How to handle negative emotions and thoughts at work
Image: Stock-Asso/Shutterstock

These are research-backed ways to handle negative emotions at work

23 Feb 2018

When it comes to having a bad day at work, it’s not a question of if, but when. These negative emotions don’t have to ruin your productivity, though.

I think a lot of people fail to internalise that it doesn’t matter how much you love your job – your work will still bring you stress.

Work is pretty much the same as any other facet of life in that nothing can immunise you against the inevitable low points.

The fact that work is inextricably linked to livelihood can exacerbate these lows, especially if you find that negative emotions arising from the working day are impacting your productivity.

As many as four-fifths of workplace accidents can be attributed to stress, and workplace stress costs the US economy $500bn annually. So, even though stress is inevitable, it’s still deleterious if you struggle to deal with it effectively.

The key to navigating workplace stress, and stress in general, is developing something called ‘emotional agility’.

QuickQuid has gone to the trouble of compiling an informative infographic laying out the steps towards achieving this agility.

According to Susan Davis, a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, there are three key components to handling negative emotions: showing up (or confronting negative thoughts as opposed to avoidance), stepping out (observing emotions dispassionately) and moving on (as opposed to dwelling on bad feelings).

Flagging unhelpful, negative thoughts as they arise is one such way to develop better agility. Rather than letting your own thoughts castigate you mercilessly, try to mentally ‘intervene’, so to speak. Ask yourself, ‘Is this thought helpful? Is it true?’

From there, you can channel that thought and hopefully relieve its emotional weight by proving it is not rooted in reality.

Rather than dwelling on disappointments, another good idea is to set yourself a new goal and focus your energy on that. Putting your attention towards progressive, constructive activities will help you develop resiliency.

For more great advice on handling negative emotions and thoughts, check out the infographic below.

Image: QuickQuid

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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