If you really want to deal with stress, start caring for and about yourself
Just doing more usually makes things worse, because we are essentially manufacturing our own stress
Even in high-stress times, some people don’t get burned out. They continue to thrive despite the difficult conditions at work. How? The answer lies in part with empathy.
If you really want to deal with stress, you’ve got to stop trying to be a hero and start caring for and about yourself. Here are some practical ways to practise self-compassion and make empathy part of your normal way of dealing with people at work.
1 Curb the urge to overwork
When the pressure is on, we’re often tempted to work more hours. But just doing more usually makes things worse, because we are essentially manufacturing our own stress.
So instead of putting in more hours when you’re stressed, find ways to renew yourself. Exercise, practise mindfulness, spend more time with loved ones and get more sleep.
2 Stop beating yourself up
Instead of letting self-criticism stress you out, acknowledge how you feel, acknowledge that others would feel similarly in the same situation, and be kind and forgiving to yourself.
3 Build friendships with people at work
Real connections and friendships at work matter – a lot. Research has confirmed that having warm relationships is essential to health, wellbeing and happiness.
4 Really listen
Instead of listening and understanding others, we only hear what we want to. The resulting conflicts cause a lot of unnecessary stress. To prevent this, be curious about people. Ask yourself, “How can I understand where this person is coming from?”
5 Coach people
Coaching others has positive psychophysiological effects that restore the body’s natural healing and growth processes and improves stamina. When we care enough to invest time in developing others, we can balance the toxic effects of stress and burnout. – Copyright Harvard Business Review
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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