HELP! My job is so stressful and I can’t keep my head above water anymore. I’m crabby to my family. My boss is evil. My co-workers are annoying. I hate my job tasks. But I can’t leave – I need the paycheck!
This was the tirade I heard from someone after a speaking event a couple weeks ago. She was so deeply trapped in the muck of stress and self-sabotage that she was absolutely inconsolable and unable to even respond with clear answers to my follow-up questions.
- What exactly is your boss doing?
- What tasks drive you most crazy at work?
- Which co-workers are bugging you and what are they doing?
- How is all of this impacting your home life?
She was stuck in the viscous cycle of job stress and self-victimization – and she isn’t alone. 80% of people say their job is the most stressful part of their life.
Why Do We Get Stuck?
Because we spend so much time at our jobs, it’s easy to blame what happens there on our overall stress levels. However, when you dig deeper, you will often discover that it isn’t the job or the boss, but something else more specific that is lowering your tolerance for difficult people and situations.
When I was widowed, I had zero patience for challenging people. Even the slightest offense would set me off into stress – a cranky check-out person at the grocery store, a slow email response, an unexpected call from the boss. My body and brain were running on high alert filled with stress chemicals making me short-tempered, overly sensitive and super emotional. That’s what stress does to us.
In the short term, the stress response is a good thing. It amps us up and signals us that something is threatening us. Best case scenario is that we honor those signals and fight or escape from the stress, but in today’s world, we are constantly bombarded by things that set us off. Traffic, a bad day at work, an annoying boss or coworker, screaming kids, a misunderstood comment from your spouse, an unexpected bill or expense…all of them totally manageable on their own but when lumped together they lead to super stress that sets our bodies and brains into scary overdrive. If we don’t manage it and find a way to regain perspective, that heightened stress state in our bodies will lead to long term damage to our health, mindset and relationships.
So What Can We Do?
The most important thing is to stop and take a breath. We are so busy charging ahead and thinking about what’s next – after this meeting, after work, this weekend, next year, after retirement – that we forget to stop and think about what’s NOW! So I challenge you to stop what you are doing several times a day to reflect and focus on the moment. (Click here to get my Meditation Mantra Cards to help with this.)
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are the actions you are taking and the behaviors you are putting forth TODAY going to get you closer to those goals you have for yourself down the road?
- How is your attitude and mindset at this moment? Are you happy, crabby, stressed, sad, overwhelmed – and how can you course correct to get back on track if you’re stuck in the weeds.
- How are people relating and responding to you today? (If negatively, you are probably putting out some cranky vibes.)
- What can you do right now to make your life and the lives of those around you happier?
- Are you smiling? If not, then smile! A fake smile turns into a real one eventually and people will relate to you more positively!
That’s it – just stop what you’re doing and focus on your present moment. The more often you can do this throughout the day, the better you will feel in the short term and in the future. (And your loved ones and co-workers will thank you for it!)