Workplace Stress

There are more tools than ever to deal with workplace stress – expanded child care, family friendly benefits like gyms and flexible hours and yet workers are more stressed than ever.

Polls show over 50% of Millennials think anxiety is the major issue that they face and there is evidence that stress is not limited to any one generation.

  • Separate work and personal – Digital devices allow workers to remain connected all the time.  That’s a big part of the problem.  Separate business from personal even if it means owning two separate phones.
  • Cut social media – Again, because we have our world at our fingertips, we tend to live impulsively – responding to texts just because we got them or emails to keep our inbox clean or (and this is a big one) constantly check social media which is the number one place to look to cut stress.
  • Turn off the phone – Yes, off like in powered down.  If you’re unwilling to turn your phone off then no matter how you rationalize it, you’re too connected and that connection invites more stress.

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Multitasking

The other day I saw a school bus stop in front of a house as a parent was driving out the driveway to avoid getting stuck behind the bus stopping and starting.

What they forgot to do is talk to the child even for a second, give and get a hug or open the window to ask how their day was.

What could have been more important?

Stress, anxiety, living on a schedule that never seems to end all contributes to more stress and anxiety.

The real losers are the people who love them.

Apple made us the phone, but we have to make it a tool that fits our life – not the other way around.

Employers give benefits that enable employees to work more collaboratively but that doesn’t mean it promotes real human interaction.

Let’s write some new rules:

  • People before stressors – If a schedule is so tight that it causes anxiety and rushing around, choose people in your life over more angst.
  • People before phones – Nothing commands more attention than a phone in hand that rings or vibrates.  Imagine how people feel when a phone steals the attention of others.
  • Multitasking is a relationship killer – It doesn’t matter if it can be done well.  Multitasking requires some degree of distraction in order to accomplish your many goals.  And it causes more anxiety because studies have shown that people who multitask simply continue to add more things to do as they get proficient in checking things off their to do list.

Rethink multitasking even if you’re good at it.

Few people can multitask and interact at the same time.

All you need to do is imagine the look of these kids’ faces when this parent took off to accomplish another goal when the real priorities were standing right in front of them — on the sidewalk.

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Overcoming Loss

Loss is not restricted to losing a loved one.

When we break up with someone who we have cared for, it is a major loss. 

A divorce is a loss that is institutionalized in court proceedings. 

As people age they lose youth and often feel a loss of opportunity. 

Hard times economically are a loss.

  • Be grateful for what you had.  Expressing gratitude for something that you no longer have is a way of reminding yourself of what you are capable of. 
  • Anticipate things you will find in the future.  They don’t have to be a replacement for someone who can’t be replaced.  Anticipate new friends, new adventures, accomplishing more things you have not yet done. 
  • Fixate on the gains.  Mother’s recipes that you now possess.  The children that you had together with your ex.  The new job you just got that you would never have applied for if you hadn’t experienced the loss of your job.

Balance loss with gain.

Pain with pleasant memories.

Bad fortune with good fortune that has either occurred or that you expect will occur.

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Dealing With a Problem That Hounds You

Talking about a problem incessantly doesn’t lead to a solution.

Psychiatrists and psychologists know that even years of counseling may not lead a person to get beyond what bothers or gnaws at them.

Don’t waste time or energy on something that will bring you more pain.

Take the effort that is being poured into continued frustration and turn it into something that will bring you gain.

Do you have a dysfunctional family that consumes your efforts to love and help them? Redirect that negative energy to something that is more rewarding – teaching, volunteering, mentoring others.

Your employer is always cutting you out of meetings and the planning chain to your endless frustration? Take the skill that they are not using and redeploy it to a startup, a part-time venture or a charitable cause.

The one thing that all humans have is energy and the ability to focus that energy to things that make us happy and successful is absolutely the way around a nagging problem that hounds you.

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Artificial Intelligence

Did you see that Amazon is going to work on making Alexa smart enough to deal with suicidal patrons?

Ours is an artificial intelligence world – robots, Siri and Alexa on Amazon’s Echo.

So we’re now leaving suicide prevention up to artificial intelligence.

Suicides especially among young people are at the highest level ever and some blame their connected, digital world as a contributing factor.

We can’t go back.

Artificial intelligence is here to stay and so it is appropriate that these devices get smart enough to handle complex issues of the human condition.

But people need to get smarter, too.

Only real live people can sense when a person is in need

Learn to listen in a non-judgmental way

Be there for people 24/7 the way Alexa stands ready for the next command

When our phones get smarter and more prevalent, that’s our call to match them and raise them by living in the present totally focused on others.

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