Managing emotions at work

Planning for them

When you know that you may become emotional, plan in advance how you will manage tears, frustration or anger in a way that preserves your dignity and well-being.

Writing it down

When you write down your fears, hurts or concerns, they often lose their power over you. Writing it down can put things in perspective so that you can find a way forward.

Talking about it

Find a trusted person or professional to share what you are feeling. Talking about things is often the first step to taking back control of your thoughts, emotions or feelings.

Paying attention to what works

When you have successfully dealt with a stressful situation or emotion, record what you did both as a reward for your success and to refer to when you are not sure what to do. Acknowledge when you take a step in the right direction.

Finding a friend

Having someone at work who understands what you are going through can be an important source of support. If this is not possible, find a friend outside of work whom you can call when you need support.

Taking a break

Use your breaks to go for a walk, find a quiet place to sit or otherwise relax and refocus. Do not work through breaks and lunch when you are stressed.


When we are stressed or anxious our breathing tends to become more shallow. This sends a message to the brain that there is a risk of dying from lack of oxygen, which in turn creates a stress response. Breathing deeply and slowly goes a long way to help your body to return to a less stressful state.

Strategies for managing difficult thoughts, emotions and behaviours at work

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The contents of these resources are offered for information purposes only. Every situation is different and you should consider your own circumstances before making decisions about employment and treatment options. These resources are not intended to offer legal, medical or other professional advice and should not be relied on as such.

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Funded through The Great-West Life Assurance Company's national corporate citizenship program in support of the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace.