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5 Tips for Managing Your Rollercoaster of Emotions

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The above clip is from the film Jerry Maguire and I thought it perfectly fit for today because this is National Rollercoaster day! Now, I could have shown a clip of a rollercoaster ride, but instead I decided to focus on the rollercoasters of our emotions, especially when we have to deal with them at work (as Jerry Maguire did not do very well here).

If you’re anything like me, you may sometimes find it difficult to control your emotions at work. After all, it at the workplace that you tend to be most stressed, upset, and anxious, as well as happy. Here are some tips to make the ride more smooth.

1. Stay in the moment when you feel anxious

Katherine Walker, founder of Lifetime Behavioral Health, told U.S. News: “Anxiety is the fear of what might or might not happen at some point in the future. Focus on the task at hand, not allowing your mind to drift off into the future, thinking what the boss might do or what your co-worker might do.” Worrying will get you nowhere or nowhere good and it will distract you from getting anything done.

2. Calm yourself and take a moment

Count to ten. Say the alphabet backwards. Listen to a song. If you can, go for a walk around the block or even around the floor. A few minutes can make a big difference when you are really upset. This will also help you think before you speak. Because if you don’t take a minute, you may end up doing something like what Kristin Wiig did in the film Bridesmaids. Watch below.

3. Replace your emotion with something constructive

Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world’s leading executive educators and coaches, had a great idea for what to do when overcome with emotions at work or really anywhere. He wrote for The Harvard Business Review blog:

The next time you are overcome with a negative emotion, ask yourself this question: “What am I feeling at this moment?” Get in touch with the feeling or emotion first. Once you’ve done that, make a silent declaration to yourself that you don’t want it anymore! For instance, when someone dangerously cuts you off on the freeway, your thought might be: “I do not want this anger” (or “rage,” if it’s that bad).

Then, replace the feeling with a constructive thought. In this way you make a conscious choice to have a positive state of mind. Your thought might be: “I do not want this anger. I choose to be at peace instead.”

4) Exercise

According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity can provide a great and healthy outlet for your emotions, especially if you feel like you can’t contain yourself for much longer. If you feel your anger getting worse, go for a brisk walk, or run, (or do yoga!), or spend some time doing other favorite physical activities. I wouldn’t recommend this one, but Barney Stinson on “How I Met Your Mother” found smashing TVs in an ally to be the most helpful for dealing with his emotions.

5) Try to put everything in perspective

It is really easy to freak out about every little thing. Why was the subway so crowded? Why did the coffee line have to be so long? Why does she have the better desk? Should I exercise or meet with my friend after work? But over analyzing everything will drag you down. In his commencement address at Stanford University the great Steve Jobs put it in big picture terms that have always helped me:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

What are some of your tips for managing your emotions at work?

Ask Levo Mentor Maggy Frances Shultz, Founder of Maggy Francis, how she handled anxiety when she was a fashion assistant and how she deals with nerves while she runs her own company!

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