Managing Emotions - Why It Is Important

We are human. We are created with a big difference from all other organisms as we have something which is called feelings. Have you ever seen any human without feeling? Of course not, and if you saw someone who you think he doesn't have feelings, you thought that because he has the ability to hide his feelings.

So, we are human and it is so hard to be not emotional. But we always face a lot of consequences as a result of the inability to hide our emotions. There are many situations where we should manage our emotions to avoid the consequences.
Emotional outbursts at work maybe happen as a direct result of work-related matters or to stressors from our personal life spilling into our work life.

Firstly, we should know, what do emotions mean.

What Are Emotions and How Do They Work?

An emotion is an organized system of feelings, physiological responses, bodily expressions, and action tendencies that flow from an almost instantaneous appraisal of a current situation’s relevance to the individual. Emotions provide a read-out of one’s current state of affairs, such that positive emotions indicate that things are going well and negative emotions indicate a problematic situation.

According to a 1997 study done by Prof Cynthia Fisher from Bond University, School of Business, the most common negative emotions experienced at work are frustration, worry, anger, dislike, and unhappiness.

There is no doubt that emotions are implicated in a wide range of organizational processes. There is a number of discrete emotions that have attracted less attention but have the potential to generate useful insights relevant to behavior, performance, and well-being.

Prof Cynthia Fisher says,” there are some emotions we must study them correctly and know how they affect our workplace". These emotions are pride, interest, gratitude, affection, love, admiration, respect, compassion, guilt, contempt, anger, boredom, Envy, Jealousy, and Schadenfreude.

Discrete Emotions in Organizations

 Pride may be based on a private self-appraisal of performance or competence or on recognition or public praise from others. There is a considerable literature on pride in social psychology, but relatively little research on pride in the organizational behavior literature.

Interest is sometimes included in the shortlist of basic emotions and has been described as the most frequently experienced emotion.

Gratitude occurs when one appreciates help received from another. It is rarely studied in the workplace but is beginning to attract some attention.

Two studies highlighted the important role of companionate love in the workplace, defined as feeling and displaying affection, caring, compassion, and tenderness.

Guilt is a “moral emotion” felt when one becomes aware of having violated important social norms. The action tendency for guilt is to engage in reparatory behavior such as apologizing or changing one’s behavior to make amends.

Contempt is beginning to receive attention from organizational scholars. It is a social emotion involving “distancing expressions of superiority, condescension, disapproval, and exclusion” that may be communicated verbally or by demeaning expressions such as eye-rolling or raising one lip corner.

Most research focus to date has been on the harmful effects of anger expression, from incivility to violence and the destruction of relationships, but functional and adaptive consequences are also possible.

Boredom is commonly experienced at work, even by white-collar and professional employees. The adaptive purpose of boredom is to motivate exploration and goal change toward more rewarding activities when the current situation is not satisfying.

Envy, Jealousy, and Schadenfreude
Envy is considered to be one of the seven deadly sins, and it is generally not acceptable to express it publicly. Hence, those feeling envies may resort to covert actions in the form of counter-productive work behavior aimed at the more favored party such as undermining, sabotage, lack of cooperation, or spreading rumors.

While Dr. Evelyn Boon, Head, Psychology at the Department of Psychiatry at Singapore General Hospital believes that there are 10 strategies to manage negative emotions at work. To know more about it, you can click here.

10 strategies to Manage Negative Emotions at Work

1. Compartmentalization
Try and leave personal matters and issues at home, compartmentalize work-related stressors so that your emotions at work don’t spill over into your personal life too.

2. Deep Breathing & Relaxation Techniques
Take deep breaths, until you calm down. Slowly count to 10. You can take a walk to cool down and listen to some relaxing music.

3. The 10-Second Rule
If you feel your temper rising, try and count to 10 to recompose yourself. And If possible, excuse yourself from the situation to get some distance.

4. Clarify
It is good to clarify before reacting, in the event that it could be a simple misunderstanding or miscommunication.

5. Blast Your Anger Through Exercise
Instead of losing your cool, plan on hitting the treadmill or going to a kickboxing class, and exercise will help you also to let the anger out.

6. Never Reply or Make a Decision When Angry
Hold off all communication while you are still angry. You can type it first but save it as a draft and sleep on it for a day. Re-read it the next day or even let someone you trust take a look at it before you send it.

7. Know Your Triggers
In this way, you can prepare yourself to remain calm and plan your reaction should the situation occur.

8. Be Respectful
If the person is rude, there’s no need to reciprocate. We can stay gracious and just be firm and assertive without being aggressive. 

9. Apologize for Any Emotional Outburst
If you do have an emotional outburst, apologize immediately to the person and perhaps to those around you who have heard it.

10. Never Bring Your Negative Emotions Home
Harboring negative emotions allows them to fester like mold, bringing you to a breaking point. So it’s best to empty the emotional “trash can” on a daily basis, to prevent overwhelm.

To know more about the ways through which we can harness emotions, you can click here.

Written By - Hossam Abdelaal

Edited By - Khushi Prajapati

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