How to Handle Negative Thoughts and Emotions at Work


negative thoughts and emotionsNo matter how much you love what you do, you’re bound to experience work-related negativity at some point in your career. Whether it’s a particularly difficult project or a coworker that knows just how to push your buttons, negative feelings can result in stress, which is detrimental to work productivity and personal well being.

Estimates suggest that 60-80% of workplace accidents can be attributed to stress, while the American Psychological Association pegs the overall cost of workplace stress to the U.S. economy at $500 billion annually.

While you might not be able to prevent those negative thoughts from creeping up, there are plenty of effective ways to deal with them. And it all starts with improving your emotional agility, the process that enables us to navigate life’s twists and turns with self-acceptance, clear-sightedness and an open mind.

So how can you respond to your emotional state in a measured fashion? Psychologists tend to agree that the first step is being able to recognize negative thoughts that don’t serve you. From there, try challenging them by asking yourself, “Is this thought true? It is helpful?” Deep breathing and visualization exercises can help calm you down, while writing about a recent positive experience has been shown to reduce the intensity of the negativity and help us process and regulate emotions.

Being able to handle negative emotions is essential to workplace well being. While it might be challenging, try using these eight effective techniques to ensure any destructive mindset that emerges can be managed effectively.


emotions at work



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Griffin, T. (2017) How to Control Your Emotions at Work.

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Wilner, J. (2011). How Positive Writing Can Increase Life Satisfaction.

Kozub, S. (2017) Take a deep breath — no really, it will calm your brain.

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Barbara Davidson


Babs is a Senior Content Writer and financial guru. She loves exploring fresh ways to save more and enjoy life on a budget! When she’s not writing, you’ll find her binge-watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos!