October 31, 2013
Still worrying? How to stop it
Last week, I talked about ways to be happy at work. This is important, because if you are happy at work, you will do a better job, and if you do a better job, you will be a more valuable worker. And, as you know, valuable workers are the ones who get promotions and raises.
So happiness isn't just a frill; it's vital to your success.
But what if you can't get happy? What if you just can't stop worrying? Whatever the cause of your worry (job security, money, mistakes), worrying saps your energy. In fact, it can be so debilitating that it keeps you from fixing the things you're worried about.
Don't worry -- you can train your brain to stop worrying, or at least to worry a lot less. Here are some proven techniques:
Create a worry period. That's right, schedule your worrying. Try to make it the same time and place every day. If you start worrying at other times, tell yourself you will deal with it later, during your worry period.
Keep a worry diary. Every time you start to worry, write down what triggered it. You may soon start to see patterns. Take steps to eliminate or change the most common patterns.
Interrogate your worry. Ask yourself how realistic it really is. How likely is it to come to pass? If a friend had the same worry, what would you say to that friend?
Bore your worry to death. Sometimes it helps to repeat the worry over and over until it begins to lose its power, or just starts to sound ridiculous.
Cry. Or laugh, or punch a pillow. Letting yourself physically act out your emotions releases the stress and pressure of the worry.
Relabel your worry. If it is unrealistic, call it that. You can name it something like "stupid obsessive thought" (or just SOT), or whatever you want.
Identify the worst-case scenario. And then prepare for it to the very best of your ability. You can't do more than your best.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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