How To Deal With Stress At Work

By October 22, 2014Anxiety

How To Deal With Stress At Work – Stress Relief

In order to lose your stress, you need to understand what’s causing it

Hello, my name is Noah Elkrief. And in this blog post, I’m going to show you how to deal with stress at work. Before we get really into how to stop feeling stressed, you first need to understand what is causing your stress. At first glance, it seems as though the type of work that you do, your work environment, your co-workers, your boss, or your financial situation is creating your stress. But if the job you are in factually created your stress, then every single moment that you were in that job, you would feel stressed. But are you stressed in every single moment you’re in that job? No, of course not. At some moments you’re stressed, and at some moments you’re not. That means the job itself can’t be creating the stress, because if it was, you’d be stressed in every single moment.

Your job isn’t creating your stress, your thoughts are

Another way to see that the job isn’t creating stress is by noticing that if you are stressed in a given moment, and then a co-worker sends you a funny email or someone makes a joke, or you are distracted from your thoughts in some other way, you feel fine. You can laugh, you can have fun. A second ago you were stressed, and as soon as you stop thinking about the “stressful” thing, you’re fine.

In addition, another way to see that thoughts are creating your stress is to just take a moment right now and just think about work. Think about what you don’t want to happen. Think about how bad it would be if your boss doesn’t like your new presentation. Think about how bad it would be if you don’t land a client, or a client gets upset with you, or somebody yells at you. Or if you were to get fired, think about how bad it would be. Really imagine a scenario in your head and watch what happens. Take a moment to do that now.

All of a sudden, stress is created. But there’s nothing factually occurring right now to create stress, it’s just the thoughts. The only thing that creates your stress at work and about work is the thoughts in your head, the thoughts that you are believing.

You can be in peace at work, no matter what job you are in

If your thoughts are creating your stress, what that means is that you can be at peace at work. If you’re co-workers or the type of job you are in factually created your stress, then you would be screwed, it would be inevitable that you keep staying stressed. But since it’s only the thoughts in your head that are creating stress, that means you have a chance, that means you can be at peace while at work. That doesn’t mean that your stress isn’t strong. Of course it can be incredibly strong. But, no matter how strong it is though, it’s still only created by thoughts.

The thoughts that create stress

There are two fundamental beliefs that tend to create stress at work. The two beliefs are:

  1. It means something about me if something goes wrong. In other words, it means something about me if my boss doesn’t like me, if the boss doesn’t like my work, if a client leaves us, if a client doesn’t decide to join us, if I get fired, or if I make a mistake. It means I’m a failure, it means I’m unworthy, it means I’m not good enough.
  2. The second major belief that creates stress at work is the idea, I know what outcome is best for my life and I know what outcome is bad for my life.

Those are the two beliefs that create stress. They might not resonate with you in the way that I described it just now, but when I go into it in a little bit more detail in a minute, you’ll see how one or both of them speaks exactly to your situation.

Your stress is created by believing your job performance indicates your value as a human being

When you’re at work, when does the stress occur? When does it arise? Does it arise when you’re creating the work? When you’re doing work that has to be given to someone in particular? When does it arise? Does it occur when you’re doing something that can be evaluated? What tends to happen when we have a job, is we take on the identity of that job. I am an accountant, I am a customer service rep, I am a lawyer, I am a trader, I am a banker, I am something.

Therefore, what happens is, when we believe that’s who we are, then of course we want to think of ourselves as a good one. We don’t want to think of ourselves as a bad lawyer, we want to think of ourselves as a good lawyer. We don’t want to think of ourselves as a bad accountant, we want to think of ourselves as a good accountant. Then, when in your job, you’re constantly trying to prove to yourself that you are good at your job, that you are smart, that you are capable, that you are worthy, that you are okay, that you are good at this, that there’s nothing wrong with you.

Every piece of work that you produce is seen as a piece evidence or proof that you are good or bad, right? That you are smart, that you are okay, that you are good at your job. Every piece of work that you do, every interaction that you have with your boss, every presentation you give, every time you talk to a client, is trying to prove to yourself that you’re good at your job. When you do well, it gives you pleasure, because you think “I’m good at this, yay, it’s going well”.

The idea that you are good is incredibly fragile

No matter how good you at doing your job, you don’t know whether it will stay that way. All it takes is one client leaving, one presentation to go bad, one insult by your boss, one criticism by a co-worker, and then all of a sudden, maybe I’m not so good at this. It doesn’t matter how many years, or days or clients or anything that went well in the past, whether you’re good at this or not, whether you’re capable, smart, great at it, or not, is judged in this moment by your mind. So, if you produce some work, and your boss says, “I don’t really like it, I’d rather go with your co-worker’s suggestion.” Or, “You need to fix this, and this and this, how could you write that?” Or a client, you go to pitch a new client and you don’t make the sale. Then boom, “maybe I’m not so good at sales”. Boom, “maybe I’m not great at presenting”? Have I lost it? Why am I not good at it? When you think that the quality of your work means something about who you are, or the outcome of your work means something about you, it’s a recipe for stress.

Your work performance means nothing about who you are

Now, let’s examine whether your work performance signifies something about you. If you produce work, your boss might like it, or he might not. But whether he likes it or not, what does that mean about you? Just because he doesn’t like it, that doesn’t mean the work is bad. It’s just another perspective. Maybe you think it’s good, he thinks it’s bad. Maybe a different boss would like it, right? If you have a sales meeting, and you don’t get the sale, you think that means something about you? But maybe he was in a bad mood, maybe he didn’t like your tie, maybe you had no chance anyhow because they just came from another sales meeting with your competitor and it was so good, it has nothing to do with you. Or maybe it has to do with your company and not you. No matter what you do, it doesn’t mean anything about you because there are other variables at play here. Also, whatever you produce, someone could like it, someone might not. Someone could think it’s great, someone could not. Someone could completely discard or discredit what you created based on something they think about you – they don’t like the way you talk, they don’t like the way you look, anything along those lines. It doesn’t mean anything about who you are.

As long as you are trying to think you are good, you will fear being bad

As long as work that is complimented by your boss means that you are good, you will continue to worry about being bad. Okay, I’ll say that again. As long as when things are going well, you think that means you are great and good at this, you will continue to stress about things possibly going wrong. Because no matter how good things are, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will stay that way. You are one presentation, one report, one client meeting away from, “Boom. Maybe I’m not so good at this.” And that’s why you’re stressed, because you think that everything that you do means something about you. You do your best and then you see what happens.

Stress is also created by believing we know what’s best for our life

The other major type of thoughts that create stress at work is the idea, “I know what is best for my life, and I know what is bad.” To give you an example, if you go into a meeting to try to get a new client, you go into that meeting with the idea it would be best for me and my life to get this new client. You don’t even question that. And so you experience stress. The stress is created by the idea it would be worse for my life if I don’t get the client. It’s not created by the upcoming client meeting. That’s not creating your stress, because in any moment you don’t think about it, there’s no stress. It’s just the idea that it would be best if I get the client, bad if I don’t.

Are you sure that you know what’s best for your life?

You may have all these reasons why it would be best to get the new client, because things aren’t going well, I would make more money, or any other reason. But is it possible that it would be bad if you get the new client?

Maybe they end up taking all of your time and that time could’ve been spent on some other form of lead generation. Or you could have gotten a bunch of other clients if you didn’t get them. Or maybe you get this new client and you make a mistake on it and that ruins your reputation at work. Or maybe you get this new client and the company does a bad job, and they tell other potential clients that you aren’t so good, and then it hurts your business. Or maybe you get this new client and it’s great for your business, but it’s terrible for your social life, or your family life, because it takes up so much of your time, and it makes you even more stressed. How do you know?

Are you sure that the “bad” outcome won’t turn out “better” in the long run?

Are you sure that not getting the client would be worse for your life? If you don’t get this client, maybe you’ll get a better one later. Maybe that will free up more time for you to enjoy with your family and kids. How do you know what is best for you? Or maybe you’re stressed because you think it would be bad if you get fired and lose your job. And I know that seems like it would be terrible, it seems obvious that would be terrible. But do you know that’s true? Can you think of any possible good effects that could come from that? Maybe you get a better job. Maybe this job wasn’t right for you. Maybe you find something that you’re more passionate about. Maybe you start your own business. Who knows? Maybe that gives you some time off and you find a book that changes your life and makes you happy. Maybe that acts as a catalyst that changes how you prioritize things in life. Maybe you get to spend more time with family. I don’t know, but look for yourself. You don’t know either.

We can always discover that we don’t know what outcome would be better or worse for us

We constantly operate based on the assumption, “I know what is best for me, I know what is bad for me.” But if you actually look, you’ll discover, you don’t know the future. It’s quite obvious when you look at it – you do not know the future. Or in other words, you do not know what all the future effects are of any particular outcome in life. One cause doesn’t have one effect. One causes a million effects, which you don’t even know. So it’s not about convincing yourself, “No, it would be good if I don’t get the client, no it would be best for my life if I get fired.” No, that’s a belief. What I’m suggesting is you ask yourself questions to discover, “I don’t know which outcome is best or worst.” And you can still give 100% of your effort towards the presentation, or towards whatever you want, it just means that there’s no anxiety to go along with it.

Without stress at work, we are generally much more efficient and effective

You may think that if you don’t have anxiety or stress, you won’t put as much effort towards work. But that’s not true. If you have less anxiety, you enjoy it more so that you can put more energy into it. Let’s say you have a presentation and you’re afraid it won’t go well. Well sometimes we don’t put in 100% effort because if we put in 100% effort and we fail, then it means something about me. But if I only put in 80% effort, then it doesn’t mean anything about me. We can say “I didn’t do well because I didn’t get to put enough time into it.” We have an excuse. Or if you’re doing work, and you’re stressed, that means part of your attention is on the thoughts in your head, which means part of your attention isn’t on your work, which decreases the quality of your work, decreases your comprehension, decreases your memory, and ultimately decreases the effectiveness of your work. And in addition to all that, when you’re stressed you’re less enjoyable to be around. Less of a comfortable person to be around, and less effective as a presenter, wouldn’t you think?

How to deal with stress at work

In order to stop feeling stressed at work, you just need to discover two things. One of two will be fine in fact.

  1. If you discover that when you do well, that doesn’t mean you’re great. And when you fail, that doesn’t mean you’re bad.
  2. If you discover, “I don’t know what’s best for my life. I don’t know if it would be better to get complimented or promoted. I don’t know if it would be better to get the client, I just don’t know. I’d rather do that, I want that, but I don’t know that it’s best for me in the long run. For my business life, my family life, my happiness, I just don’t know.”

And if you feel, “Oh but I need to keep my stress, it’s useful.” Question that, because it’s not. Just because you’ve gotten things done with stress, it doesn’t mean that stress is necessary, needed or even helpful.

Thanks for reading this blog post about how to deal with stress at work

Okay, so that’s how to deal with stress at work. I hope you found it helpful. Please feel free to message me, comment or whatever if you have a question or a comment. So thank you for watching, and I’ll see you on the next video. Bye.

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