’Tis the sea­son...

...to be an­gry and sad?

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - FRONT PAGE -

CRec­og­nize early stages of emo­tion – Emo­tions typ­i­cally start with a re­sponse to a small trig­ger and then be­come over­whelm­ing. Im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing a neg­a­tive feeling, think through and/or write down all the ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing your day. Look for the trig­gers that set off your neg­a­tive emo­tions. Typ­i­cally, your emo­tional trig­gers are com­mon and con­sis­tent. Iden­tify them and eval­u­ate why a sit­u­a­tion is dif­fi­cult for you. Ask your­self if there is an­other way to think about your sit­u­a­tion. Talk to some­one about this.

Re­move your­self – If you find your­self in an emo­tion­ally chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tion and you don’t need to be there, then leave. You don’t need to lis­ten to a con­ver­sa­tion that sends you to the dol­drums. You don’t need to lis­ten to some­one com­plain to such an ex­tent that you be­come an­gry and frus­trated. Sim­ply re­move your­self and seek out other peo­ple and en­vi­ron­ments that are pos­i­tive.

Learn to ex­press your­self – When you are emo­tional, you are typ­i­cally not in a good space to ex­press your­self. In­stead, you might blow up in anger, yell and/or en­gage in other in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour. This can cause more prob­lems with your col­leagues and/or your man­ager. Stop and take a breath. Iden­tify why you are emo­tional. Fo­cus on a word or phrase you can use to slowly calm your­self down and re­lax. Next, look at the sit­u­a­tion, step by step in a ra­tio­nal man­ner. Do not re­spond un­til you have calmed down and re­viewed your sit­u­a­tion.

Test your­self – Many if not most peo­ple in­ad­ver­tently en­gage in what HRIST­MAS and Hanukkah are upon us, so or­ga­ni­za­tional lead­ers, team mem­bers, fam­ily mem­bers and in­di­vid­u­als all need to be more aware of the mul­ti­tude of emo­tions of the hol­i­day sea­son.

For em­ploy­ees’ fam­i­lies, stress can arise from com­pli­cated sched­ules. Blended fam­i­lies of­ten dou­ble the num­ber of vis­its and din­ners to pre­pare or at­tend. Gift buy­ing is com­pli­cated, is called twisted think­ing. In other words, when they make one mis­take, they think their world is fall­ing apart. The per­son is en­gag­ing in all-ornoth­ing think­ing. Re­search the list of twist­ing think­ing and test your­self. You’ll be able to rec­og­nize the many el­e­ments of twisted think­ing and catch your­self when you say fool­ish things to your­self in the fu­ture.

Talk it out – Some­times when you re­hash your own thoughts, you make it worse. Find a neu­tral party and share your dilemma with them. Ask for feed­back and com­ment on how you feel and are be­hav­ing. Ask for sug­ges­tions on how to over­come your neg­a­tive emo­tion. Seek your or­ga­ni­za­tion’s em­ployee as­sis­tance pro­gram, if need be.

Find a friend – Per­haps this fes­tive sea­son is the first time you’ve been with­out your fam­ily and/or you have ex­pe­ri­enced the loss of a fam­ily mem­ber. It is nat­u­ral to be sad, but you have a net­work of friends who would gladly ex­tend a help­ing hand. In­vite them to join you for din­ner, ac­com­pany you to a movie, a mu­si­cal per­for­mance and/or a sport­ing event. Any of th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties will im­prove your spirit and you’ll be sur­prised at how many peo­ple are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the same sit­u­a­tion and are glad for the com­pany.

En­gage in pos­i­tive self-talk – Neg­a­tive think­ing can be like a spi­ral stair­case that goes down into deep dark places. Take steps to re­place neg­a­tive thoughts with pos­i­tive thoughts. Cre­ate an up­lift­ing phrase and/or mantra for your­self. Then, when­ever you feel a neg­a­tive emo­tion over­com­ing you, fo­cus on this pos­i­tive mantra. Re­peat your phrase un­til you have calmed es­pe­cially for chil­dren who have great wants but whose par­ents have a low bud­get.

There are also many em­ploy­ees whose fam­i­lies live else­where and there isn’t an op­por­tu­nity to visit them at this time of year. This sce­nario can cre­ate a sense of emo­tional loss, which can lead to de­pres­sion.

There is also huge stress at work as em­ploy­ers strug­gle to get all the work done prior to the hol­i­day. Usu­ally, there are one or two em­ploy­ees off work with ill­ness, which puts more pres­sure on the re­main­ing work­ers. In down, are think­ing clearly and are feeling more pos­i­tive. Some­times fo­cus­ing on a favourite place where you have ex­pe­ri­enced happy times can work just as well. Self-talk strate­gies have be­come more pop­u­lar and are known to work well. Take time to read more about them.

Make your­self happy – Many peo­ple don’t re­al­ize they have the power to turn their emo­tional sit­u­a­tion around in­stead of wal­low­ing in de­spair. Ask your­self, “What can I do right now to make my­self happy?” Then do it! This could be as sim­ple as go­ing for a walk, watch­ing a movie, start­ing a new book or call­ing a good friend. You and only you can make your­self happy.

For­give your­self – Many times when we rec­og­nize we are en­gag­ing in neg­a­tive think­ing, we then get an­gry with our­selves. If you stop and for­give your­self, you might even find your­self laugh­ing at your own be­hav­ior. At the very least, it helps you to de­tach from neg­a­tive feel­ings.

Hope­fully, this sea­son will bring hap­pi­ness and joy, but when work or fam­ily stresses al­low neg­a­tiv­ity to creep into your life, stop and pay at­ten­tion.

Ex­am­ine your own emo­tions and de­velop strate­gies to bring hap­pi­ness back into your life. At the same time, be sen­si­tive to the is­sues your col­leagues and friends might be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing and reach out to help them en­joy this hol­i­day sea­son. spite of the fact the hol­i­day sea­son is fes­tive and we are sup­posed to be happy, not every­one feels that way. In­stead, peo­ple will of­ten feel over­whelmed by their stress, and in spite of the drive to leave their emo­tions at the door, tem­pers will flair, tear ducts will swell and emo­tions will spill over into the work­place.

So, know­ing this sea­son can be very emo­tional, ev­ery in­di­vid­ual needs to pay at­ten­tion, rec­og­nize their emo­tions and find ways to man­age them ef­fec­tively. Strate­gies to help in­clude the fol­low­ing:

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