It’s Not the Job, It’s You!

It’s Not the Job, It’s You!
Is your job stressing you out? Are you angry at the rude demands, skeletal staff, low-pay, and the scheming co-workers? Maybe you daydream about quitting your job. Before you leave, consider that you could be working in the quiet countryside, stressed about how slow the grass is growing!

Health Magazine cites a study (published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes) of 300 sets of Swedish twins in the nature versus nurture debate. Researchers conclude that personality is responsible for job stress and health, and 45% of personality type can be attributed to genes. So before you blame your emotional well-being and health on your genes, realize that you are not an animal governed by instinct. Gene behavior can be expressed, suppressed or transcended.

The Problem
Consumer Reports OnHealth (Oct. 2012) conducted a nationally representative poll of people’s stressors and work-related troubles ranked 23%. Consumer Reports concludes that stress can make you sick. For example, women with high-stress jobs where they feel like they lack control are 67% more likely to have a heart attack than women in less intense jobs. Job stress is implicated in impaired immunity, worsening depression, gastrointestinal upset and type 2 diabetes.

Good news: You are really the boss
Stress is based on internal perception. If your genetic makeup, and let’s add your upbringing too, make you more anxious, sensitive to criticism, perfectionist, hyper-vigilant, suspicious and pessimistic, you can disconnect from agitating thoughts. Simply being aware that you were born this way breaks the hate-this-horrible-job mindset. You realize that the external environment is not to blame, but your interpretation of it. Come up with a better interpretation!

To reduce job stress you need a sense of yourself and your specific talent. Also, practice becoming self-aware - gauge your own behavior, motivation and personal rhythm, always on the alert when you cross the line into negativity. Know your stress triggers and try to understand them. Make a commitment to internal peace and don’t wait for external circumstances to create peace for you because serenity begins inside and emanates outward.

7 ways to improve your work environment
  • Manage your personal stress triggers. If you are hungry, take a break and eat. If you are sleepy, take a ten minute power nap, visualize or meditate. If you are irritable, take a walk or doodle.
  • Focus on the clean facts, not the drama.
  • Respond to the negative situation instead of reacting. Don’t send that nasty email you will later regret.
  • Positive moods occur when you make the most of yourself – not turning your attention to others.
  • Be kind, open and understanding. You will be popular creating a circle of good energy.
  • Adapt to the “situation” or the person, rather than impose yourself.
  • Mentally, exchange places with your adversary at work. How does he or she see you? How can you help them? Be affirmative, not negative.

For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Debbie Mandel for details.