The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus said something to the effect of, “It is not things that trouble us, but our interpretations of them”. Stuff happens at work all the time and sometimes it is objectively bad stuff that happens. We all know that some people stay calm and keep moving forward and others run down the hall like their hair is on fire.
There is an idea in studies about emotions at work called “surface emotions vs deep emotions”. The basic difference is if you are boiling inside and want to kill someone but you put a smile on your face that is called “surface emotions”. On the other hand, if you really change the way you feel to line up with what your company wants it is called “deep emotion”. Obviously, it is healthier for you (and better for your boss) if you have deep emotions. Acting all day at work is just exhausting!
Dr. Ute R. Hülsheger and her colleagues did a study with 100 participants from service industries, almost all were in education or health fields. Half were in the control group and half did a short mindfulness exercise or meditation in the morning and evening for 2 weeks. The participants averaged 3 minutes morning and evening. The exercises included a Loving-Kindness meditation and breathing exercise.
As you can expect, those people who meditated had less surface acting which correlated with less emotional exhaustion and greater job satisfaction. In just 6 or 7 minutes each day!
The bottom line of the study as with so many other studies is that when you are more mindful you are more satisfied with work and with life. And one way to become more mindful is to mindfulness exercises and meditation.
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Photo is from Jud Mackrill in the public domain and was downloaded from https://unsplash.com/photos/Of_m3hMsoAA
The article discussed in this newsletter is: Hülsheger, U. R., Alberts, H. J. E. M., Feinholdt, A., & Lang, J. W. B. (2013). Benefits of mindfulness at work: The role of mindfulness in emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), 310–325. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031313