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Why is Emotional Awareness Important at Workplace?

“Self-awareness is the first component of emotional intelligence,” and it helps people “recognize how their feelings affect them, other people, and their job performance” (Goleman, 2018, p. 1).

Paying attention to the emotions we are experiencing and how we respond to our emotions is an integral part of building our self-awareness.

In our day-to-day work life, we all go through challenging emotions, be it a project submission deadline, a tough conversation with our manager or a conflict with a team member. Trying to suppress or ignore our difficult emotions, can further intensify them and even a slightest provocation can set us off. This can also lead to increased stress levels and affect the quality of our work and overall wellbeing.

That’s where the importance of connecting with our emotion’s steps in. Acknowledging and accepting how we are feeling is the key to regulating our emotions in a helpful way.

“Name it to Tame it” as an Emotional Regulation Tool

“Name it, to tame it”, is a phrase coined by Dr Dan Siegal, Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine. A brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists reveals that verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense. "When you put feelings into words, you're activating this prefrontal region and you see a reduced response in the amygdala.”

Naming our emotions as we experience it sounds very simple, but it may not come easily to many of us especially if during our growing up years, we have been told that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness or we have been constantly asked to “put ourselves together” in spite of all odds.

How to practice this technique?

Journaling about our emotions is an effective way to start building our emotional awareness.

  • Journaling offers us a safe space to connect with our emotions and process them to find more clarity.

  • It helps to build awareness about our triggers, our thoughts, our behaviour and how it affects our relationships at work.

Here are few helpful prompts that we can use in our daily journaling practice to process difficult Emotions:

  • How am I feeling ?

Eg: Iam feeling……(use emotion words like anger, frustrated, anxious, nervous)

  • What sensations do I experience in my body?

Eg: shortness of breath, sweating, churning in the stomach.

  • Write about the trigger that caused this emotion?

Eg: “Iam feeling angry because I think my manager is wrong.’

  • How did my thoughts affect my behavior?

  • What is the learning that I can take away from this experience?

  • What I can I do differently next time?

Also sharing an Art Therapy Prompt that I use to make the journaling practice interesting and creative.

Art Therapy Prompt to enhance Emotional Awareness:

  • Draw a circle and divide it into sections.

  • Name all the emotions you are experiencing.

  • Using colors, lines, shapes, or patterns represent each emotion in different sections.

  • Write down the emotions around the circle

Journaling prompts:

On other side of the paper, write down your thoughts in response to the following prompts:

  • How was the experience to express your emotions using colors?

  • Pick one of the difficult emotions and explore further:

    • What was the trigger?

    • How did it affect my thoughts?

    • How did it affect my behavior?

    • What is the learning that I can take away from this experience?

    • What can I do differently next time?

While the process of labeling, writing or drawing about our emotions serves as a coping tool to manage difficult emotions, the insights we gain from these reflections can be used to improve our performance and relationships, both at work and personal life.



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