How to become a Maestro of your Emotions

Be they from any field, true leaders share one common trait: a calm and collected persona even in the most stressful and negative of environs.

Bear in mind I said ‘leaders’, not bosses. For a screaming, gesticulating person might get things done temporarily as being a boss, he can never go on doing so and making a positive impact on employees and society at large, which is the hallmark of a leader.

Now, it’s most unfortunate most of us go through life without actively paying attention to and analyzing our emotions – be it at home or work – and thus losing out on huge opportunities.

So, let me summarize a few ways in which you can manage your emotions for all-round positives. Mind, the idea isn’t to try and chuck out your negative emotional baggage, but rather to understand what triggers them and then managing them in a better way. This ability assumes greater importance as one climbs the corporate ladder as almost 90% of the competencies that set apart great leaders are based on emotional intelligence.

  1. Observe and describe: Begin by noticing and recognizing your emotions. Develop a habit of introspecting and labeling your emotional state, and also ascertaining their origin. For example, are you really feeling angry at your subordinates or is it actually the aftermath of an earlier discussion with your own boss?
  2. Enhance your emotional glossary: If you learn and expand your vocabulary to include more specific terminology to express your emotional states you would be that much more flexible in being able to identify and deal with them. For example, don’t limit yourself to being “happy” – rather, are you feeling “satisfied” / “expectant” / “ecstatic”?
  3. Don’t get into the “victim” mindset: Try exerting positivity. Don’t say: “Oh, but I can simply not stop feeling irritated by so-and-so person.” In doing so, you’re shunning yourself of all responsibility by squarely blaming people or circumstances. This is not the correct way to deal with emotions for studies have shown that one can change the way one processes and responds to emotions. So, take your own charge in recasting your emotions.
  4. Refine and redefine: Following from the above, it is possible to reframe your feelings and responses to people and situations. For instance, if your boss snaps at you, instead of feeling angry as most people would, you could view it as him going through a ‘bad day’ and let it go.
  5. Articulate: Studies have shown that people who are into the habit of writing down their feelings are better able to manage them. Try your hand at expressing your feelings on paper at least 20 minutes, on alternate days.
  6. Body language: The physical state affects the emotional state tangibly. Ironic as this may sound, try forcing a laugh even in a very anxious state of mind. It will release endorphins which would elevate your mood even if the laugh is faked! Another tactic is to focus your attention on your breathing if feeling overly angry; that would have an immediate calming effect on your mind.

Remember, it takes time, often years to fully master your emotions. Here’s hoping you start your journey today.


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