How to Deal with Emotional Rollercoasters at Work – Part 1

How to Deal with Emotional Rollercoasters at Work – Part 1

When the world as you knew it, suddenly changes, how do you handle the emotions that follow? How can you respond to changes at work, health, finances, family, friend… all at once, when everything inside you is rebelling? You didn’t ask for these changes. And it’s not feeling good. 

I want to make this conversation personal:  it’s about me and it’s about you, and every other person. We all feel deeply!  We want to help others and stay calm for our teams, patients, family… but we also are dealing with our own emotional rollercoaster right now. So start with this:  It’s ok to feel all those things that are going on inside of you right now. And You are not the only one.

We may not be able to stop the rollercoaster for a while, but we can make the ride a little calmer, Here is a little map you can use to navigate to pinpoint where you are at any given time…

ReactionThoughts that Might Be Going on In Your Head…
DenialThis can’t be as bad as what they say… Whatever data they are showing, doesn’t reflect the situation right here (in my country/state/town/community/company…)I don’t know want to hear one more time that I should be washing my hands…This will be over before we know it.
FearWhat happens if I get sick?What if lose my job/my company/my savings?What if I can’t get to my family and they get sick?I’m scared that I won’t be able to take care of my family…When will this end… how bad will it get….
Anger/FrustrationWhy is this happening to me? They (bosses, government, authorities) are overreacting…No one has the right to keep me away from my friends…I can’t stand all the noise around me – can’t you (kids/partner) just chill…People are stupid and inconsiderate.I just want to scream!
HopeIf we all pull together, we can get through this…If we did this, we could… I have to do this, no that first, and also that… (seeing a path, but trouble focusing)Maybe I should call one of my colleagues and see how they are coping with this…Who can help me?
Active AcceptanceI can’t control what the world does, but I can do my part… Let’s make plans for how we deal with…While I am at home, I think I will… (whatever home project calls you) My daily routine is different now, but I can still take care of my body/brain by…I am creating my own “sacred space and time” … I can support others by…When something triggers anxiety and fear inside me, I will…

The trouble with the roller-coaster ride is that we don’t just go through this cycle once: news, situations and people can trigger emotions that take us up or down, sometimes multiple times a day. (another reason to limit your news and social media time).  While we can’t always anticipate the triggers, we can get better at observing what is going on inside our brain and body when something is happening…and deploy the 60-second advantage: the time it takes to observe the emotion, name it, and make a choice whether to go with our initial reaction, or respond in a different way:

  • When we merely react, our emotions can hi-jack our minds – sometimes with results we later regret.
  • When we respond, we give ourselves the gift of choice to be thoughtful about the action we are about to take, and the consequence short- and longer term.

By deploying the 60-second advantage, you may not be able to stop the roller-coaster but you sure can make the ride a little calmer.  

In our next blog, we’ll talk about some techniques to deal with specific emotions when they show up at work.

From banking and insurance to wealth management and on securities weet mornings of spring which I