Posts Tagged ‘dealing with job stress’

Using Meditation Practices to Start the Day Right

I hear from clients frequently how unhappy they are with their jobs – too much work, not enough time, conflict with their tasks or coworkers/boss, and the list goes on. If only thinking of problems on a day-to-day basis is your ‘theme,’ it won’t be long before you will feel more frustration, stress and unhappiness.

Overtime, with no change in this pattern of thinking, it will soon start to feel like ‘groundhog day’ – doing the same things over and over with no change (this is also the definition of insanity). Soon, predictions and generalizations occur for each day being the same. We don’t realize that our situations are not the same as before but are our outlook and belief.

But what if there was a way to start each day with fresh eyes, and a fresh perspective? And what if these led to a differing outcome and the ability to deal with whatever comes your way? Well, there is a way and it’s all within you, or your mind, to be specific.  Although not new, meditation is one of the more up-and-coming popular ways to decrease stress, regain focus and concentration, and give the ability to face each day recharged and refreshed.


From what I’ve learned, meditation is not about stopping one’s thoughts, it’s about living with them and not trying to do anything about them (control them). Creating a ritual each morning before you start your day, where you meditate, will provide you with a fresh outlook and a calm way of being. Meditation does take time to learn, as practice is involved, but just starting with a minute or two will give you calm and relieve any worries or anxieties that may arise. Here are three quick ways to  create a mediation ritual that will start your day off on a positive note:

  1. To begin, set a minute on your cellphone or an actual timer; doing so ‘preps’ you to know this is not going to be laborous or hard. Mindset sets the tone for success; by starting small, it allows the brain to calm and not reject the activity and you can see quick results, thereby motivating you to continue
  2. Use your visualization or find a focal point to look at – think of an object to focus on as this will redirect all thoughts to that one area, making it easier to calm the mind and keep the practice going. Another suggestion is to make a noise, such as a hum (‘ohm’ or ‘um’) to redirect thoughts; I’ve used ‘mmmooonneeey’ in the past
  3. Focus on your breathing, as this is the best way to get calm immediately; breathing deeply in the belly area will help to calm the stress chemicals released, leading to feeling calmer and more in control. The more you practice, the easier this will become, which will be useful for any situation you come across

These practices can take all of five minutes to start and can prep your day, where you can work your up to meditating for longer periods. It would beneficial if you mediated before going out the door to work, and also once you sit at your desk to create a positive way to start the day. As I’ve said earlier, the more you practice, the easier this practice will become, thereby being a daily ritual you will look forward to and set a positive tone for your day.

I was amazed at how many contestants on the Miss America pageant, the other night, said that they regularly meditate and how it helped lead them to be pageant-winners to get to the big stage; the new Miss America discussed how her practice of mediation has lead her to have the confidence to pursue her dream; if it worked for her, it can work for you!

If you’d like help with dealing with workplace stress and learn to manage your career, let’s talk; contact us at to get started!



Is Taking FMLA the Right Step to Deal with Your Job Stress?

Stress on the job is a part of the workday – dealing with deadlines, multiple tasks, dealing with other people or customers, and balancing time with family/me-time. But there are times when these tasks can take its toll. There are times when too much work, too little time to get them done added with difficult relationships with either the boss or coworkers (or both) can become too much for one person to handle.

This is when the breakdown can occur: it may start with feeling more irritable than usual or an inability to sleep well; other symptoms can include: stomach upsets, inability to sit still or relax, crying spells for no reason, chest pain or palpitations, headaches or other pains. Thoughts then start running through the mind of how stressed you are, which then begin to focus on dissatisfaction (or hate) for the job, boss, coworker, etc. What does one do in this case? How should you handle the situation if you find yourself experiencing any or all of these symptoms?

One option a lot of people look to is to take some time away from the job, usually through the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) benefit. Using this allows you to be absent from the job without penalty so you can seek help to learn how to deal with your emotions which will allow you to return back to your job. However, is this always the best option? I think not; there are other ways to handle the stressors of the job and better manage them.

Taking FMLA is a process, starting with contacting your supervisor and Human Resources (HR). They will then direct you to specific paperwork that needs completed by either a psychiatrist, medical doctor or a licensed mental health therapist who needs to certify that you are unable to perform your work duties and need time off. It also means making a commitment to enter into a therapeutic relationship for a period of time until you work through the issues that led to having an inability to deal with your work situation. It also means exploring your coping skills and strengths, as well as any maladaptive thoughts leading to high stress. In some cases, anti-anxiety or depression medication may be in order.

While not negating that things can become so hard that taking FMLA is necessary, it is only a temporary solution so getting a better handle on how you deal with stressors or situations that are uncomfortable is the key:

  • Identify any and all situations, people or other ‘trigger’s that you feel you can’t handle or cause you distress at any level. Analyze these to determine what exactly is the root cause leading to the fear or anger that lead to these feeling, which includes your fears, hurts or concerns around them.
  • Identify your strengths and current coping skills – the ones you fall back on during times of adversity – as well as all the various strategies you use to relax, such as taking a walk or other forms of exercise, journaling, praying, or coloring. When you list these out, you won’t have to think about how to handle your situations – you just need to look on the list you’ve created.
  • Identify specific strategies to refocus your outlook and take control of the work you do and how you do it, which is totally in your control. Take an assessment of how your respond to certain situations to challenge them and then give options for how you can better deal with. Pay particular attention to your thoughts and how you feel about your work situation; remember that we can talk ourselves into stress and unhappiness so questioning the validity of your thoughts will help you to put them into proper perspective.

Properly dealing with work stress is something everyone employed needs to learn; having good strategies to deal with the workplace is necessary to survive. One of those may include taking time off through the FMLA but use that as a last resort. Arm yourself with other strategies and coping skills as they will help you be successful in your work as well as in your life.

If you’d like help with dealing with job stress and take back the control over your work, call today for a free Discovery Session to learn more:

Job Strain Can Lead to Heart Attack Risk

A recent study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, found that job strain increases your chance of having a heart attack.  According the study findings,  job strain “is associated with a small, but consistent, risk of experiencing a first heart attack.”  Those who have more demanding jobs or those who feel they have little freedom in decision making are more at risk than those who feel less-stressed.

I would include in this category workers who are unhappy in their jobs, have poor work relationships, or may be bullied.  Any type of job stress, whether real or perceived, can lead to a host of ailments which, if not handled and dealt with, can lead to a host of emotional and physical problems.  Some of these signs and symptoms can include:

  • feelings of sadness
  • headaches, backaches, stomachaches, or other body pains
  • chest pain or heart palpitations
  • stiff neck
  • digestive problems
  • irritability or anger
  • sleeping or eating problems, i.e. over/under
  • emotional bluntness or feeling cut-off
  • apathy or lack of feeling pleasure in prior activities/interests
  • colds/flu
  • forgetfulness, confusion, losing things, accidents

As you can see, a whole host of problems can arise if you are feeling stress on the job.  So what do you do?

Well, first off, pay attention to what your body is telling you.  If you find that you are getting sick frequently or losing things, for instance, those are often signs that you might be under some type of stress and are not dealing with it.  We typically manifest stress in a physical way so it is imperative to be aware of what your body is telling you.

Dealing with stress can include a myriad of techniques, but here are some of my favorites:

  • Deep Breathing – this simple act can immediately provide calming to the brain and the body; be sure to breathe in through your nose and exhale large, pushing out through your stomach to force oxygen into your red blood cells which leads to calming
  • Physical Exercise – we all know that doing some type of physical activity raises you endorphin levels, which increases your level of happiness; it also releases negative energy and, when you focus on pleasurable activities, like walking or dancing, it helps to put your problems in perspective so you can deal with them effectively
  • Meditation – this simple act – which is not so easy – is now one of the major relievers of depression.  Focusing on your breathing and shutting out the ‘noise’ brings focus of your mind and calms the body
  • Journaling – writing down your negative thoughts and feelings helps to release them in a safe way, while providing clarity for how to deal with these thoughts; it’s as if you get an outsider view and perspective. In addition to releasing negative thoughts, journaling is a great way to document positives that have come in to your life, which is the art of Gratitude
  • Coloring – this simple activity taps into your creative brain, which is where happiness lives.  I have written before on my Mandala book, which gives focus on calming

No matter which technique you use, take time throughout your day to decompress and effectively monitor your stress.  i would love to hear how you deal with job strain!

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