Getting a Better Handle

Embracing all of your emotions may give you a better handle on work stress.

Aside from devoting our time and mental energy to work, we often unconsciously hand over something far more precious—our self-worth. You may have high hopes for that swanky new job, but your excitement will almost always be less intense and less lasting than you predict. You pine for futures that don’t end up making you very happy. It’s time to shed the unhealthy habit of glorifying the future to justify a miserable present.

Stop feeling bad about feeling bad

Our jobs can put a lot of pressure on us to radiate happiness and positivity. But the nature of work is to experience setbacks and to show up when you’re needed, even if you don’t feel like it. So stop blaming yourself for not feeling happy all the time.

When we try to suppress our sadness, disappointment or anger, we are more likely to feel those same emotions. People who accept these emotions without judging or trying to change them are able to cope with their stress more successfully.

Stay in the Moment

We’re happiest when we live in the moment, no matter what we’re working on. When our minds wander toward the past or the future, they often end up ruminating. Rumination differs from healthy reflection, when we analyze specific elements of a problem to better understand it. The first step to feeling better is to notice your cognitive distortions, or the dirty tricks your brain plays on you. If you find yourself pessimistically obsessing, re-frame your thoughts.

Another way to stop yourself from ruminating is through social distancing, when you try to look at your situation through someone else’s eyes. Ask yourself, “What advice would I give to a friend who felt similarly?” Lastly, remember your thoughts are simply that: thoughts. Acknowledge them, but recognize they are not inevitable truths.

Let go of what you can’t control

Stressors fall into two categories: those you can do something about (what is within your control) and those (beyond) your control. If you’re anxious because of what is within your control— unanswered emails in your inbox or an impending deadline—the easiest way to feel better is to complete the thing that is stressing you out. How do you stop stressing about the things you can’t control? First, you have to be diligent about recognizing what you can’t control. If you feel responsible for what is beyond your control, you’ll never be able to confidently say you’ve done enough and relax.

TAKEAWAYS

  1. Take the break you can, whether it’s a vacation, a day off, or a mini-break.
  2. Make time to be rigorously unproductive, see friends and family, and step away from your email and phone. Each week, schedule your personal time first in your day timer then fill in your appointments, meetings etc.,
  3. Stop feeling bad about feeling bad. Re-frame your stress as motivation or excitement.
  4. Prevent rumination by viewing your thoughts as simply thoughts, not as inevitable truths. Stay in the present and take care of the things within your control.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.