Are You In Control Of Your Stress, Or Is It Controlling You?

I see a lot of stress management issues come up for clients and friends. It seems like people start to feel trapped in their own lives due to stress. When faced with stressors, we generally let go of all of the things that tend to keep us balanced like sleep, exercise, healthy eating and social activities. When we fail to create balance in our lives, that stress becomes even more compounded. Take work as an example. When we feel stressed at work, we tend to lose sleep and give up those other stress reducers to “work harder”.

The problem with this thinking is that giving up self-care does not really make us more effective or efficient. Actually, it is exactly the opposite. Plus, we tend to obsess over work issues during our personal time, so it feels like we are working 24 hours per day. This prevents us from being fully present in our downtime and the stressor becomes even more oppressive. Let me ask you this, how does thinking about work during your day off improve your work performance? How does it help you to get more accomplished? It doesn’t. It only serves to make us less productive because our minds are cluttered with worry. How do you solve this?

Leave work at work. Make sure you are making time for the other, more important things in your life like sleep, exercise and fun. Stop thinking so much! When you find yourself thinking about work during your time off, remind yourself that you will have plenty of time to worry about your job for the 40 hours per week you are required to be there. To put it quite blunt, work really isn’t worth most of the emotional energy many people put into it. It is a paycheck, but it doesn’t have to consume you. Go to work, do your job well, focus only on things you can control, and let go of the rest. Save your emotional energy for the things that really matter in the bigger picture of life!

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.
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