“Most of us move along the spectrum between our best and our worst all day long, depending on what’s going on around us.
The most prevalent unexpressed emotions in the workplace revolve around suffering. It’s not that suffering is a modern phenomenon or that it’s the only thing we feel at work. What seems to have changed is the pervasive impact of increased demand in our lives, leading to anxiety, uncertainty and a sense of feeling overwhelmed.
So what’s the value of getting people to express what they’re actually feeling, rather than keeping things relentlessly light and bland? The answer is that naming our emotions tends to diffuse their charge and lessen the burden they create. The psychologist Dan Siegel refers to this practice as “name it to tame it.”
It’s also true that we can’t change what we don’t notice. Denying or avoiding feelings doesn’t make them go away, nor does it lessen their impact on us, even if it’s unconscious. Noticing and naming emotions gives us the chance to take a step back and make choices about what to do with them.
Emotions are just a form of energy, forever seeking expression. Paradoxically, sharing what we’re feeling in simple terms helps us to better contain and manage even the most difficult emotions. By naming them out loud, we are effectively taking responsibility for them, making it less likely that they will spill out at the expense of others over the course of a day. “