Positive emotions can often help achieve something worthwhile and are welcome and encouraged at home, at work or at an academic institute. When emotions fail to bring in a positive outcome or effect the impartiality and quality of decision making adversely, they should be kept in check or restricted to prevent any negative effects on decision-making. The negative impact of emotions may be manifested by frustration, worry, anger, fear and disappointment. Negative emotions need to be identified, understood and avoided. There are some simple ways to ensure that emotions are kept under check in order to prevent the quality of decision making being impaired.
- Stop and evaluate the situation: Look at the situation you face when you feel negative emotions (frustration, worry, anger, fear and disappointment) emerging. Try and find a solution or something positive to focus on and attempt to put the negative things in perspective. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. There is no such situation as a situation impasse. There is always a way that leads us out of the labyrinth. The pathway leading towards the solution maybe thorny but it is there. The solution lies within the situation you face and requires you to analyze the situation carefully. Unfortunately, on some occasions the situation may seem to be such that the solution appears to be impossible and unattainable. A closer and patient investigation may reveal that (a) solution(s) may exist.
The approach should be to first stop and calmly evaluate the situation in question. The most preferential approach would be to break down the problem in to distinct segments and then study the situation from a sequential and micro perspective, which will provide a vantage position in order to evaluate the position thoroughly. Rushing towards the solution is the least effective approach; therefore, in a nutshell a systematical evaluation.
- Try and remember the last time you felt negative emotions: Past experiences are the best source to learn from because you have the benefit of hindsight. Try and recall your previous experiences when you were frustrated/worried/angry/disliked something or someone/or were disappointed and carefully recall how you overcame the issue(s) in the past or try and remember what happened if you could not reach a solution. The power of past recall provides the foundation upon which to overcome all negative emotions. It provides the person with confidence and a reference to counter all such negative emotions. Learning from past experiences is a natural remedy to all negative feelings because the mind recalls as to how it tackled with any problematic situation. This is a very holistic approach and ensures that all the angels are covered and that there are no loop holes.
- Mentally and physically remove yourself from the situation: When the situation becomes too intense it is always a wise to physically and mentally remove yourself from the situation on a temporary basis. This by no means indicates that you have quit the situation. The approach is aimed to provide relaxation to the mind so that when the situation is revisited a fresh mind is able to deal with the situation. A fresh perspective is needed to deal with the situation. However, it is quintessential that when you remove yourself from the situation you are honest with yourself and you relax and recharge your energy. It is important to remember that one must not remove his/her self from the situation for too long – the right balance must be struck.
- Look at possible solutions rather than problems: A pessimistic frame of mind will always lookout for problems associated with a decision and its implications. This often leads to prejudging the situation which may impair the quest for possible solutions as the focus is on identifying the problematic symptoms rather than looking out for solutions. This faulty approach tends to consume a lot of time and resources, which in turn compromises the situation. It has been observed that a solution led approach is forward looking. It equips the decision maker with greater possibilities to pursue a solution led approach. It is essential that the decision and solution are separated and that the correct solution corresponds to the right decision and there is no mismatch; only then functional solutions may be generated. The effectiveness in finding possible solutions is more likely under a calm and serene environment.
- Record your feelings and outcomes during important decision-making processes: Learning from the outcomes of the previous decisions undertaken is a good practice approach as you are positioned at a vantage point in that one has the benefit of hindsight. The benefit of hindsight is most effectively used if outcomes and solutions of past decisions are documented thus enabling a comprehensive analysis. Therefore, it is very important that appropriate documentation is ensured for every decision made and its corresponding outcome. Thus, the method of documentation has to be very reliable and effective in order to ensure that past mistakes are not repeated and positive learning is carried forward. A meticulous and methodical approach concerning documentation needs to be implemented both in letter and spirit to make the most of hindsight.
- Finally keep smiling and you will automatically start feeling better! Keeping a positive outlook even when the going gets tough and you go through a host of negative feelings will go a long with you and your colleagues and team. If you keep a smile on your face it is likely that you will start feeling better. Looking at the sunny side of life is always a good start and also helps you look at the positive side of things.
Hopefully this article provides us with some insight into how to avoid bringing in negative emotions to day to day decision making. Most of the suggestions here are based on good old common sense and can be applied almost anywhere – at home, at work or while studying at a college or university.