While you were growing up, did you ever hear an adult say: “Let cooler heads prevail?” As adults, maybe this adage makes more sense than it did when we were kids. It’s hard to argue that keeping a cool, calm demeanor often results in it being more likely that we will get what we want. And it’s generally a healthier way to be as well.
That being said, we all have bad days, even bad moments. Welcome to the human race! And we can’t always keep frustrations about challenges in our personal life from spilling over into our work life (and vice versa).
It’s generally best if we can identify the conditions that trigger this kind of emotional spill-over. When we have that capacity, we have a greater chance of being able to hit the “pause button” every time we experience those conditions. This allows us to take a step back, remain clam, and be more intentional in determining how we want to respond.
However, our emotions sometimes get the better of us and we simply can’t contain them. We have the outburst. Then we are faced with handling the consequence. Here are a few basic tips for when that happens.
- As soon as you can, identify the emotion you’re feeling. Whether it’s anger, frustration, a sense of being overwhelmed, sad, or disappointed – knowing what’s going on for you takes away the mystery behind your reaction. Be compassionate to yourself (because you are merely human)!
- If the person on the receiving end doesn’t give you an opportunity to express the source of your emotional reaction, fess up and name it as soon as you can so they have an understanding as to why you are behaving this way. Most people are very supportive and empathetic when they can stop worrying about being held responsible for or seen as the cause of your outburst.
- Ask for a few moments to collect yourself. Come back and apologize for the way you expressed what you were feeling, acknowledging that doing so meant that the what you wanted to convey got lost or wasn’t heard.