• Wellness Workdays

Making Room for Emotional Baggage at Work


The most frequent request in my therapy office is to “help me stop the {insert bad feeling here}.” People want less anger, less hurt, less guilt, less grief, less fear, less sadness. They want me to tell them how to replace all bad feelings with happiness. How disappointed they are when I tell them I won’t, and that it’s not even the goal of therapy!


Think again about what you might do without fear. No concern for safety, like the potential car crash if you don’t obey stop lights. Imagine a world without sadness. What a strange funeral to attend where no one is grieving the loss. Consider what you might do without guilt. What are people willing to do when they won’t have to feel remorse?


We may not like all the feelings we have, but we have them for important reasons. Anxiety and guilt shape how we behave and manage our time. They keep us motivated at work and responsible with our finances (well… most of the time). Sadness? Lets us know we care. Anger? Motivates us to create change when necessary. Every feeling has purpose, and we need them all at different times and in different amounts.


As we make our way through life, we collect information on the rules and expectations for the world based on how we feel. This is our baggage. Our storage of emotion-linked memories gives us our work ethic, social etiquette, and personalities. A workplace without baggage lacks connection and productivity. We don’t need to leave that baggage at home – we need to pack more effectively!


Our feelings become problems when they lead to reactions that cause more harm than good. Our baggage gets in the way when we struggle to separate what we need in the moment from what we needed in the past. Both issues are usually the result of unchecked emotions. Effective emotional packing is an evaluation of why we feel the way we do, whether those messages make sense in our current situation, and what our best course of action will be to get the results we need.


When wellness programs aim to work with emotions rather than fix them, this can make room for all the baggage employees need for their trips to work!


This post was written by Darci Miland, LMHC, a mental health wellness consultant and speaker, and owner of StandUP Wellness.


#emotionalwellness #mentalhealth



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