How to Deal with Difficult Emotions

Emotions often come up in the workplace. If you react correctly, you can control them - instead of them controlling you.

Teammate Stephanie and you have always got on really well. So you're all the more irritated that you're suddenly annoyed by her. You can't understand why Stephanie is so upset about her colleague Pedro. She complains all day about his unreliability and arrogance.

The bad mood clouds your enjoyment of work and you come to the conclusion: I have to do something. But what? Encourage Stephanie that she's right? Tell Stephanie that she's wrong? Stop responding to Stephanie's rants altogether?

A difficult decision!


We get into situations like this all the time in our day-to-day work: emotions challenge us. You can find out more in the article "How emotions influence our daily work".

In this article, we give you tips on how to deal with emotions in the workplace.

How to Deal with Emotions in the Workplace in General

Allow Emotions

Emotions are normal and are also part of work. Avoid suppressing them. This only works in the short term and can make you ill. Or you run the risk of emotions breaking out at the stupidest moment.

Show Your Emotions

You would be a very scary person if you never showed emotions. Reveal them calmly, but make sure it's appropriate for the environment and the situation. For example, you should be less emotional with customers than with your closest team.

Address Your Emotions

If you are suffering from strong and, above all, prolonged emotions, you cannot avoid addressing them. Use the W questions as a guide: What do I say? How do I say it? Why? When? To whom? Only start the conversation once you have clarified all aspects internally.

Don't Be too Self-critical

We tend to be more critical of ourselves than of other people. Think about how you would react if your teammate showed the emotion you are feeling right now. You will quickly realize that you don't need to be ashamed of it and can address it calmly.

Work on Your Emotions

Emotions don't have to plague you forever, you can change them. We recommend that you use our helpful health app "Etwas tun?!" (in German, French or Italian). It has just been expanded to include the topic of emotions. Train your handling of emotions in a playful way.

How to Deal with Strong Emotions in an Emergency

Don't Let Emotions Get the Better of You

Emotions can be very strong and completely overwhelm you. You can counteract this by adopting a different perspective. Think about it: How would my confident work colleague react right now? That could work for you too! Another option is to mentally play through different scenarios.

Avoid Short Circuits

Letting out an emotion with a big bang can leave permanent damage. You lose credibility and recognition. So avoid short-circuited actions. In the next few points, you will find out what you can do instead.

Take a Deep Breath, Reflect

You don't need to react immediately in an emotionally tense situation. First take a deep breath and say STOP inside. If necessary, go to a quiet place to reflect before you act again.

Counteract Emotions on a Physical Level

Emotions and physical reactions are inextricably linked. You can therefore influence emotions with physical actions. With conscious breathing, by concentrating on beautiful things or with laughter.

Emotions Pass

Even if it sometimes doesn't feel like it: emotions pass, count on it.


Have you already decided how you want to react to your teammate Stephanie?

You've probably noticed that you're in a dilemma. With every option, you risk upsetting either Stephanie, Pedro or both.

Sorry, we were mean and withheld the most promising solution from you: A clarifying conversation with all three parties involved.

The example comes from the "Etwas tun?!" app. There you will find out how you can solve the problem to everyone's satisfaction. You will also find further examples and a wealth of additional tips. Register now for free!


Hansjörg Schmid

Hansjörg Schmid

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