Career Advice ARTICLES / Habits, Patterns & Practices

Top 10 Sources of Stress and Your Boss Isn’t Even On the List

Ask people why they’re stressed at work, and they’re likely to say that it’s somebody else’s fault, looming deadlines, too much work, too little staff and more difficult work situations than they can explain. I know, you have a pain in the neck boss and more cranky clients than you can count. While these can certainly add to a bad day, they’re not really the actual cause of our stress. Stay with me here.

In fact, we cause our own stress. Yep. It’s true. We create tremendous internal pressure and anxiety with bad habits all by ourselves. Consider the habits listed below. Then ask yourself what ideas you have to turn around that habit that doesn’t serve you. I’ve added a few suggestions here.

1. Self-criticism. Tame your inner critic (that’s the part of you that shakes a finger at you). Focus on your strengths and forgive yourself.

2. Powerlessness. Don’t believe you have no options. Open your eyes and see all the choices available to you.

3. Perfectionism. Do your best, but let go of the elusive goal to be perfect. Instead, be perfectly human and focus on completion.

4. Worry. Action is the best antidote, especially for situations you cannot control. Ask yourself what step you need to take now? It can be small and may not even be directly related to the situation. Maybe it’s about releasing that energy through creativity or taking a walk.

5. Unrealistic expectations. Life can never be problem-free, but your outlook can. What expectations are you ready to let go of?

6. Insecurity. Stop looking to others to provide reassurance. Build up your self-worth by doing good things for yourself and others. Listen to the part of you that knows your unique gifts and talents.

7. Hurrying. Try walking slower, chewing slower and working at a steady, but not frantic pace. You might be surprised to find yourself performing better. This might mean fewer lattes too. Sometimes sugar and caffeine can rev the motor way too much.

8. Comparing to others. This is a losing battle. The only question that matters is whether you have done your best. If this is a particular challenge for you, read #3 above again.

9. Pessimism. Expect the best instead of the worst, and life usually has a way of handing it to you. In other words, be willing to change “the lens” you look through.

10. Competition. No one has to lose in order for you to win. Try turning every situation into a win-win situation. And remember, there is literally only one unique you. By embracing each individual’s uniqueness, including your own, you free yourself from the need to compare.

Indulging in any one of these habits can turn mild work stress into full-fledged career burnout. Start today by adjusting your thought patterns with these simple suggestions, so that you can love your job again and get on the road to finding your own Internal Groove.

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