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How do you cope with the emotional aspects of discrimination?

When you face racial, gender or some other form of discrimination at work, you may not be in an immediate position to react. As much as you'd like to file a complaint with Human Resources or quit, you fear that you don't have enough evidence to support your complaint or the financial means to just walk out.

So how do you cope? Workplace discrimination takes a toll on your mental health, elevating your stress levels with every incident. In between acts of discrimination, it's difficult to relax because you're always waiting for the incident.

To protect your mental health after experiencing workplace discrimination, experts recommend that you:

  • Consider this an opportunity to learn resilience. You had no choice about facing this particular adverse event in your life, but you can choose to respond to it in a way that is positive for you.
  • Find relaxation techniques. Whether you practice deep breathing and centering yourself under stressful situations or work out, finding ways to physically relax your body can help reduce your stress levels overall.
  • Don't blame yourself. Some people fall into the trap of thinking they could have done something differently and prevented the discrimination. Remember that you aren't the person at fault in this situation.
  • Find support. You may need a therapist or a good friend to listen to what's happening and help you sort your thoughts. Don't bottle up all your feelings right now because that's unhealthy.

Finally, don't forget to consider all your legal options. You can fight back against workplace discrimination through several different avenues. It's wise to seek legal guidance.

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