How Dealing with the Hassles of Work Impacts Our Well-being

May 17, 2017 Richard Justenhoven
frustration at work

Keep Venting to Ourselves for Our Own Well-being

How do you deal with your frustration at work?  Just roll with it, taking it all in your stride?  Or vent your irritation, making sure everyone knows exactly how you’re feeling?

New research by Evangelia Demeroutia and Russell Cropanzano reported in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology and discussed in the BPS Digest  suggests it’s far healthier for us to absorb our frustration rather than complaining.

The researchers asked 112 employed people across a wide range of industry to complete diaries for three consecutive days.  They were asked to record the extent to which they complained during the day, the extent of their focus on what was wrong and how much they made a ‘mountain out of molehill’. A low score across these three areas suggested that the person had demonstrated what is called ‘good sportsmanship’. They also detailed a single negative event they’d experienced during each day, and rated its severity as well as the variety of moods they experienced during the day.
The researchers found that negative events seemed to have a greater impact on those who exhibited low ‘sportsmanship’ as it seemed the ruminating and re-telling of the events seemed to cement the negativity. But when ‘sportsmanship’ was high, the frustrations of the day didn’t seem to impact mood or engagement.

So, it may be better to keep our venting to ourselves to feel a greater sense of positivity.

But what should we do when the same issue is a constant source of irritation? Should we deal with this in the same way?

Then, it seems, it’s ‘good to talk’. The researchers flag that when there is a problem which keeps coming up, articulating it can be the starting point to finding a resolution. Perhaps we can take a look at how we approach the hassles of working life and consider what this is doing to our feeling of well-being at work.

About the Author

Richard Justenhoven

Richard Justenhoven is the product development director within Aon's Assessment Solutions. A leading organizational psychologist, Richard is an acknowledged expert in the design, implementation and evaluation of online assessments and a sought after speaker about such topics.

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