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Productivity during lockdown, how recognising your emotional responses can help

The Global Academy Jobs team read the Oxford Review because we know our academic audience wants evidence-based information. Their article on ‘How suppressing your emotions makes it harder for you to achieve your goals’ caught my eye as being anchored by research in the sea of ‘Mental Health during the pandemic’ material that currently floods my inbox.

According to the review we already know that suppressing emotional responses to events and environments generally makes things worse; that is suppression can damage our mental health. New information in the cited article from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, explains why this happens and how we can counter the results.

Being based in the UK we know about the ‘stiff upper lip / Keep calm and carry on’ approach to emotions. For me this was programmed in from childhood and, even though we know it does not work well, in a crisis we all turn towards familiar, ingrained behaviours. I found this explanation of how emotion  suppression impedes us particularly useful because it provides evidence that suppressing emotional responses damages motivation, confidence and satisfaction with personal achievements. A habit of recognising and reframing our reactions to emotions through cognitive re-appraisal is less damaging to motivation, and ultimately productivity.

There is more detail in the Oxford Review, and the article from Auckland. This is research with immediate, practical benefit when so many of us feel our motivation and productivity have been affected by the COVID- 19 pandemic. Knowing the mechanism of the problem can be a large part of the solution.


Oxford review article: How suppressing your emotions makes it harder for you to achieve your goals

Cited research: Low, Rachel & Overall, Nickola & Hammond, Matthew & Girme, Yuthika. (2016). Emotional Suppression During Personal Goal Pursuit Impedes Goal Strivings and Achievement. Emotion. 17. 10.1037/emo0000218

Wendy leads the team at Global Academy Jobs. She also makes respectable tea but should leave coffee to experts.

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