Managing Emotional Response

Services for Real Estate Pros with Nurturing Your Success

OverwhelmedFeelings of stress occur as an internal reaction to external events. In other words, it's not what's happening around you that stresses you but rather your thoughts about what's happening around you.

When you learn to observe your thoughts, remain in control, and assess the emotion experienced, you empower yourself to choose a behavioral response that is most appropriate for you.

Feelings themselves can become overwhelming when you allow them to overtake you. It's as if they take charge and you are no longer in charge of yourself. And that's because the emotion does take charge; if you let it.

The conscious mind cannot think and feel at the same time. This has huge implications. When you experience an emotion - stress, anxiety, anger, fear, disappointment, frustration, sadness, even excitement or happiness - the part of the brain at work is called the limbic system. You are not able to think clearly because this part of the brain does not lend itself to problem solving or thinking; its focus is on survival. Without engaging other parts of your brain, you react in ways that do not show the better side of you. :)

When you experience an emotion, breathe. Remain in control. Use the emotion as a message. What is it trying to communicate to you? Be curious and ask yourself a question. You will engage the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain involved in decision making and social behaviors.

Use 'wonder' to guide you. Wonder about the other person and what they might be thinking or why they would do/say that. Use your empathy to step into their world and ask a question to learn more from them. Wonder about yourself and your expectations. Is there something you need to accept or let go of? Is there a boundary issue here that needs to be extended?

Once you've asked the question, then you can think clearly to choose the most appropriate actions for the impact you want to create. You increase stress and feelings of overwhelm and powerlessness when you focus your efforts on trying to fix things where you have no control. While you may not be able to control the things going on around you, you can control YOU.

Your power lies in your ability to self-manage - to manage your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions. Focusing your attention on what you can control increases feelings of personal strength and confidence.

Your partner for success,

Coach Julie ~ Nurturing Your Success

Comments (49)

John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & RE Developer

Well thanks Coach.

Sep 14, 2009 02:47 AM
Therese VanderMeer
Midwest Properties of MI - Grand Rapids - Jenison, MI
Realtor-Greater Grand Rapids, MI area communities

Hi Julie,   Great Post!

I also enjoyed what Linda has written above. I may not be able to control my thoughts however I can make a conscious effort to live in the moment and understand that the only things that can cause me stress or fear are the things that I allow to do so.  Thanks for sharing!

Sep 14, 2009 02:49 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Finding a balance in dealing with our emotions is important.  I have a lot of anxiety over my escrows and I am learning to do everything I can, but then not worry too much about. 

Sep 14, 2009 02:50 AM
Robyne Roveccio
Realty One Group - Scottsdale, AZ

Great Post! Eckhart Tolle is one of my favorite authors who teaches exactly what you are saying.

When we learn to separate our emotional self from our concious self, we see the world with more clarity and focus. We are not our thoughts.

Very powerful stuff! You're a woman after my own heart! Thanks so much.

Sep 14, 2009 02:50 AM
Jane Penttinen
V.I.P. Mortgage - Tucson, AZ
NMLS #222178

Thanks for a great post, Julie.  When I find things getting a little stressful in the office, I walk around singing "It's a Wonderful Day In The Neighborhood".  It usually gets a few laughs and lightens things up.  We can't control what happens - only how we react to it.

Sep 14, 2009 02:59 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Julie:  I think there are so many different types of personalities that exist in this world.  Some of them can handle their emotions quite well.  Some of them deal with very little emotion... in whatever they do.  It's just "who they are."  And then there are some whose internal makeup and response to things... are clearly laden with emotions. 

There are some things that they can do to bring their responses more in control... but there are also some automatic responses that are much more difficult to control... if at all.  I know it may sound fatalistic, but stress can have some pretty major consequences.

Sep 14, 2009 03:31 AM
Jayne Vaughan
Re/Max Home Team - Clarks Summit, PA


I should put your post in a .pdf file and send to my fellow agents that need it.  You can only imagine the number of times I have had to listen to another agent rant at me because their seller dumped on them.  I do my best to remain calm and ask them very nicely to call me later when they have had a chance to chill out.

When I feel like I am over the top about someone or a circumstance, I call my sister (my partner in real estate) and blow to her.  She always has a way of helping me put things back in perspective.

Good post.

Sep 14, 2009 05:59 AM
Linda Schneider
Fast Newsletters - San Diego, CA
Fast Newsletters for Real Estate Agents

Breathe. Remember to breathe. Thanks.

Sep 14, 2009 06:01 AM
Julie Donley
Nurturing Your Success - Blue Bell, PA

Thank you all for your amazing comments! Managing emotions IS tough - we have to manage our own and deal with other people's emotions as well. Emotions are what causes stress and overwhelm as well as the ability to experience joy - and everything in between.

AND emotions can eat away at us - literally. Emotions and mood patterns have been linked to disease processes. In other words, when we don't manage our moods/emotions, they can manifest as dis-ease.

Look for additional posts about emotions - and if you'd like to discuss something personally OR would like me to address a topic in a future post, please contact me directly. I'd love to hear from you.

Enjoy today -

Sep 14, 2009 07:23 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I've spent the last several years studying various ways to take control and stay calm. I've gotten pretty good at keeping my cool in most situations - enough so that a few people have asked me how I do it.

One of my favorite methods is "Sigh and look up." When I start to feel upset over something and just can't let it go I take a deep breath, let out a big sigh, and look to the sky, while envisioning all the negative energy flowing out and dissolving. It works even if I've gotten so upset that I think it won't work.

This is a great post - I look forward to reading more from you!

marte at

Marte Cliff, Copywriter

Sep 14, 2009 07:38 AM
Sharon Senger
tcDocs - Seattle, WA
Licensed Transaction Coordinator


If I find myself thinking negative thoughts I immediately start to think about something that I love and that makes me smile.  You cannot have two thoughts in your head at once but the trick is recognizing the negative thought before it takes over.

Great post and congratulations on the feature

Sep 14, 2009 09:07 AM
Stephanie Reynolds
Integrity First Financial Group, Inc. - Santee, CA
East County San Diego Homes 619-838-4408

Fantastic post. It has taken me YEARS to learn how to keep my emotions in check! I know that I MUST think before I speak, keep my voice at a calm level and, as you said, ask why I am in a certain situation or what has caused me to feel the way I am feeling. Often times I realize it is NOT my issue, it is someone else who is having a bad life experience.  I realize if I can project positive energy, I usually am able to get it back. I always try to say something thoughtful in a heated situation; it helps relieve the tension and usually the other person has a chance to realize we would be heading down the wrong road.

I know maturity has helped me in this process, but it has also been a lot of soul searching AND KEEPING MY BIG MOUTH SHUT! My mommy always told me, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!

Sep 14, 2009 11:41 AM
Sara Goss GMAC Real Estate - League City, TX
Realtor - Houston Bay Area, Texas

I have learned that I can choose to be happy, and also it is my choice how I respond to what others say or how they treat me. When someone is angry, abusive, etc. . . I "wonder" what has happened to them, that day or in their life. Some people know how to push my buttons, they keep trying, but don't they have anything better or more constructive to do?

Sep 14, 2009 12:29 PM
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Julie...This is one of those things we all know (or should) but are not always able to put into action.  And then there are times a little passion is in order.


Sep 14, 2009 01:36 PM
Mark Velasco
Sharpstone Commercial - Whittier, CA
Top Producing COMMERCIAL Team 30+ years experience

Interesting reminder Julie. It is often easier said than done though.

Sep 14, 2009 05:04 PM
Mike Warfel
Mike & Rita Warfel Real Estate LLC - Avoca, MI
Associate Broker

Thank you for the reminder of how involved we are in the emotions of home selling, that is one of the biggest triggers to picking that house is an emotional response which can be very easy to be swept up with. All of us real estate agents should become more aware of this.


Sep 14, 2009 11:55 PM
Debby Dutilh
Art and Soul Home Staging - Los Angeles International Ai, CA

Great post Julie. I've learned that having boundaries, making sure they are respected and showing empathy are the foundation of solid relationships. Often easier said than done, but we can only do our best.

Sep 15, 2009 01:28 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate Agent Retired

I'm with Erica above.  In fact I'm surprised at the 'emotional' reactions to your emotions post!  LOL, wow, some people are truly catty.  Keep your claws in check!  TLW had a good response and at least offered her insite on the subject.

Sep 16, 2009 03:39 AM
Julie Donley
Nurturing Your Success - Blue Bell, PA

This has been such a wonderful and interesting discussion feed! Emotions ARE challenging to manage in the moment. But there are skills that you can learn and practice - much like building a muscle. Emotions are messages providing you with information. Becoming more aware of them in the moment is the first step.

Thank you all for your comments. It's a pleasure to hear from you.

Sep 16, 2009 08:43 AM
Joan Snodgrass
Midamerica Referral Network - Kimberling City, MO

This was a great reminder for me - I can only keep one thought at a time in my mind.  Personally, I try to remind myself of a scripture phrase daily: This is the day that the Lord has made.  I shall rejoice and be glad in it.

Oct 10, 2009 03:05 AM