You might feel compelled to keep big emotions in check at work, but they can often bubble up to the surface. Here are some strategies to help manage your emotions.
Work can bring on some big emotions: frustration, elation, disappointment and, of course, anger. Yet in the interests of professionalism most of us are expected to subdue these emotions – even though, in most cases, they’re perfectly natural. So how can you deal with big emotions in a psychologically healthy way and still maintain an air of professionalism on the job?
Understand how emotions work
First things first: emotions are incredibly complex reactions involving many biological and physiological processes within our bodies – and they are also totally normal. “Emotions are signals about what’s going on in your life,” says Professor Peter Jordan from the Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing at Griffith University.
If you’re experiencing anger, it’s likely due to a sense you’ve been dealt with unfairly. Feelings of frustration may bubble up when you’re prevented from achieving your goals. Likewise, you may feel satisfied or relieved when you meet a deadline.
In the workplace, our dealings with other people can mean emotions are a lot more noticeable. “We’re getting lots of different signals all the time when we’re at work, and that’s why workplaces become such emotional places – they’re full of aspirations and hopes, and stresses, hassles and uplifts that everyone is dealing with on a daily basis, and each one of them will generate a different emotion,” says Professor Jordan.