- The Find: Tough economic times often lead to loads of stress at work; here's how to handle negative emotions in the moment to avoid less than constructive responses like lashing out at colleagues.
- The Source: A conversation between leading executive coach Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Maraia, a relationship development coach, on the Harvard Business Review Discussion Leaders.
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.Sounds simple enough, but by acknowledging the emotion you open up the space to decide what to do about it. Will you justify it with a muttering inner dialogue for hours on end or will you release it? Maraia, not surprisingly, suggests the latter:
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). 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."As straight forward as the method is, Maraia admits following his approach sounds easier than it actually is, allowing "it will probably feel awkward at first." The benefits, however, are obvious. Yell at your team less and raise their morale at the same time that you clean up the mental clutter that prevents you from focusing on the important stuff.
The Question: Is it really so simple to manage your negative emotions?