Emotions no doubt play a big role in influencing how we think, act and conduct our lives. However while positive emotion and passion can make us more involved in our work and increase productivity, negative emotions such as unfounded fear, anger or resentment can be destructive and render us incapable of making balanced, rational decisions. Studies show that negative emotions can be contagious, and people can catch on the stress or negativity experienced or displayed by individuals they work or interact with regularly.

The study, conducted by Professor Eliane Hatfield, a psychologist from the University of Hawaii, reports that women tend to be more susceptible to such emotional contagion, as they are more cued in emotionally, and can intuitively sense the mood of colleagues and the atmosphere of the workplace.

Getting psychologically involved with the ups and downs of work, letting emotion rule your heart and head and letting it play havoc on your own health and happiness is a big mistake.

Here are some techniques that can help you separate fact from feeling, bringing in rationality and objectivity to situations- whether it is with regard to handling work pressure, keeping your interactions with people grounded, or facing the emotional demands of other people.

Give attention to your thoughts, emotions and state of mind. A heightened awareness of your emotions will help you to identify how emotions are getting in the way of your being successful, and where you need to progress.

Learn not to take everything said or done personally. Look at the situation objectively and try to understand why a person acted in a particular manner rather than focusing on how it has affected you. Emotional detachment will help create a state of calmness, help you stay in control and boost your objectivity and decision making skills in a given situation.

Make yourself solely responsible for your own well-being and happiness. Accept that there is little that you can do to change the behaviour of other people, and focus on moderating your own reactions instead. For example, when you feel angry or intensely emotional, try delaying your reaction.

Take a deep breath and consider your words or intended action in your mind for a few moments, before you actually execute them. Refuse to take part in conversations that are negative or critical. Refuse to react to sarcasm, bullying or manipulative tactics that others may try to use to stoke you up emotionally.

Whenever you feel emotionally charged up, consciously relax your body language until you actually begin to feel indifferent and emotionally detached. Lower the tone of your voice and relax your shoulders, arms and hands. Maintain eye contact and practice a calm, blank facial expression.

Speak slowly, and in measured tones if you are reacting to someone who is emotionally charged up. When the little things of everyday life start to get to you, take a step back and look at the big picture. Most things don't matter as much as they seem to.

The next time someone tries to upset or anger you, try to deal with the situation with cool detachment and objectivity. If you can perfect this art, you will be able to roll with the punches and take the good and the bad with a pinch of salt.

Bindu Sridhar

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