An awful lot of emotional energy is expended when people feel out of control at work. Emotions are processed in the brain by the amygdala, which responds powerfully when it perceives anything that looks like a threat. Functional brain imaging has shown that activation of the amygdala by negative emotions interferes with the brain’s ability to do cognitive work and solve problems. Happily, positive emotions do just the opposite and allow for creative and strategic thinking.
Research conducted by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shows that a 3-to-1 ratio of positive to negative emotions separates those who truly flourish in life from those who merely get by. Notice what sends your emotions into a downward spiral so you can counter the impulse. Automatic negative emotional patterns are just habits. Observe them and decide to let the negative feeling go. Consciously start meetings and discussions on a positive note to set yourself—and everyone else—up for a productive experience.