What not to do when you are overwhelmed at work

Eliminate the negative to avoid exacerbating the problem. By Priya Prakasan

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, so it’s how we react to it that truly matters. If you do not get a grip on the situation, it can easily lead to burnout and affect your productivity. Here are some tips on how to avoid being in a constant state of stress.

1. Cultivate negative thinking
Rumination and dwelling on all the things going wrong can send you spiralling into further stress. Making it all about you and focusing on these unhealthy thoughts will only prolong stressors and keep you stuck in an anxious zone. When you start noticing this repetitive pattern make deliberate attempts to stop the negative self-talk. Instead focus on the positives and make them your focus. Then tackle the stressor by crafting a problem solving focussed plan.

2. Procrastinate
By putting off doing the task you are doing nothing but creating a possibility of falling short on performance. It essentially reflects your perennial struggle with self-control and can cause a lot more distress in the long run. Do you really enjoy that heart pumping, anxiety riddled experience? Break tasks into more manageable parts, make efficient to-do lists, create structured work plans, and stop procrastinating.

3. Give in to anxiety
Feeling anxious or uneasy is nothing but your reaction to stress. Stress and anxiety on their own are not altogether bad. They can keep you on your toes and spur you on to success. However, it’s when you let them dictate your actions that things start to go wrong. Make use of effective stress management techniques so that you don’t give anxiety a foothold in your life. Increase your self-awareness so that you identify and understand the triggers, your reaction to certain situations, and how your beliefs are either aiding or causing conflict. With this heightened emotional intelligence you can better grapple with stressors and manage your behaviours.

4. Stresscalation
Stresscalation is when you exacerbate an already tense situation by passing on the stress to someone else. Leaders are often under pressure; that’s the nature of their job. The trick is to learn how to harness the anxiety and keep it in check so that it doesn’t push you to make mistakes or hasty decisions. Good leaders studiously avoid transferring their stress onto their team members. Negative emotions can be highly contagious. So work towards containing them and relieving the stress built up.

5. Live in the future or the past
It’s tempting to slip into the past and relive old glories when you’re facing an uphill climb. Or daydream about what it would be like once the task is done or create an ideal situation where all targets are met. If you do this you’re missing out on the present, and its opportunities, because you are living in an alternative reality. Plus, avoiding your current problems is only going to increase your stress levels. So stay focussed on the present and practice mindful living. This will centre your mind and translate to more efficient and productive behaviour.

Photograph: Creativeart – 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz


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