Ever feel like your feelings are getting the better of you? We asked an expert whether being emotional at work can ever be a good thing...
We’ve all been there. Head between your knees, tears trickle down your cheeks and form a mascara-tinted puddle on the bathroom floor.
Yep, whether you’ve just started a new job, taken on a more senior role or just had One Of Those Days, sometimes it seems impossible to keep your feelings in check.
But instead of panicking about whether or not your face is blotchy, your nose is bright red or if there’s snot in your eyebrow, fear not: being emotional at work can actually be a good thing.
“Emotions are healthy reactions to our thoughts,” explains Dr Ciniza Pezzolesi, Clinical Director of The Mindfulness Project and speaker at Marie Claire @WORK LIVE event on June 13. “Emotions are barometers of what is going on in our mind, and we can use them to understand our reactions to the world. That’s why there is a strong link between thoughts/emotions and how we ultimately behave. If you are having strong emotions – even painful ones – there is probably a value, (I.e.something very meaningful to you) that has been violated or endangered in some ways. Understanding and recognising that is incredibly useful.”
It makes sense. But what can you do when your makeup is halfway down your neck and you’ve run out of toilet paper to shove in your mouth to stifle the sobs? “Mindfulness is key if you need to feel calm and collected,” explains Pezzolesi. “It helps you to release any stress by reconnecting you with your body, away from your head where all the emotions originate.”
What to do if…
If you’re feeling stressed…
1. Stop what you’re doing for a moment.
2. Take three conscious breaths.
3. Ask yourself: What is going on for me right now, in terms of bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings?
4. Take the time to acknowledge your experiences in that moment.
If you’re feeling angry or nervous…
1. Give yourself a bit of a break. When you’re under pressure you’re likely to lose your inner strength and resilience – meaning we get upset over small things and can feel out of control.
2. Take three minutes to focus on your breathing, as above.
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If you start crying or panicking…
1. See if you can watch your negative emotions as if you are watching a movie.
2. Instead of telling yourself to stop crying, try to create a sense of detachment. Remind yourself that you have the choice of letting go of the emotions that are not helpful.
3. After a couple of minutes, picture the a space between the real you and the movie you. That space represents your freedom of choice – so that you can decide what is best to do for you, in that given moment.
4. Take three conscious breaths.
5. Reapply your mascara, and re-enter the office.