How to Manage Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) at Work

Rachel Worsley  |  26/08/2023

Managing rejection-sensitive dysphoria (RSD) at work can be challenging, but there are strategies that can help individuals cope with this emotional response more effectively. Here are some steps to manage RSD at work:

  1. Self-Awareness:
    • Recognize and acknowledge your RSD triggers and emotional responses. Being aware of your emotional patterns can help you manage them.
  2. Mindfulness and Self-Regulation:
    • Practice mindfulness techniques to become more aware of your emotions as they arise. Techniques like deep breathing or grounding exercises can help you regulate intense emotions.
  3. Seek Support:
    • Talk to a trusted colleague, friend, or counselor about your RSD challenges. Sometimes, sharing your feelings with someone who understands can provide relief.
  4. Positive Self-Talk:
    • Challenge negative self-talk and replace it with more positive and realistic thoughts. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments.
  5. Set Realistic Expectations:
    • Understand that rejection and criticism are a normal part of work life. No one is immune to them. Setting realistic expectations can reduce the impact of RSD.
  6. Take Breaks:
    • When you're feeling overwhelmed by RSD emotions, take short breaks to calm yourself. Step away from your workspace, go for a walk, or engage in a calming activity.
  7. Emotional Regulation Techniques:
    • Learn emotional regulation techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral strategies, to manage intense emotions more effectively.
  8. Effective Communication:
    • If you're worried about criticism or rejection, communicate openly with your colleagues or supervisor. Seek feedback proactively to understand expectations and areas for improvement.
  9. Self-Care:
    • Prioritize self-care outside of work. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation to build emotional resilience.
  10. Accommodations:
    • If RSD significantly impacts your work, consider discussing accommodations with your employer or HR department. They may be able to provide support or adjustments to help you manage RSD-related challenges.
  11. Celebrate Small Wins:
    • Recognize and celebrate your achievements, even the small ones. Building a habit of positive self-reinforcement can improve your self-esteem.
  12. Professional Development:
    • Invest in professional development to build your skills and confidence in your work. The more confident you feel in your abilities, the less RSD may affect you.
  13. Support Groups:
    • Consider joining support groups or communities of individuals who experience RSD. Sharing experiences and coping strategies can be beneficial.
  14. Medication and Therapy:
    • In severe cases, where RSD significantly impairs daily functioning, consulting with a mental health professional may be necessary. Medication and therapy options may be explored.

Remember that managing RSD is an ongoing process, and it's okay to seek help and support when needed. Over time, with practice and the right strategies, you can learn to cope with rejection-sensitive dysphoria more effectively and minimize its impact on your work and well-being.

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