You might not believe paying attention to emotions has much to do with work, but some research studies have shown negative work cultures can impact the functioning and health of families connected to employees. In other words, workers take the stress and negativity they absorb in the office home to their relationships and families.
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, the effect was described: ''A growing body of research confirms that the stress employees experience at work crosses over to and impairs the functioning and well-being of family members, even impacting children's performance in school." This chain may unfold as follows: a manager who believes that the best way to manage employees is to "keep them on their toes" habitually makes unreasonable demands, confronts employees publicly, provides little positive feedback, and withholds information. These behaviors cause stress in the employees who are subject to them. When they come home from work at night, the employees are more likely to display anger and impatience. Their spouses' stress levels rise and marital quality declines.'
The author, Monique Valcour, goes on to say the stress, anger or frustration felt by an adult from her or his job can even impact children, because they don't experience safety in their own family and so they might choose to stay away from that parent or both parents. Then there would be less closeness in the family and probably poorer communication.
We have choices available to us that can create similar ripple effects - but for good - by focusing on positive emotions, according to positive psychology.
Psychologist and researcher Barbara Frederickson has created the broaden and build theory to describe how focusing on positive emotions can make us happier and build our skills for being happier and healthier. The idea is that when we put our attention on them, they can be expanded and reinforced.
So, if we are experiencing emotional turbulence, stress or some sense of instability and it is influencing our relationships with co-workers, family and friends negatively, one potential consideration is to put the focus on these positive emotions. Even during the most difficult times there exists the same potential to experience these emotions, though our thoughts may indicate there is no such chance. For example, serenity does not have to come from isolating one's self from stress, but working with your self by meditating, getting enough sleep, reducing caffeine, exercising, staying socially connected and similar things in order to experience it in the midst of chaos.