Managing Your Emotions at Work

To be human is to feel. The whole gamut of human emotions gives us a sense of meaning, identity, and place, and without them we would go through life being little more than organic robots. But what happens when your inner emotional world collides with your work environment?


Your emotions are often most tested at work. After all, you likely spend more time with your peers at work than you do with your family. Work is a place where expectations must be met and deadlines kept, where communication must happen among differnet personalities and cultures.

It goes without saying that emotions such as anger, jealousy and anxiety can have a negative effect on your performance at work and those around you. So how can you regulate your emotions so they can play a positive role at your workplace? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Keep the lines of communication open. One of the best ways to avoid conflict is to keep the lines of communication open. If you feel that there is a problem with one of your peers, don’t allow anger to take control. Sit down with him or her in private and discuss the problem openly and calmly. If this fails, ask your superior or another intermediary to interject or to arrange a three-way meeting in order to discuss the problem and find ways to resolve it.

Make sure you have other outlets. Sometimes the tension of work can build up to the point of explosion- especially in high stress jobs, or when having to work with difficult people. Aside from making sure there is healthy communication, you should also ensure that you have other places- i.e. people and activities- in your life that allow you to express your frustrations and let off steam. There is much more to life then one’s job, and sometimes all that is needed to reduce negative or distressful feelings is a little work-life balance.

Try to stay positive. Though you may try, you cannot control your peer’s emotions. You can, however, control your own. Broadcast control and calm and you may be surprised to see how it will “rub off” on those around you.

Above all, the key to properly managing your emotions is to make healthy choices. Don’t react in the heat of the moment. Before saying something that may fundamentally change your situation at work, count to ten. Think the situation through. Is it worth letting off steam? What damage will it cause? Think of a better way to resolve the problem. Chances are, there is one.

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