In the professional world, and in entrepreneurship, it's easy to let our emotions get the better of us. When you're passionate about what you do, you can become frustrated and disheartened more easily than usual. When you aren't comfortable or happy in your workplace, it can be difficult to get out of bed in the morning and get excited about working. When you're nervous or intimidated, you might not want to start a project for fear of it failing or being rejected.
Emotions are natural and unavoidable, but their effects on our professional lives must be managed. In order to stay motivated and continue doing your best work, you can't--and shouldn't--stifle your feelings. Instead, when you experience them, you must find workarounds that mitigate their negative effects.
Depression: Find Work That Gets You Excited
When you're feeling depressed, whether in the clinical sense or just in a low "funk" you can't snap out of, working productively and consistently is practically impossible. Sadness is a characteristic emotion of depression, but the state runs much deeper than that fleeting emotion. When depressed, you find it difficult to enjoy anything, even the activities you used to love best. With these empty feelings, you could wake up and dread going to work, only to get there and stare at your computer screen, dreading the idea of doing anything.
Snapping out of this funk is only impossible if you allow it to be. Instead of looking at the work you should be doing and seeing it as dreadful, look at the work you could be doing and imagine what it would be like to do it. Don't limit your imagination--if you could be doing anything, what would it be? Find work that excites you and try it out. The change of pace could jumpstart you into a new rhythm. If you're having trouble finding anything that excites you, visit other departments in your company and see what they do. You might find a niche that makes you happier.
Fear: Do What You Do Best
Intimidation and fear are powerful, gripping emotions that can completely compromise our productivity. If your proposals have been rejected consistently, five times in a row, you might feel too intimidated to attempt writing another. If your boss is threatening you with disciplinary action if your performance doesn't improve, it could make the feeling that much worse.
Rather than fixating on the problem at hand or worrying about underperforming, focus on tasks and responsibilities that you know you can do really well. Work on those, even if they're small or unimportant tasks, and rebuild your confidence from the ground up. If you can knock out ten easy tasks without blinking an eye, that harder task is going to look far more manageable by comparison.
Frustration: Take Time to Experiment
After a failure or after your plans didn't turn out the way you expected, it's natural to feel frustrated. Frustration can lead us to a host of other negative emotions and bad habits, including the tendency to isolate ourselves or to give up on work entirely. Rather than try to correct a problem, many frustrated people simply give in to the idea that a problem can't be conquered.
Instead, when you feel frustrated, remember that your frustration is probably rooted along one particular path. If you experiment by trying out new paths, you may find your frustration disappear. For example, if you find yourself frustrated when one marketing strategy isn't giving you any measurable results, try experimenting with a new marketing strategy you have no experience in. Even if you aren't successful, you may find your frustration easing as a result.
Anxiety: Get Perspective
Anxiety is often related to both fear and depression, and it can seriously throttle your attention. If you spend your time worrying about the results of a particular effort, you won't spend any time improving your performance in that effort.
There are many tricks to relieve anxiety, but one of the most useful is to get perspective on the problem you're solving or the fear that's preoccupying your mind. If you're worried about failure, get statistics on similar efforts--for example, if you're trying a new advertising strategy, look up numbers about how similar campaigns have fared in the past. Try to imagine the absolute worst-case scenario--you losing your job or losing the business. That scenario is infinitely unlikely, but even if it does happen, you can still recover with relative ease as long as you apply yourself.
General Advice: Find a Support System
In all of these scenarios, and in the case of many other types of negative emotions, reaching out to others is a major key to success. Whether you talk to your supervisor, your coworkers, or a family member on break, find a support system you can rely on for help when you feel overwhelmed. Simply venting your troubles can be cathartic and relieving enough to make you feel better about going back to work. In addition, your partner will likely be able to shed some perspective on your situation and offer helpful advice you haven't considered.
There's no escaping the occasional negative emotions that can compromise your wellbeing and interfere with your work habits. But if you recognize your troubles objectively and work to find alternative strategies, there's no negative emotion that cannot be overcome.