This Is AuburnAUrora

Using Mindfulness to Cope with Microaggressions and Workplace Stress


Whaley, Pambanisha
Thomas, Chippewa
Alabi, Jaena


People from marginalized identity groups frequently experience microaggressions, verbal and non-verbal messages that are invalidating or demeaning. Librarians, even those working in the supposedly progressive and liberal domain of higher education, are not immune from these encounters, which can take their toll on a person’s emotional, psychological, and physical health, as well as decrease workplace engagement. Navigating microaggressions in the workplace means being able to identify and name the experience, as well as having the words and skills to call attention to the microaggression. This session will provide attendees with a framework, mindfulness, that can be used to help process the often-fraught interactions that may take place in academic libraries. In this panel session, two academic librarians and a counselor educator will begin by defining microaggressions and workplace stressors. They will identify the different forms of microaggressions, from the overt microassault to the subtle microinvalidation, as well as provide examples of common workplace stressors. Panelists will share research on the effects of these experiences, including implications for workplace engagement. Mindfulness as a tool to cope with microaggressions and stress will be introduced, and participants will be invited to take part in an exercise that will stimulate the processing of a microaggression or workplace stressors. Panelists will conclude with additional specific strategies and actions for responding to microaggressions.