Managing Your Emotions: Four Simple Steps to Success

Topic(s): emotional intelligence
Publication: Harvard Business Review (Nov 2013)
Article: Emotional Agility
Authors: Susan David and Christina Congleton
Reviewed by: Susan Rosengarten

Fact: All people think negative thoughts from time to time.

We may feel sad or gloomy, or find ourselves in a funk that’s hard to shake. We’re human; it happens. Attempting to suppress such feelings (or even worse, buying into them) can leave a person feeling drained.

Strong leaders know that it’s okay to think undesirable thoughts on occasion. But being a strong person means keeping things in perspective and not letting these thoughts take over. Managing your emotions is a key skill that can benefit everyone, both personally and professionally.

Susan David and Christina Congleton, the authors of Emotional Agility, offer four practices that can help you manage your emotions and tackle negative thoughts in a healthy and productive way.

    1. Recognize your Patterns: Pay attention to signs that negative thoughts and emotions are beginning to take over and cloud your better judgment.

 

    1. Label your Thoughts and Emotions: This allows you to see your negative thoughts as transient emotional responses that come and go.

 

    1. Accept your Thoughts and Emotions: Validate your feelings of frustration rather than merely brushing them aside. Allow yourself to experience negative emotions in response to important topics or difficult situations.

 

  1. Act on your Values: Once you’ve given your feelings the credence they deserve, you free up time to achieve your goals and become the person you hope to be.

Following these four practices can make the process of managing your emotions much easier, removing the stumbling blocks that prevent you from achieving your highest potential.