Promoting Workplace Wellness Through Emotional Regulation at Work
We know that our emotions are fluid in nature. Based on different circumstances, the mood changes from time to time. Our interpretation of these feelings determines how we express ourselves. We can create a more harmonious experience for ourselves and those around us when we can control our emotions.
Emotional regulation and emotional intelligence are essential to resolving conflicts and building healthy relationships. The emotional state of a leader has an influence on the perception and behavior of employees. This makes understanding emotional regulation crucial for corporate wellness.
For any good manager, the ability to coordinate harmonious emotions in the workplace is a must. Let us understand what emotional regulation is and how developing an idea about it can enhance our uniform pursuit of achieving greater wellness in the workplace.
What is Emotional Regulation?
Emotional regulation is a process by which individuals try to understand the influence of different emotions. The aim is to recognize how these emotions shape their experiences, feelings, and responses. Once an individual understands his emotional reaction, he will modify his responses and behaviors to achieve desirable conduct. Without understanding their emotions, people will have confusion about the different challenges they may encounter in their professional and personal endeavors.
Emotion regulation provides the ability to exert control over one’s emotional state. In some cases, this may involve rethinking a challenging situation to reduce anger or anxiety, hiding feelings of sadness or fear, or finding reasons to feel calm or happy.
The main components of emotional regulation involve:
- Actions triggered by the surrounding environment or a situation.
- Emotional reactions as comprehended by the brain.
- Unique behavioral responses according to the perceived emotions.
Why Emotional Regulation is Important?
Like a compass, emotions guide us in the right direction to take the right action. In contrast to small children, adults are expected to manage their emotions, especially anxiety and anger, in a socially acceptable way. When work stress, burnout, and disharmony at work make it difficult for adults to balance their emotional responses, they tend to take unreliable and inconsistent actions. That is not just dangerous for the individual's health but also unhealthy for the successful conduct of business.
When control over their emotions is absent, people often do things they later regret. They end up wishing that it would have been better off keeping their emotions in check. Over time, this nature can harm their social relationships leaving them frustrated and resentful.
The key to developing an emotional regulating skill is by recognizing your feelings and their impact. The impact of those feelings on the individual's immediate environment, which could be either their home or workplace, could tell how much control they have over their emotions.
How to Develop Emotional Regulation?
Emotional regulation assists us in filtering the most important information and in applying it in a way that does not provoke stress or fear.
The correlation between emotion regulation and depression management is significant according to various studies. Socio-emotional intelligence and control of emotions are higher in people with lower levels of anxiety.
Let us look at some of the ways Emotional Regulation can be developed-
1. Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises help in modulating emotions. they work well for any stress, anxiety, or emotional concerns. By taking deep breaths with our eyes closed, we can feel the connection between mind and body and realize that stress and negativity are fading away with continuous deep breathing.
To perform the basic breathing exercises, sit calmly for a few seconds and slowly start counting as you inhale the air. You can inhale till the count of 5, hold for few seconds and then exhale. This exercise aims to focus on our breathing and helps to create calmness and relaxes the mind.
Suggested Read: Breathwork: Enhance Your Employee Wellness Goals This 2022
2. Emotional Catharsis
The biggest problem with emotional dysregulation is the inability to let go of emotions. In spite of realizing the inappropriateness of irrational thoughts, people find it difficult to remove them from their minds. To prevent that, we often seek mental balance through emotional catharsis, which is a form of venting suppressed emotions.
The practice is simple and involves five basic steps:
- Observe emotions as they are, and don't try to change them in the first instance.
- Evaluate the experience and feelings that come with a particular emotion.
- Acknowledge the fact that we are not our emotions. If we feel sad, it does not necessarily mean that we are depressed. Emotions are just a state of mind and they stay temporarily.
- Express the emotions aloud, without any fear of getting judged. You may try to write them in a journal to keep a tab of the changing emotional experiences.
- Talk about them freely with a friend, family, or therapist, without being afraid of judgment.
The Mayer-Salovey Model of Emotional Intelligence
Regulating emotions is possible only when you are aware and that comes from becoming emotionally intelligent. Mayer and Salovey, the famous psychologists proposed a four-branched model of emotional intelligence to identify its effectiveness in the behavioral patterns of an individual. They are-
1. Perception of Emotions
Human beings are able to recognize nonverbal signals and facial expressions such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear, among others. In order to fully understand emotions, it is crucial to be able to accurately perceive the emotions of others.
2. Facilitating Thoughts Through Emotions
Emotions have the ability to direct the cognitive system and lead the mind to truly important matters. Emotions are also very important for certain kinds of creativity to emerge. The aim is to shape your thoughts accordingly to give productive responses.
3. Understanding Emotions
Emotions convey their messages in various patterns. The more an individual understands the patterns of their emotions, the more they will be able to channel the emotions positively for their benefit.
4. Effective Management of Emotions
Emotions often can be managed. An individual must remain open to emotional signals as long as they are not too overwhelming to handle. By regulating and managing emotions within the person's emotional comfort zone, it becomes possible to promote professional and social goals.
It is possible to evolve from one branch of emotional intelligence to another and become a highly emotionally intelligent person. It will not just help them in regulating their emotions but also assist them to improve themselves and others around them.
Emotional Regulation at Work
It is important to understand that emotions play a vital role in the workplace. It helps you embrace them so you can grow both personally and professionally. The emotional aspect of management is especially important, afterall emotions are contagious. When you're not feeling your best and allow your emotions to run wild, it might affect your workplace relationships and disrupt business operations.
After experiencing an emotion, people who are able to regulate emotions at work can change how they feel about it. It contributes to the development of positive emotions, better relationships, and a better quality of life.
At work, people strive to regulate their emotions so that they can experience more pleasure, manage interpersonal interactions, and process information more efficiently.
Suggested Read: How To Control And Manage Emotions In The Workplace
Emotion Regulating Skills
Your attitudes and habits can have a significant impact on your personal and professional success. In order to achieve your goals and take control of your actions and reactions, consider developing skills for regulating your emotions. It can aid in the development of your resilience when unpleasant situations occur that are challenging.
Some of the examples of Emotion Regulating skills are-
In order to be self-aware, you must be able to recognize your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Self-awareness comes with self-control, which allows you to stay calm and rational in most situations and exercise discipline when appropriate. It also helps working professionals achieve greater success. Employees with strong self-awareness tend to have the ability to understand and respond to dynamic workplace situations efficiently.
You must make a conscious decision to keep moving forward regardless of internal or external struggles. People who have this skill are always aligned with their values and goals and give 100 percent of themselves.
In the workplace, persistence helps a person remain focused on actions within their control while letting go of uncontrollable.
Adapting your responses and emotions according to different situations means you can cope with a change.
For a working professional, this skill can help to make one more flexible regarding different views and opinions. It provides multiple perspectives which help to avoid uniformity of thoughts.
You can calm yourself when you feel stressed, anxious, or down by training your mind and emotions. The ability to continually seek out positives helps people stay focused and motivated while improving their actions and behaviors.
In a demanding environment like a workplace, employees must inculcate optimism in their thoughts. This optimism not just fuels them to give their best for the company, but also challenges them to become a better version of themselves.
Suggested Read: 21 Positive Thinking Ideas For A Workplace To Encourage
Therapies For Development of Emotional Regulation
Sometimes it is difficult to take control of your own emotional responses. For such situations, psychology has developed various therapies which can assist in imbibing the emotion regulating traits.
Emotion Regulation Therapy (ERT)
Emotion Regulation Therapy is a person-centered approach to dealing with effective regulation. It uses parts of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness to achieve the following goals:
- Supporting individuals in identifying, acknowledging, and describing their emotions.
- Allowing unconditional self-acceptance that ultimately results in emotional regulation.
- Avoiding negative feelings and choosing actions that boost their well-being.
- Learning how to think critically, make better decisions, and solve problems.
ERT interventions have proven to help people with their chances of recovery from disorders such as PTSD, and severe depression as well.
Cognitive Therapy (CT)
Cognitive Therapies are another form of medical intervention used for emotional regulation. It includes:
1. Cognitive Distraction
It is an antecedent-focused strategy involving a careful shift of attention from the negative emotion to something pleasant. It is a practical approach where clients are made to focus on positive stimuli when they feel low. Gradually, the individuals get conditioned to shift their attention when they catch themselves engaging in toxic emotions.
2. Cognitive Reappraisal
As discussed before, cognitive reappraisal is an intervention whose goal is to help us acknowledge the negative emotions at first and then slowly replace them with positive emotions.
3. Cognitive Labeling
The process of labeling is a neurolinguistic way of identifying emotions. Studies have shown that when we can recognize our feelings and have a complete awareness of the emotional boundaries, there is decreased activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain that regulates emotions.
Our reactions to emotions are determined by how we interpret them. Emotional regulation does not imply that we will always be joyful, nor does it imply that we will always be free of sorrow. It teaches us the ability to accept and control our emotions through emotional management.
Emotional control is all about pushing forward and not allowing little setbacks to deter us from achieving our objectives. It is linked to ideals, self-compassion, gratitude, and rational thinking, which explains why emotion control gives inner calm. "Feelings are visitors; we should let them come and go," as the proverb goes.
If you're stressed, try halting, soothing, or calming yourself down. Remove yourself from the situation if required, even if temporarily. Remember that Emotional regulation is as much a kind of self-care as it is a form of care for others.
Vantage Fit - A complete AI-Powered Solution for seamless implementation of your Corporate Wellness Program to nurture a healthy and engaged workforce