The effect that a well developed emotional intelligence can have on your professional insight cannot be overstated. It will transcend beyond and through many professional situations. Whether you are restoring vintage muscle cars or the CEO of a global banking institution this will impact your career. Psychology Today reports that emotional intelligence includes three different skills.

  1. Emotional awareness of yourself and others around you.
  2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving.
  3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.

Regardless of how insightful you are today, I would recommend that you make it a lifelong practice to deepen your understanding of how everyone’s emotions affect you in the professional world. The more comfortable you are in this area the less likely you are to offend the people key to your future, while also increasing the likelihood that you will be seen as someone who should be rewarded with responsibility and money. Let’s explore some specific approaches to increase the awareness of your emotions in a professional environment.

Don’t avoid acknowledging your feelings at work.

Many people are uncomfortable with emotions in the first place and feel they are a distraction. Take some time every day to figure out how you are feeling based on circumstances in your personal and professional life. Do not avoid them or try to distract yourself from feeling, and thereby understanding how those emotions are affecting you. For example, you could have just had a rough morning with your spouse or children leaving the house, but have an important team meeting when you first arrive to work. The leftover stress or frustration from the morning can potentially throw you off your game if you don’t take a moment to acknowledge and process how you are feeling. By taking this small step every day you can prevent becoming overwhelmed and potentially caught off guard by negative or stewing emotional situations.

Don’t edit your emotions too quickly.

Our emotions often follow a wave of intensity as we are experiencing them. Don’t make a harsh interpretation of your feelings without giving yourself the ability to understand the full extent of what you are feeling. When you ignore work stress and agitation, it can have the tendency to come out later on. All too often we see this in action when professionals take their work home with them. Your goal should be to ride the wave and have a better understanding of it once you are on the other side. We all can have moments when our emotions run high at work. If you allow your work stress to happen at work in productive and healthy ways it has less of a chance of bleeding into your personal life.

Have you felt this way before?

By asking yourself this question you can identify if these feelings are recurring events for you or tied to a previous circumstance that was not fully resolved. When you are examining your emotions at work it can help to think of having a virtual court case in your mind. Do you often feel hurt by being passed over for promotions? If this is a repetitive feeling, you may want to consider that you are missing important cues professionally. You may actually be lacking certain skills or qualifications needed for these roles. Repeated emotions can give us a clue into our thinking patterns that may be holding us back. Step back and examine the situation objectively without the revolving emotions. This will give you the professional and somewhat objective context to examine your feelings.

Be conscious of how your emotions are affecting your body.

Anxiety, fear and nerves typically affect our stomach and digestive tract in various ways. Develop and good understanding of how your body reacts to them, and it may help you anticipate other issues that may arise. Some people can show emotion and prolonged stress on their skin in various ways too. This is such a well established and consistent phenomena that the first psychodermatology clinic was started at Stanford University in 1972. You would be wise to pay attention to your non-verbal communication while you are in high emotional states. We can telegraph unintentional cues when distracted by processing our feelings.

Finally, if you get the sense that your emotions are running high but cannot quite put your finger on it, ask someone you trust. A work confidante can be a great source of objectivity when we are under the influences of our emotions. Listen to this person and make your own judgment call based on how it matches up with how you feel. As you begin the practice of paying closer attention to how you feel, you may also want to tune into your unconscious feelings. Pay attention to your dreams and feelings as you relax out of work. I recommend practicing mindfulness every day at consistent times that incorporate times to de-stress in order to help manage high levels of professional stress.