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Better Days Ahead

3 Emotions That Prevent Us from Having Good Days and How to Fix Them

These days, we hear a lot of talk of emotional intelligence and how important it is to our professional journey. At Your Clear Next Step, we have written on and taught about emotional intelligence a lot. It’s a topic that allows us to move from contributor to influencer to leader in our organizations. And, by growing in your emotional intelligence, you can build greater relationships, both for yourself as an individual, and for the organization(s) to which you belong.

The first stage of Emotional Intelligence is self-awareness. One dimension of self-awareness is emotional self-awareness. Emotional self-awareness means understanding your triggers, your moods, and your emotions, and how they play out in your responses and actions. How do your emotions impact you at work? From there we move to self-management which is where we take our awareness and do something about it.

In that spirit of self-awareness, specifically emotional self-awareness, and with an added dose of self-management, we offer three common emotions that can prevent us from having a good work day, and what to do about them.


1. Hangry

This is the frustrated, irritated, angry, sometimes irrational sense that we have when our blood sugar has dropped to a dismal level. We are both hungry and angry at the same time. It’s important to address hangry because your irritation and brusque remarks can cause bad decisions and hurt feelings.

  • · How to recognize it? Often associated with a fog behind the eyes and a general weary point of view, being hangry comes with an inability to focus, emptiness in your gut, and a general sense of irritability that seems un-triggered by things around you.
  • What to do about it? For heaven’s sake, eat something! And while you wait for the food to catch up to your system, try to avoid talking to others or encountering a situation that could be triggering. If you recognize you are getting hangry, but don’t have any snacks on hand to rectify the situation, consider warning those around you about what’s going on, and practice extra diligence with the words and tone that come out of your mouth. If this is a feeling you run into often, or if you really aren’t sure what foods might help you overcome it, might we suggest talking to your doctor or a nutritionist.


2. Unfocused

unrecognizable-woman-sitting-office-front-computer-using-smartphoneThis is the feeling that you’d pretty much rather think about anything else. You might be distracted by the media feeds or the chatting three cubicles down from you. You might investigate to see if there are still donuts in the break room or wander around chatting with those in your path. This is a problem because, in so many instances, time really is money, and any moment that you’re not spending doing work while still on the clock is costing your organization resources that could be put to better use.

  • How to recognize it? Similar to hangry, you might experience a mental fog, an inability to focus or pay attention. You’re not getting much done, you’re reading the same paragraph repeatedly without comprehension.
  • What to do about it? Acknowledge that it’s happening and do something to regain your focus. Step away from your desk or meeting, drink a tall glass of water, or perhaps some tea or coffee, go for a brisk walk down the hall. Change your focus and physical movement just enough to disrupt that unfocused stupor.


3. Anxious

young-handsome-man-feeling-stressed-anxious-tired-frustrated-pulling-shirt-neck-looking-frustrated-with-problem-orange-wallThis is a feeling of worry or discomfort. You might start to create disastrous pictures in your head of how things could turn out based on your current level of discomfort. This is a problem because if you let this discomfort get the better of you, you might be unwilling to take a risk that would be beneficial to you or the organization which could result in a missed sale or a missed opportunity. Additionally, a feeling of anxiousness can spiral into anxiety which can have longer lasting and widespread impacts.

  • How to recognize it? Try to recognize when you are out of your comfort zone. You perhaps notice that your heart rate has picked up. Your hands may be fiddling with something or tapping. There exists a physical manifestation of this anxiousness.
  • What to do about it? Name it. Give a name to the thing you are worried about. Tell yourself that you are out of your comfort zone and then ask yourself what it would take to get yourself back to your comfort zone. Do that thing, if you can, and if you can’t, identify when you will be comfortable again. Sometimes knowing when it will end helps us tolerate it in the moment.


Topics: General Business, Communication, Collaboration, Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!


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