Three Ways To Promote Psychological Comfort In The Workplace

Post written by

J. Ibeh Agbanyim

J. Ibeh Agbanyim, Organizational Psychology Practitioner, Public Speaker, President/Founder at Focused Vision Consulting, LLC

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First impressions matter. How we feel the minute we wake up can determine how the rest of our day will go. If we wake up and feel like we had a rough night’s rest, and we dwell on that while preparing for work or whatever we have going on that day, it can alter our perspective for the entire day. When we’re headed to work, how we feel about morning rush hour traffic can either add to our already frustrating morning or deescalate the situation. At the security post before entering the work building, how we interact with the security person might very well be influenced by our other experiences that morning. Once we've finally arrived at our workspace, how we interact with the first person we meet at the elevator may influence how we interact with the very next person we meet.

In my experience, we often carry with us the resentments, pressures and various inputs we experience, and such inputs have a way of leaking into our environment in the form of our interactions with one another. When we're carrying all of these inputs, how can we create psychological comfort within the space we occupy? I define psychological comfort as a state of calmness, absent anxiety, at a particular moment. I've noticed that when I’m calm and unthreatened by my environment, I tend to be attentive and present. Interestingly, the fact that I’m calm seems to reassure people around me as well. This exchange of shared humanity is important in the workplace because unsettled managers can exhibit negative vibes to their employees. As a business psychology practitioner, I've observed clients’ unsettling postures and the impact this can have on their employees.

Here are three practical ways to promote psychological comfort in the workplace.

1. Embrace Emotional Integrity

We can't create psychological comfort until we embrace emotional integrity. Acknowledging our feelings is an important act that permeates every aspect of our lives — including our work relationships. Being totally honest with ourselves about our feelings begins when we wake up in the morning. If you wake up in the morning and feel down, recognize that this is a natural phenomenon. To dismiss the feeling is to potentially disregard your entire day. Conversely, to acknowledge the feeling is to trace its origin. Once we trace the source of a feeling, we can then seek ways to reconcile with the experience, sometimes through metacognition (thinking about our own thoughts), spiritual enlightenment, workouts or meditation. No matter what we do, ignoring our initial feelings when we wake up in the morning could be our first mistake of the day.

As a person in a position of authority, acknowledging how you feel without dismissing those feelings may effectively promote psychological comfort among your team members. For example, having a challenging moment with your partner or child before coming to work may cause you to be a bit distracted during the workday. In this case, let your direct contacts at work know that you may not be at your best (without sharing all of your personal issues with them). By simply owning your experience and sharing it with your team members, you can make them feel more comfortable in the workplace.

2. Envision How You Want Your Day To Go

In the theater of our minds, we can envision the kind of day we'd like to experience. Imagine that you have a choice to play your favorite song in the morning. What would it be, and could you leave it on autoplay? Remembering how that song makes you feel throughout the day can release positive energy and activate desired internal responses throughout the day. With that song playing while driving in rush hour traffic in the morning, you can tune out negative energy and other distractions, focusing instead on the content of the song. When you arrive at work with your favorite song still playing, it can fill you with excitement and joy, which can radiate through your smile and other pleasantries. With such an attitude, it would be difficult not to put others in your work environment at ease.

3. Challenge Your Emotional Rigidity

Sometimes we work so hard to be perfect that we end up making everyone around us uncomfortable and uneasy. Since there’s no such thing as a perfect person, strive instead to be great. In my experience, greatness requires a diversity of ideas, as well as openness to trying new ideas. An emotionally rigid person may find it difficult to entertain new information. If an authority figure is emotionally rigid, this can, in turn, produce an emotionally rigid workforce, which may sap psychological comfort. In order to challenge emotional rigidity, be willing to acknowledge your mistakes and be humble enough to welcome new ways of problem-solving.

Psychological comfort is all about being at peace with ourselves. When we challenge our emotional rigidity, envision how we want our days to go and embrace emotional integrity, we can then begin to create psychological comfort in our workspace.

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
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First impressions matter. How we feel the minute we wake up can determine how the rest of our day will go. If we wake up and feel like we had a rough night’s rest, and we dwell on that while preparing for work or whatever we have going on that day, it can alter our perspective for the entire day. When we’re headed to work, how we feel about morning rush hour traffic can either add to our already frustrating morning or deescalate the situation. At the security post before entering the work building, how we interact with the security person might very well be influenced by our other experiences that morning. Once we've finally arrived at our workspace, how we interact with the first person we meet at the elevator may influence how we interact with the very next person we meet.

In my experience, we often carry with us the resentments, pressures and various inputs we experience, and such inputs have a way of leaking into our environment in the form of our interactions with one another. When we're carrying all of these inputs, how can we create psychological comfort within the space we occupy? I define psychological comfort as a state of calmness, absent anxiety, at a particular moment. I've noticed that when I’m calm and unthreatened by my environment, I tend to be attentive and present. Interestingly, the fact that I’m calm seems to reassure people around me as well. This exchange of shared humanity is important in the workplace because unsettled managers can exhibit negative vibes to their employees. As a business psychology practitioner, I've observed clients’ unsettling postures and the impact this can have on their employees.

Here are three practical ways to promote psychological comfort in the workplace.

1. Embrace Emotional Integrity

We can't create psychological comfort until we embrace emotional integrity. Acknowledging our feelings is an important act that permeates every aspect of our lives — including our work relationships. Being totally honest with ourselves about our feelings begins when we wake up in the morning. If you wake up in the morning and feel down, recognize that this is a natural phenomenon. To dismiss the feeling is to potentially disregard your entire day. Conversely, to acknowledge the feeling is to trace its origin. Once we trace the source of a feeling, we can then seek ways to reconcile with the experience, sometimes through metacognition (thinking about our own thoughts), spiritual enlightenment, workouts or meditation. No matter what we do, ignoring our initial feelings when we wake up in the morning could be our first mistake of the day.

As a person in a position of authority, acknowledging how you feel without dismissing those feelings may effectively promote psychological comfort among your team members. For example, having a challenging moment with your partner or child before coming to work may cause you to be a bit distracted during the workday. In this case, let your direct contacts at work know that you may not be at your best (without sharing all of your personal issues with them). By simply owning your experience and sharing it with your team members, you can make them feel more comfortable in the workplace.

2. Envision How You Want Your Day To Go

In the theater of our minds, we can envision the kind of day we'd like to experience. Imagine that you have a choice to play your favorite song in the morning. What would it be, and could you leave it on autoplay? Remembering how that song makes you feel throughout the day can release positive energy and activate desired internal responses throughout the day. With that song playing while driving in rush hour traffic in the morning, you can tune out negative energy and other distractions, focusing instead on the content of the song. When you arrive at work with your favorite song still playing, it can fill you with excitement and joy, which can radiate through your smile and other pleasantries. With such an attitude, it would be difficult not to put others in your work environment at ease.

3. Challenge Your Emotional Rigidity

Sometimes we work so hard to be perfect that we end up making everyone around us uncomfortable and uneasy. Since there’s no such thing as a perfect person, strive instead to be great. In my experience, greatness requires a diversity of ideas, as well as openness to trying new ideas. An emotionally rigid person may find it difficult to entertain new information. If an authority figure is emotionally rigid, this can, in turn, produce an emotionally rigid workforce, which may sap psychological comfort. In order to challenge emotional rigidity, be willing to acknowledge your mistakes and be humble enough to welcome new ways of problem-solving.

Psychological comfort is all about being at peace with ourselves. When we challenge our emotional rigidity, envision how we want our days to go and embrace emotional integrity, we can then begin to create psychological comfort in our workspace.

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?

J. Ibeh Agbanyim is President/Founder at Focused Vision Consulting, LLC

Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of leading business coaches and career coaches. Find out if you qualify at forbescoachesc...