7 Ways to Keep Anger, Tears and Unwanted Emotions in Check

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Everyone feels negative emotions—anger, envy, bitterness, frustration, embarrassment, worry, fear ….

And when these feelings happen at work, they may very well be justified. A co-worker or boss may not be treating you well or fairly. Performance expectations may be skewed. Your job may feel less than secure.

Feelings are valid. Suppressing them is futile. But you don’t have to let negative emotions control you.

Here are tips on how to manage your emotions:

      1. Redirect yourself. Try a six-second redirect. This is not just counting; it is engaging your prefrontal cortex, involved in math and analytical skills to get out of your amygdala, or emotional brain. Here are a few examples of a six-second redirect:
        • Count to six in a foreign language you are learning
        • Name six emotions you are feeling
        • Remember six of the Seven Dwarfs in alphabetical order
        • Visualize six details of a place you love to visit
        • Look for six good qualities in the person with whom you are arguing
      2. Look up and to the right to engage the rational side of your brain.
      3. Take a break. Don’t react right away, suggests Dr. Carmen Harra for huffingtonpost.com. Sometimes, you just need to take a break to let emotions—both yours and others’—have a chance to subside before you can discuss the issue rationally.
      4. Focus on keeping a normal tone of voice. If the other person starts to raise his or her voice, lower yours to de-escalate the situation.
      5. Try using the EASY method to keep emotions in check; basically, when you are asserting yourself, you are less likely to feel emotionally out of control
        • Express how you feel
        • Address the situation appropriately
        • Say what you want to happen; e.g., “Next time, could you please come to me directly if you have a problem with something I’ve done rather than discussing it with others?”
        • Yes or no reply: Don’t ask a question that requires a dissertation for an answer. Ask for their commitment or support or some other question that only requires a yes or no answer.
      6. Practice assertiveness. Speak honestly and kindly to get what you need. Use a natural tone and voice. If you need more information on assertiveness skills, here’s 7 Ways to Become More Assertive so You’re Less Stressed.
      7. Use controlled breathing. Negative emotions can cause over- or under-breathing, suggests Dr. Vijai Sharma, for mindpub.com. Restore your breathing to a deep, smooth and rhythmic pattern you can counter the physical things that happen to the body when you’re angry, uncertain or frustrated.

Agree? Disagree? Add your insightful comments here.