straight forward request. If you would like something to be different, start working on the issue.  Contact key people, letting them know that you’d like to work on the issue or breakdown. Often, communicating about your desires as an appropriate request can move situations forward.

Regular use of these tips will help you manage negative emotions at work and help you prevent conflict.

Where have you effectively managed your negative emotions at work?  What was the positive outcome?

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