How to Manage Emotions at Work

October 23, 2017      |      Posted on Posted in Total Well-Being
How to Manage Emotions at Work

Everyone has experienced a bad day at work or a situation that caused negative emotions to arise—anger, frustration, disappointment, unhappiness. When this happens, staying composed and going on with the day can be a challenge. Follow these four steps to learn how to manage negative emotions productively in the workplace.

  1. Identify triggers. When strong emotions occur at work, trace them back step by step to find the source of the emotions. Was the reaction caused by an internal state, such as being tired or hungry? Maybe there were psychological triggers such as feeling criticized or overwhelmed by too many demands. Taking the time to reflect on the situation will give employees the ability to recognize potential triggers in the future.
  2. Find something positive. Look at the situation in a different way. Changing your perspective can be a mood booster, and it’s a good practice for living a more optimistic life. Rather than get frustrated, angry or upset, find a positive aspect of the situation. What can be learned from it? How can things be changed to prevent similar situations from reoccurring? Reflect on how to better approach a situation like that again.
  3. Breathe. After an incident, take some time to settle down by doing breathing exercises. Take 10 minutes to breathe deeply and slow the heart rate. Breathe in slowly for five seconds, then breathe out slowly for five seconds. Focus on breathing, and nothing else, until a neutral physiological state is reached.
  4. Be proactive. Don’t try to avoid tense situations at all costs, as it might cause more trouble personally and professionally. Avoiding a problem allows emotions to corrode, which can cause resentment and decrease resilience. For those who tend to be unassertive, and then explode when work gets to be too much, learning to speak up and manage conflict effectively is a more constructive approach.

For additional total well-being resources and personalized support for emotional issues, contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provided by ACI Specialty Benefits at 800.932.0034 or


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