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Study Says It's Not Good To Fake Your Emotions At Work

Don't fake it ‘til you make it.

Have you ever held back your tears at work? Maybe you've cried at lease once or twice in the office bathroom? Since the ~*real world*~ is a tough place to be in, it’s more than likely that this has happened before. But did you know that it’s better for you to express your frustrations rather than hide them? 

According to research done by Allison Gabriel and her colleagues from the University of Arizona, faking positive attitudes in the workplace can take a toll on your mental health. 

The researchers found that employees tend to mask their real emotions so they could look better in front of their supervisors. While at first glance this may seem normal, it can backfire in the long run since this will increase your levels of emotional exhaustion and you might start to feel inauthentic at work. 

Emotional labor, or how we express ourselves at work, can be divided into two different components: surface acting—when you fake what you’re truly feeling inside; and deep acting—when you change your feelings to align with how your co-workers feel, thus acting with more genuine and natural displays of emotion. 

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It is found that deep actors, or the people who actually try to be positive with their colleagues, “build significantly higher levels of trust and get more support from co-workers.” In return, these people progressed faster toward their work goals because they received help and advice from their office friends. On the other hand, surface actors (aka the ones who live by the "fake it 'til you make it" mantra) are undermining their odds of success and are “self-imposing much higher levels of psychological strain.”

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This is not to say that "fake it 'til you make it" will make work life hell for you—it can still be used as some sort of survival tactic, like when you’re simply not in the mood and would like to just get through the day. But this may eventually take a toll on your mental health, as well as undermine the relationships you have at work. 

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So, the next time you feel stressed and frustrated at work, just message your office BFF. For sure, she’ll find the time to comfort and help you. 

Source: Psychology Today

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