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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Reinersman

Emotions: Achieving Health with Feelings

Emotions can be, well, an emotionally charged topic. Identifying, managing, engaging emotions may occur at any point in the counseling process, not to mention the experience of numerous emotions in a single session with the career professional. For some, it is easier to focus on the somatic indicators, while other professionals prefer to develop skills in empathy. Exploring the male/female approach to emotions or cultural mores, while valid, may be beyond the capabilities of this space. The emotional range of any individual is in fact more than that of teaspoon (to quote a movie) and deserves time and space to develop and digest. ~ Melanie Reinersman,

Photo by Tom Pumford from Unsplash

FOCUS ON: Emotional Intelligence

Understanding and managing emotions is a sign of well-being and leveraging these skills at work can impact the work environment. It is important to promote self-awareness and practice being emotionally supportive and empathetic. Promoting work-life balance, developing resilience, and modeling active listening are goals of the emotional intelligent leader. A positive work environment aids the productivity and happiness of workers. Read more about leveraging emotional intelligence at work.

FOR PRACTITIONERS: Emotional Regulation

The ability to enhance or reduce emotions as needed is a skill that aids health and daily function. The main indicator of emotional regulation is goal activation, such as when a worker feels depressed over financial difficulties but acts like they are not upset by keeping their mind focused on completing a work project. Influencing emotions by addressing or changing a part of the process (e.g., responding with deep breathing instead of angry words) is possible by taking care of oneself, being present in the moment, and accepting that emotions are not good or bad. Read more about achieving stability through emotional regulation.

FOR PRACTITIONERS: Genuine Empathetic Connection

Qualities of empathy include perspective taking, avoiding judgment, recognizing emotion in others followed by communicating. Letting others know they are not alone is showing empathy. It requires that we choose to feel an emotional connecting with the other person. Listen to more about empathy in Brené Brown’s video.


Coping with anxiety symptoms while at work is a common challenge, particularly for those who have past trauma, struggle with mental health issues or are facing a career transition. Career practitioners first need to help the client identify and manage anxiety triggers, says Megan Myers, LCMHC-A, a mental health counselor and career coach in North Carolina. Next, clients need to pay attention to how the emotions are felt in the body (e.g., tense shoulders, tapping hands). Megan says to reduce emotional unrest the practitioner can share “grounding tactics”, such as running cold water on the wrists, focus on relaxing the muscles, or taking a walk up and down stairs. Validating anxious feelings and creating distractions from anxious thoughts (e.g., listening to music) can also help reduce anxiety at work. Read more.

YOUR LIBRARY: Examining Emotions with the Help of Books

The most common emotions experienced at work are the most difficult to share. This review of books related to emotions in the workplace may help address how to manage what is often labelled as “inappropriate.” Building a stronger workplace, motivating the team, and providing thoughtful support to colleagues may be achieved if the career professional shares some of these book titles with clients. Read the recommendations.

TOP TEN: Questions to Ask When Using the Emotions Wheel

Improving emotional awareness is a process. Using the Emotions Wheel, asking about primary and secondary emotions may be a good place to start. Also asking about what actions might create more appealing outcomes and which emotions are easier to share will increase awareness. Read all 10 from Dr. Ken McGill.


“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.” ~ Dale Carnegie
“When our emotional health is in a bad state, so is our level of self-esteem. We have to slow down and deal with what is troubling us, so that we can enjoy the simple joy of being happy and at peace with ourselves.” ~ Jess C. Scott


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