Managing Negative Emotions and Bad Reactions At Work

Managing Negative Emotions and Bad Reactions At WorkIf you’re having trouble managing negative emotions and controlling bad reactions at work, try these 5 psychological techniques.

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a work day, feeling like a ticking time bomb of stress and frustration?

  • Maybe you’re feeling the mounting pressure of deadlines, and a toxic mean girl colleague enters your office and starts to push your buttons.
  • Or you’re sitting in a meeting, and suddenly, you’re hit with a wave of criticism from your boss.
  • Perhaps you’re working on a project, and despite your best efforts, nothing seems to go right.

We’ve all been there – feeling like our emotions are a runaway train – and we’re on the verge of snapping.

It’s these moments where managing our reactions becomes crucial, not just for our professional success but for our personal well-being too.

I’m sharing about this topic of managing negative emotions because I am bestselling author on anxiety  Plus I’m the founder of the therapist recommended self-paced online course called The Anxiety Cure.

I’m committed to helping people to live their happiest, calmest lives.

In this article I’ll be sharing how to best navigate those choppy emotional waters!

Tips For Managing Negative Emotions and Bad Reactions At Work

Let’s explore five practical, research-backed strategies to help you manage your negative emotions and bad reactions.

1. Reframing Thoughts with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Techniques

CBT is a psychological approach based on the interconnectedness of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Basically, negative thoughts often lead to negative emotions, which then leads to impacting behavior.

For example...fearing failure in a presentation can trigger anxiety which then leads to lower quality work perfomance.

CBT tackles this downward cycle by encouraging you to question and reframe negative thoughts.


When a thought like “I’m going to fail” arises, CBT suggests challenging its validity.

  • Ask yourself, “Have I failed in every presentation I’ve done?”
  • This helps identify irrational beliefs.
  • Then, reframe it positively: “I’m well-prepared and capable.”
  • This shift in thought can change your emotional response from anxiety to confidence.

2. Building Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

EQ involves recognizing, understanding, and managing emotions – both yours and others’. It’s crucial in workplace interactions.

For instance, if a coworker’s remark upsets you, you need to tap into EQ  so you don’t react wildly – you respond appropriately.


  • EQ guides you to first acknowledge this emotion: “I’m upset by that comment.”
  • The next step is to choose how to deal with it constructively.
  • You might decide to discuss it calmly with the colleague or take some time to reflect on why it bothered you.
  • This approach not only helps in managing the immediate emotional response but also in improving communication and relationships at work.

3. Embracing Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness is a practice of being fully present and aware of our thoughts and feelings without judgment. It’s particularly effective for managing stress.

For instance, you’re experiencing a super stressful day and cannot regulate your emotions.


  • Take a brief mindfulness break.
  • Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and notice your thoughts and feelings as they come and go.
  • This practice allows you to take a step back from immediate stressors, helping to return to your tasks with a clearer, more focused mindset.

4. Utilizing Stress Reduction Techniques

Stress reduction techniques are methods designed to lower your body’s stress response, improving Your emotional state. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a particularly effective method in this category. It works on the principle that physical relaxation can lead to mental calmness.

For example, if you’re facing a stressful event, like a challenging meeting, you can apply PMR to specific muscle groups that might be holding tension.


  • Begin by finding a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down.
  • Close your eyes, and start taking deep, slow breaths.
  • Then, focus on each muscle group in turn.
  • Start from the toes and move upwards towards your head or vice versa.
  • Tense the muscles as hard as you can for about 5 seconds.
  • For example, if you’re working on your hands, clench them into fists.
  • Release the tension abruptly and feel the muscles become loose and limp.
  • Pay attention to the contrast between the tension and relaxation.
  • Rest for about 10 seconds before moving to the next muscle group.
  • This process helps to identify and release physical tension that is often linked with stress.

5. Adopting Solution-Focused Problem Solving

Solution-focused problem solving is a mindset that emphasizes finding solutions rather than dwelling on problems. It encourages proactive thinking and action.

For example, you’re confront with a herculean problem or a very large overwhelming assignment, you can become solution-focused instead of fear-focused.


  • Instead of getting overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, you break it down.
  • Ask yourself, “What’s the first thing I need to tackle?”
  • You might determine that it would be helpful to break down the task into smaller, more manageable parts, delegating, or seeking advice.
  • By identifying a starting point and smaller achievable goals, you create a pathway through the challenge.
  • This approach helps you to focus on what you can control, step by step, rather than getting lost in the problem.
  • It’s about moving from feeling overwhelmed to feeling empowered and in control.

In Conclusion

Understanding and managing bad reactions which come from negative emotions is crucial. It’s not about suppressing how you feel. It’s about learning how to respond in a way that’s both healthy for you and effective in your professional environment. By employing these 5 psychological techniques, you can move from a reactive state to a proactive one, enhancing both your personal well-being and professional success.

If you’d like more support to move through challenging situations, book a free Mindset Mastery consultation here to see how I might help.

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