How To Deal With Negative Work Emotions

Dog In The SnowHumans like comfort. We don’t like change. One area where you may see this occur is with our emotions. We can get into a rut feeling a certain type of emotion, becoming comfortable with it and trying our best to only experience that emotion.

Obviously that’s impossible. Life is like a flowing river. New experiences and emotions are always replacing the ones we have had in the past. It seems good to expect whatever may come our way. It’s good to understand it. It’s good to regulate both good and bad emotions.

One area where this can occur is work. We can often feel good. But often we feel stressed and we experience other negative emotions as well. And sometimes this can negatively affect our work and our careers.

Here are a few thoughts on what to do if this is happening.

1. Why Am I Feeling This Way?

It’s easy to experience a feeling and want to try to feel something else. If we’re not comfortable feeling negative we may try to push the feeling away and pretend that it never existed. This can maybe work for awhile, but it doesn’t really help us in any way.

Take some time to consider the feeling. Maybe it’s a negative feeling of frustration. It may be obvious why you’re feeling this way. Maybe you forgot something about a project. Maybe another coworker did something unexpected and you’re not sure how to react.

Negative feelings are insights into your brain. Take some time to consider why you’re feeling them. It can help you in the future. Not necessarily to avoid them, but how to take positive action on them in the future.

2. Is This A Warning For Something More Important?

Sometimes feelings are like warning signals. Think of a smoke alarm in your house. Sometimes we take a quick glance around and just deactivate the alarm. We figure things are fine. We wait for the alarm to pass and we get on our with our lives. Then it happens again and we do the same thing.

Is your negative feeling at work a sign of something important?

Maybe it isn’t. But if it keeps occurring it’s at least worth exploring a little deeper to see if there is something major brewing between you and your work. Try to identify anything alarming before it comes to a head and affects you, your family and those you work with.

3. Take Notes Now, Take Action Later

Something to avoid when you’re feeling negative is confrontation. Let’s say a coworker does something that really makes you angry and upset. Do what you can not to run over to their office and start a fight. That almost never leads to something good.

Take notes of what you’re feeling now. Then take a step back from the situation. Come back to it later. Maybe a few hours. Maybe the next day. You do want to confront a negative situation if it really is affecting you. You can’t even begin to find resolution without confronting it.

But you don’t want to necessarily do it while you’re in the negative emotional state.

And this could be just something internal as well. Maybe you failed at something. Don’t beat yourself up in the moment. Take notes of how you’re feeling. Then come back to those notes later on and see how you can move forward.


Negative emotions occur in the workplace. There is no avoiding it. But that’s how life is in general. We go through ups and downs. Some of us struggle with the negative. We get comfortable in the negative. But even in that comfort we don’t take the time to consider what is going on and why we’re feeling that way.

There could be a number of reasons for the negative feelings. It’s not that they’re good or bad. It’s just that they offer and opportunity to learn from them and use them for good in the future.

Did you enjoy this article? Get new articles weekly.