We’ve all been in one of ‘those’ situations before. You know… when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work; when a customer snaps at you unfairly; when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly; or your boss assigns you more work when you’re already overloaded.
In your personal life, your reaction to stressful situations might be to start shouting or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself. But at work, these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation as well as your productivity.
Handling Your Emotions
Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that’s facing budget cuts, staff layoffs, and department changes. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances, but it’s even more important for you to do so.
Here are seven strategies to help you deal with frustrations, irritations, worry, anger and disappointments so you won’t have an emotional meltdown.
- Stop and evaluate.
Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. Write it down, and be specific. For example, you’re wasting time and could be finishing a report. Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. For instance, if your boss is late for your meeting, then you have more time to prepare or time to catch up on emails.
- Focus on how to improve the situation.
If you just received a not so good performance review, probably fretting or complaining about it won’t help you keep your job. Instead, bring to your boss a concrete action plan for improvement. This is the time to be visible, to be valuable and showcase your variety of skills.
- Avoid negative people.
If co-workers gather in the break room to gossip about job cuts or management changes or whatever, don’t go there and worry with everyone else. It doesn’t change the situation. It just aggravates it! Rather, surround yourself with more positive, upbeat folks.
- Be professional, no matter what.
If you have to work with someone you don’t get along with, set aside your dislike or irritation. Act courteously and focus on the work that needs to get done. Besides that person may have something you need in the future.
- Remain calm.
Negative criticism can give rise to anger or feelings of inadequacy. Expressing these emotions will put you, not the critic, in a negative position. When the hammer drops, pause, take a couple of deep breaths to settle down and decide how to respond. One way is to go into active listening by replying, “So what you’re saying is……Can you explain…….”
- Pull back.
Take a moment to realize that things won’t always go your way. If they did, life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys, ups and downs. And it’s the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting.
Strange as it may sound, forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are ‘wired.’) Try it – you may be surprised!