How to Master Your Emotions to Achieve Peak Performance at Work

We all know that self-leadership is a critical key to personal and organizational success. Self-aware and self-motivated team members are more productive, efficient and happy at the workplace. Especially now that we are in the middle of the pandemic, self-leadership is essential to survive and thrive.

At the very core of self-leadership is our ability to master the inner workings of the mind. We already know by now that our thoughts greatly impact our performance. When we have control of what’s happening inside us — our feelings and thoughts — we can direct our actions to achieve our goals.

However, as humans, we are naturally emotional people. And that’s not entirely bad! Yes, we all have our dark moments of sadness, depression and anger, but we also have many magical moments that are filled with joy, excitement, and love. 

The problem arises when we find ourselves bombarded with negative emotions throughout the day and we feel as if we have no control over how we feel. We might start to think that we are powerless, weak and worthless. We might begin to question our work, our purpose and ourselves. 

I have been there and it is not a good place to be in. I know firsthand how debilitating these thoughts can be and I certainly recommend seeking professional help if you feel that your emotions are overwhelming you and hindering you from living your life. 

To learn to regulate our emotions, we must first understand how they arise. Psychologist James Gross of Stanford University developed a model that shows how emotional experiences follow a trajectory of five distinct stages.

The problem is our response at each stage is automatic — a result of years of habit rather than a deliberate choice.

Some people default to sadness, some to anger, some to fear. They have learned to respond a certain way and have integrated this response at the very core of their being. The good news is, we can learn techniques to take charge of these knee-jerk reactions. With self-awareness and proactive action, we can learn to avoid our past pitfalls and prevail through our negative emotional patterns.

Here are the 5 key stages to mastering your emotions

1. Identify Emotional Situations.

Identify situations that trigger your emotional responses. Awareness of your own triggers and default responses is important to build a battle plan that allows you to regulate your reactions when you chance upon a triggering situation.

2. Address Emotional Situations Head On

We can’t always avoid situations that trigger our negative default patterns, but we can plan strategies to deal with it.

Deep breathing, meditation, listening to music, saying affirmations, physical exercise, and journaling are some of my absolute favorites. 

Having a strong support system is also important during this stage. Talk to your trusted friend and mentor to help you process your emotions and help you make objective decisions.

3. Shift Your Focus

When you are in the middle of an emotional situation, shift your focus to something that’s in your control. For example, if someone says something inappropriate during a meeting, choose to shift your focus back to the important agenda at hand. This will allow you to take control of what’s happening around you. 

4. Change your Perspective

Take a step back and try to understand your default emotional responses. Self-distancing is a great method to use when trying to analyze your thoughts. Instead of asking “Why do I feel like this?”, ask the question in the third person like this: “Why does Joe feel like this?”

In this way, you can get a more objective view of what’s happening inside your head and understand why it’s happening.

5. Control Your Response

When you have been hit by an emotional blow, take a deep breath, hold your breath and count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and then exhale with the thought of letting it all go. Repeat this until you feel calmer and your strong emotions have subsided. It is important to note that we often make many mistakes when we are emotional so it is best to take no actions when your inner mind is in turmoil. 

To master ourselves, we must first master our emotions. This will affect how we react, how we make decisions, and how we interact with people around us. Remember that these default emotional responses are ingrained in you for years. It will take time to unlearn these negative habits so be kinder to yourself during this journey.

So many people today suffer from negative self-talk and inability to control their emotions. If you want to arm your team with the tools needed to conquer their inner critic and unleash their full potential, reach out to YuJin.

We can create special events designed to address your organization’s specific needs. With his newly launched Online Virtual Events, he will transform your team and help them thrive in this new age of work.

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