Through our past experiences and day-to-day interactions with people, all of us have realized the importance of managing our emotions by now. Not only is it an important personal skill, it also serves as a valuable social skill. As Oscar Wilde aptly put it, “I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” Emotional Management is often studied in relation to emotional intelligence.
Why Manage Emotions?
A lot of psychologists and experts describe emotions as being socially constructed. This means that humans and animals both have a tendency to alter their behaviors in accordance with different social scenarios. It is thus important to realize the needs of a social or personal situation and then respond accordingly.
Managing emotions would include controlling, venting and regulating your emotions. Managing emotions well will help in the following key areas:
Give a clearer idea while making decisions.
Sucess with personal and professional relationships.
Better quality and meaning out of daily interactions.
Improved understanding of self and self-care.
And while emotions help you understand people and things better, not being able to control these emotions can make your life feel out of control.
Researches have even revealed that not just negative, but also positive emotions like excitement, joy, etc. can escalate to a degree that is unhealthy and toxic. It is thus important to maintain a balance between your emotions - a sort of equilibrium - in order to make use of emotions in a healthy and helpful manner.
Some scientific studies have also found a link between good emotional management and professional and financial well-being.
How To Manage Emotions Effectively
Following are some ways to get started with managing your emotions:
AIM FOR REGULATION, NOT REPRESSION - A lot of people first make a mistake in setting their goal for emotional regulation and mistake it for emotional repression. But that is exactly what your goal is NOT supposed to be. Shutting our emotions off completely is what is very wrong too. When we repress our emotions, we are preventing ourselves from fully experiencing or expressing our actual feelings. Not only is this a harmful pattern of thought, repressing emotions is also a contributing factor to illnesses like anxiety, depression, muscle tension and sometimes even drug or alcohol abuse. It is thus very important for us to realize the difference between the processes of repressing and regulating emotions.
IDENTIFY WHAT YOU”RE FEELING AND WHY - For a moment, take a back seat and identify what it is that you’re exactly feeling. A lot of times, we have a tendency to confuse our emotions and mis-label them. For example, a person feeling lonely or hurt misjudges it for anger and acts in a rage. It is important to process and think about our feelings before we decide to act on them. A lot of control comes from knowledge.
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THE INTENSITY AND IMPACT OF YOUR EMOTIONS - Sometimes, it is completely normal to experience intense and overwhelming emotions, when something miraculous happens, when someone is unable to understand your feelings even after your 100th try to explain them, and so on. But when emotions get out of hand, that is when the problem begins. This can manifest itself in signs like difficulty in relating to others, frequent relationship or social conflicts, physical or emotional outbursts, etc. It is therefore important for us to look into the impact that our emotions have on the people and situations surrounding us. This also makes it easier for us to unravel which areas need to be worked on.
KEEP A MOOD JOURNAL - An important part of regulating emotions is to understand your own emotional patterns and identify the triggers to emotional distress. Keeping a mood journal will help with this. Writing down how you feel and what makes you feel that way. Journals not only help put down thoughts but also help with brainstorming ideas to deal with situations better.
DON’T REACT, RESPOND - Oftentimes, intense emotions make you react in the wrong ways. The important takeaway here is to know the importance of taking your time to respond thoughtfully to situations instead of acting in the heat of the moment or jumping to conclusions.
THERE’S NO HARM TAKING THE BACK SEAT - A lot of us tend to get overwhelmed when we are faced with a lot of emotional baggage. It is important for us to understand that taking a step back and enjoying some time with ourselves indulging in things that we enjoy can be helpful in settling down.
These are a few ways to deal with emotions and manage them in a more efficient way. Although our ability to manage emotions improves with time, there is no better time to get started than now. Not only do healthy emotional management mechanisms help with your professional development, they also largely contribute to the quality of your personal lives.
Characteristics of Emotionally Intelligent People
Here are a few markers that help distinguish emotionally intelligent and aware people from others. These are important cues to notice in yourselves, your colleagues and people you are working and collaborating with.
People with higher emotional intelligence have a deeper sense of self-awareness. They are their own biggest motivators and critiques.
They are empathetic towards people around them and are ready to actively listen to people’s concerns.
People with efficient emotional management have balanced lives. They feel grateful and stay humble in face of achievements and are not easily discouraged when faced with failure.
They are always eager to learn and grow.
They are receptive to and appreciative of feedback.
They are not shaken when undergoing a change. They embrace change and strive to make the best out of every situation.
Emotions at the Workplace
Although emotions and feeling them is common between our professional and personal lives, there are a few unique sets of emotional challenges that your work brings to you. Be it working in a team of people you don’t gel well with or the emotional turmoil that comes from monthly appraisals and firing, all these situations have a considerable impact on our mental health. According to studies by work psychologists, a few of the most commonly experienced negative emotions at the workplace include frustration, anger, worry, disappointment and unhappiness. It is therefore important to also specifically understand emotional management in the context of work.
Following are some basic strategies that can be useful for emotional management at the workplace:
Compartmentalize your work and personal lives. Don’t let the negative energy from your workplace seep into your home or vice-versa.
Clarify! Always! It is always better to clarify if you’ve understood or interpreted something your colleague or boss said correctly. A lot of quarrels at the workplace begin with misunderstandings.
Be respectful of the people you are working with and respect diverse opinions and human differences.
Don’t shy out on apologizing when and where necessary.
All in all, while it is important for us as emotional creatures to experience and express our emotions, it is also important for us to manage and regulate them so they don’t take us the wrong way. Being able to manage your emotions well is one of the signs of a true professional.
Hope you found this article helpful. If you or your organization is interested to learn more about such attributes and behavioral skills at the workplace, feel free to get in touch with us at RGB Training Services!