Health and Fitness

Study Says Faking Emotions at Work Can Take a Toll On You

It's better to be genuine.
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Forcing a smile at work when you're really upset or frustrated affects you in ways you don't know, according to a study. It's called deep acting, and it's pretty harmful.

"Surface acting is faking what you're displaying to other people. Inside, you may be upset or frustrated, but on the outside, you're trying your best to be pleasant or positive," Allison Gabriel, associate professor of management and organizations in the Eller College of Management said.

"Deep acting is trying to change how you feel inside. When you're deep acting, you're actually trying to align how you feel with how you interact with other people."

The study found that there are four types of people that regulate emotions:

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  • Nonactors, or those engaging in negligible levels of surface and deep acting
  • Low actors, or those displaying slightly higher surface and deep acting
  • Deep actors, or those who exhibited the highest levels of deep acting and low levels of surface acting
  • Regulators, or those who displayed high levels of surface and deep acting.

Sure, faking a smile may make everyone around you feel good and positive but deep inside it could leave a physical and mental strain. Instead, researchers say you should make an effort to feel what you're portraying.

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Paolo Chua
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