Being empathetic doesn’t just mean being sensitive – it also means feeling other people’s feelings as if they were your own. While empathy has some clear advantages (such as being good at providing emotional support), there are also some clear drawbacks (such as often feeling emotionally drained).
Dealing with tense situations at work can be especially challenging if you are empathetic. Whether you need to attend a meeting with colleagues who don’t get along or deal with annoying emails. Here are 7 things you can do to successfully get through awkward situations. Acknowledge your feelings
Acknowledge what you feel and give it a name. Naming emotions — thinking out loud or saying “I’m feeling nervous” or “I’m feeling frustrated” — can help your brain better understand the tension you’re experiencing.
When you feel tension, you will experience stronger emotions. However, you shouldn’t fight those feelings – telling yourself that you shouldn’t feel stressed or overwhelmed will only make you feel worse.
2. Take a few deep breaths
Your body responds to tension: Your stomach may feel like it’s knotted and your palms may get sweaty. That’s your nervous system preparing for what’s about to happen.
But unless you’re really in danger, it’s important to learn how to calm your nervous system. One of the best ways to do that is to take a few slow, deep breaths.
Taking slow, deep breaths can signal your brain that you are calming your body. And it can reduce the influx of stress hormones and help you feel calmer.
3. Think Before You Respond
Whether your first reaction is to try to smooth things over or break off the conversation, think before you act. Your first reaction may not be the best approach.
When your emotions run high, it’s hard to think clearly. So you better take some psychological distance. Ask yourself, “What would my wisest friend do in a situation like this?” If you answer that question, you can develop a response based on rational thinking rather than seeking to relieve your emotional discomfort.
4. Use a mantra
Create a short catchphrase that you can repeat to yourself when tension arises. Simple sayings like “I can handle this” or “tension is okay” can drown out any negative thoughts.
You can also create a mantra that reminds you to focus on your behavior.Practice accepting tension
Just because a situation feels uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s unbearable. In fact, you can probably endure the discomfort longer than you think. Don’t think you can solve everything. Instead, try to look at how you’re feeling and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Keep in mind that tension doesn’t have to be bad. It can lead to positive change, if you accept it.
6. Focus on what you can influence yourself
You can’t control how other people behave, but you can influence how you respond to them. So instead of wasting your energy worrying about what someone is saying or might do, focus on yourself.
Pay attention to what you are doing at that moment. You will feel less anxious if you focus on the things you have control over.
7. Take care of yourself
Empathy can be exhausting, so it’s important to take good care of yourself. This is especially important if there is an ongoing tense situation at work, such as when your colleagues are not happy with the new team leader. Taking care of yourself can mean anything from taking a yoga class to setting aside an hour to read a book every night. Whatever you do, make it a priority so you can recharge your batteries and feel more energized at work.