Do you find yourself getting stressed at work? There are ways you can reduce your stress levels and feel happier and more fulfilled in your career. Life coach Steve Chamberlain explains more…
Do one thing at a time to the best of your ability – Ultimately, that’s all we can ever do. The source of so much of our anxiety is spreading ourselves too thin and worrying about things outside of our control. Therefore, draw your attention back into the present and a sense of calm focus will be the natural result.
Move from reaction to response – To react means to repeat (or re-act) an old thought/behaviour pattern that no longer serves us. A new work project with a tight deadline is given to us and our reaction is to resist, complain or worry. To respond means to move beyond this old programming and consciously choose the thoughts and behaviour that will serve us.
Try to be more flexible and less rigid about your intentions – Telling ourselves we ‘have to’ get through all our emails today may come from a place of good intent, but ultimately, we’re setting ourselves up for a stressful day, with a high likelihood of ‘failure’. Setting a flexible intention to action as many of the high-priority emails as you possibly can, will allow you to feel a sense of achievement at the end of the day, regardless of what other challenges arise.
Do what you love and you’ll feel more positive – Once you know what your passion is, try to pursue it. A positive attitude tends to happen naturally when we’re doing a role that genuinely aligns with our strengths, passions and values. When this is the case, then there will be little work for us to do to enjoy our role. However, the further out of alignment with these factors our role becomes, the more challenging our experience. Therefore, step one is to choose a career path that aligns with who you are and what you love to do. Building on this is the mindset you carve out, which consists of the beliefs you hold about yourself and your work. The key here is that you want your beliefs to be both true and helpful, which means that they will serve you. Untrue or unhelpful beliefs, on the other hand, are likely to result in some form of inner stress or tension and prevent you from achieving your desired outcome.
For example, if you notice that you get stressed before giving presentations at work, you may hold beliefs such as ‘public speaking is scary’ or ‘I’m terrible at it’. Neither of these beliefs are likely to be 100 per cent true as not everyone finds speaking in public scary, and it’s also probable that you speak in public regularly without any problems e.g. when you’re down the pub with your friends. They’re also unhelpful in that they drive a fight or flight response, which is the exact opposite of the state you want to be in. Reworking these to something like: ‘Until now I have found public speaking scary, but I’d love to learn how to enjoy giving presentations’ – is likely to be both true and helpful, and will lead to a very different experience.
Reframe how you view things – If you feel you’ve been given too much work to do and your boss isn’t sympathetic, bear in mind that you have control over how you interpret the situation. The best way to reduce your stress levels might be to consider what beliefs you’re bringing to the table. For example, someone who believes: ‘I can’t handle the pressure of too much work and don’t get paid enough to do this’ is going to have a very different stress response to someone who believes ‘I thrive under pressure and this is a great opportunity to prove I’m indispensable to the company.’ Our beliefs are one of the key reasons why one person can thrive in a demanding role, when another person may feel overwhelmed.
Try to communicate with your boss – If you’re feeling the strain, see if you can have an honest conversation with your boss to explain the challenge you’re facing, and outline some potential solutions that you can see. This might include taking some work off your plate so you can focus on the higher priority work, delegating tasks to other team members, or bringing in a new team member. Bring them around to your side of the table, figuratively speaking, so that you’re both working towards the same goal – adding the highest value to your company – and finding a solution that works.
Be prepared to make a change – If you’ve worked on your mindset, and find that your boss isn’t open to supporting you, it might be time to consider making a move to a more balanced role.
Steve Chamberlain is a life coach specialising in mindfulness and cognitive-behavioural coaching to help people adopt a more positive mindset and achieve their goals. Visit http://www.stevechamberlain.co.uk