Recent studies have shown those scoring higher in mindfulness tend to report higher levels of pleasant affect, higher self-esteem, optimism, and self-actualization. Also, lower levels of neuroticism, anxiety, depression, and unpleasant affect are reported in those scoring higher in mindfulness.
This means that those people who practice Mindfulness regularly are more likely to stay positive despite changes to their lives than those who do not. This is important because those same people are more likely to embrace the changes the pandemic brings. Evidence also suggests these people will thrive during this crisis. By seeking out and exploring new opportunities this new situation brings.
It must be considered that some individuals are more proficient at putting themselves into a state of mindfulness than others. Not all people find mindfulness an easy practice to continue regularly. Studies have shown that the willingness and practice of mindfulness varied as well.
The evidence here showed that all humans have a “radar” for internal and external experience. But this awareness must be cultivated like any other skill. Consciousness is built through harnessing the focusing of that awareness, which is attention. Mindfulness is enhanced attention to and awareness of current experience and the acceptance of things as they are which brings higher levels of consciousness.
About the Author:
For the last five years I have studied an undergraduate degree and masters in Psychology and Mindfulness (MSc). This has led me to continue this research through a PhD at Warwick University. During these 5 years I have taught Yoga and Mindfulness as a full-time job to businesses. My hard work was rewarded with a contract to work as a lecturer teaching wellbeing, Mindfulness and Yoga courses throughout Coventry for Coventry Council.
Working additional hours is a common practice among many employees nowadays. According to the data from the European statistics agency Eurostat, full-time employees in the UK work longer hours than full-time employees in other EU countries (except Greece and Austria). In fact, workers in the UK work 42.5 hours a week, on average, which is more than the European average (41.2 hours per week).
Before making the choice to work longer, be aware that this habit can have serious consequences on your physical and mental health. So, whenever you can, you should avoid staying late at the office.
If you really have to stay late, you should at least learn how to make it less stressful and more comfortable. This article will provide you with several tricks.
This blog post will help you to discover:
Even if you’ve never worked more than your regular working hours, this could be your guide in case you have to work late sometimes.
1. Plan your day ahead
If you know that you’re going to have a busy day and you might stay longer at the office, plan your day ahead.
These are the steps you should take:
Having all your significant tasks in one place will help you stay focused. Besides, you can add a checkmark next to the task you’ve just finished. This will keep you motivated to complete the full list.
2. Take frequent breaks
Having breaks when working is always essential, especially when you’re supposed to work long hours. Try taking quick breaks every two hours. You can take a walk, call your friend or make another cup of coffee – it’s up to you.
Breaks help us regain our focus and make us more productive. Here’s how a psychology professor Alejandro Lleras, from the University of Illinois, explains that:
“From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks, it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself.”
As he points out, these brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task.
3. Ask for help
Let’s say that you’ve been trying to solve a particular issue at work. You’ve worked extended hours for days and haven’t succeeded.
Whenever you’re exhausted, you need a fresh point of view. The best thing you can do is ask for help from your colleagues. But, before you seek for their advice, ask yourself whether you’ve exploited all simple solutions. If so, then you should consult with your colleagues.
In addition, you can write down the list of the best ideas you’ve come up with so far. Then, feel free to show the list to your colleagues and ask for their opinion. The chances are, maybe you’re on the right path to the solution, but just need a few tweaks.
4. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle
Keeping up a healthy lifestyle should always be your priority, but especially when working too much.
Be sure to follow these simple rules in order to stay healthy during long hours at the office:
By following these simple tips, you could avoid having serious consequences of overtime work.
Working beyond your capabilities not only makes you tired but can cause burnout and impact your health, too. We’ll cover these repercussions in the section below, as well as explain the true meaning of a workaholic.
Burnout is the term we use to describe the feeling of exhaustion caused by overwork or stress. This term was invented by a German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, in 1974.
Overworking can sometimes cause career burnout. This condition is the subject of many kinds of research across the globe. In addition, the World Health Organization and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) have identified burnout as an “occupational phenomenon”.
There are many symptoms of burnout, such as chest pain, dizziness, lack of energy, as well as sleep deprivation. Burnout can even lead to depression.
If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms due to putting in extra hours, it’s time to slow down. Try limiting your workdays to standard working hours.
Now, you might be wondering if too much work makes you a hard worker or a workaholic. Let’s take a close look at these two categories of employees, and learn what sets them apart.
To find an answer to this question, we need to analyze the true meaning of the word workaholic.
The term “workaholic” represents someone with “an uncontrollable need to work incessantly.” This phrase was created by psychologist Wayne E. Oates in 1968.
The most common signs of workaholism are:
Unlike workaholics, who always think about work, hard workers have their ways to disconnect from work.
Here are other differences between workaholics and hard workers:
|Physically obsessed with work||Feels passionate about work|
|Constantly works late||Rarely works late|
|Disregards family life||Keeps the work-life balance|
|Loves being addicted to work||Loves the work itself|
|Works in order to reduce anxiety and depression||Works in order to accomplish own career goals|
|Bad team player||Good team player|
|Experiences work burnout every day||Manages to reduce work burnout|
|Doesn’t delegate||Delegates successfully|
|Never says “no”||Knows how to say “no”|
|Even when not at work, still thinks of work||Appreciates having free time|
These qualities are noted in the research “The Prevalence of Workaholism: A Survey Study in a Nationally Representative Sample of Norwegian Employees”.
As you can see from the table, being a workaholic means being at risk of burnout. On the contrary, hard workers can manage to reduce burnout.
When it comes to the average number of working hours, workaholics constantly stay late. On another note, hard workers rarely work late.
This study has shown us that workaholics love being addicted to work, while hard workers love the work itself. In conclusion, workaholics don’t truly enjoy working. The reason behind their long working hours is their addiction to work.
No matter if you’re a hard worker or a workaholic, be sure that putting in extra hours can have consequences on your health.
Many studies have shown the correlation between overworking and its impact on your physical and mental health.
For instance, there is a study called Association Between Reported Long Working Hours and History of Stroke in the CONSTANCES Cohort. The purpose of this research was to examine whether long working hours (LWH) can cause a stroke. Among the participants, there were some who reported LWH and others who reported LWH for 10 years and more. According to their results, there is a connection between working overtime for 10 years or more and a stroke.
Besides the physical, working for too long can affect your mental health, too. The research published by the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, analyzed long work hours, weekend working and depressive symptoms in men and women. They surveyed 11 215 men and 12 188 women in employment or self-employment in the UK. Their results show that working 55 hours or more is associated with depression among women. Also, weekend working is linked to depressive symptoms for men.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that working overtime will make you ill if you stay late at the office only a few times a year. But, if burning the midnight oil eventually becomes your routine, you might truly experience some health issues.
As we already mentioned, avoid working late when you can. In case this is inevitable, our tips can help you stay healthy during extended hours at work.
Putting in long hours can cause career burnout and impact your health, too. That’s why it’s advisable to avoid staying late at work. In case you have to work late, learn how to make this time more convenient. Organizing your workday properly and adopting a healthy lifestyle will surely do the trick.
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All of us are under pressure at some point in our lives. Chronic, or long-term stress is often the result of high-expectations; usually in a job role. Other ‘acute’ moments of stress may be single-events. This could be having to give a speech, make a presentation, or meet a tight deadline. It is how we deal with the pressure that is important, and that which has captivated psychologists in recent years.
Most people can be divided up into two camps. There are those with a ‘positive’ stress mindset and those with a ‘negative’ stress mindset. If you ever attended university, you might recognise the positive stress-heads. The ones who crammed an entire paper or exam’s worth of notes into one long-night before the deadline. These are the people who tend to think of stress as a challenge. They use it as an opportunity to strengthen motivation, sharpen the mind, and really achieve something.
In contrast, those with ‘negative’ stress mindsets view the entire phenomenon as unpleasant and negative. Not surprisingly, this view is harmful to the body. People with negative mindsets are more likely to engage in self-deprecating humour, which actually invokes more distress. Worse, they tend to go into a situation admitting defeat. When a person already has low expectations of themselves and the work they are doing, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The sufferer tends to sink down to those low expectations.
It isn’t surprising that positive mindset-people are less likely to be stressed out in the wake of difficult life events. But there is hope for their negative peers — because there are ways to unlearn the negative mindset. For example, after listening to a presentation on how stress is actually a good thing, even the most negatively minded people performed better when placed under stressful situations.
Another — albeit strange — remedy for negative stress is to get scared instead. Studies have shown that watching horror movies can temporarily calm the brain, and “recalibrate” emotions. In fact, the more stressed a person was before watching a film, the calmer they felt afterwards.
Time pressure also has the curious quality of being able to make people act more like themselves and to improve decision-making. One study by Fandong Chang and Ian Krajbich forced their volunteers into making tough decisions with money. The more selfish individuals acted more selfishly under time pressure, and the more prosocial people acted more socially. Perhaps crucially, the same study found that, under great time pressure, the experts often make the correct decisions.
Impending moments of acute stress can be very unpleasant, even for more positively minded people. Impending moments can be as varied as a surgeon waiting to go into surgery theatre, to a singer anxiously stepping out in front of a large audience to perform.
What can make the difference between thriving and choking? Research suggests that a text message from a close friend, family member or partner really can help a lot. One study, carried out by psychologist Emily Hooker, found that a simple text message can help to reduce heart rates and blood pressure. The message doesn’t even have to be particularly supportive! Even generic messages work, as long as they remind the brain that there’s someone out there who cares, regardless of what it is they are saying. In the event that no message is received, just visualising someone who you can rely on also works to calm the brain.
Other, not-so-obvious ways to bring down stress in the workplace is to simply make support services available. In a similar way to the mundane text messages above, employees don’t even have to use any of the services for their stress levels to drop. Just knowing that there are counsellors or equipment, or systems in place is enough to reduce the negative mindset of stress.
A common occurrence in high-profile sporting events is for a sportsperson to suddenly choke under pressure. This phenomenon happens when the pressure becomes overwhelming and can lead to a rapid deterioration in technical ability. Male athletes are more than twice as likely to choke when the pressure gets too much. This is because men suffer bigger spikes in the stress-related hormone cortisol when they become stressed.
But there is another stress-related phenomenon in high-profile sports that you might not know about. It is the opposite of choking — psychologists call it ‘clutch performance’. Athletes who experience clutch performance excel under pressure, not the other way round. An analysis of athletes who all showed signs of clutch performance reported feeling completely involved in their task. They become unaware of everything except their objectives — even the audience. But the most important thing that each of the athletes described was this: in such circumstances, they visualise success and never thought about what the consequences would be if they failed.
This feeds back into recent research carried out by the psychologist Vikram Chib. Vikram concluded that altering how you look at the stakes can dramatically reduce the chances of choking. It really is mind over matter, in many cases.
If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you have either a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ stress mindset. This can greatly determine your behaviour in times of pressure. The former naturally have it easier, but not to worry. Negative stress can be unlearned and even turned into a positive thing.
There is still much research to be done but, in the meantime, if you happen to be facing a particularly difficult situation, why not try embracing it — as an opportunity to thrive, develop and grow — and imagine first and foremost, that you have already succeeded?
This article was written by Neil Wright of De-Risk, a strategic programme risk management company based in Surrey, UK.
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By Robin Hills, author of The Authority Guide to Emotional Resilience in Business.
Everyone is working with greater uncertainty, ambiguity and change than ever before and has to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life. Challenges and changes are constant. Some of these may be crises or emergencies that demand your immediate attention.
Difficult situations may be familiar or unfamiliar to you depending upon whether you have experienced them before. You will have developed coping mechanisms and these will help you in dealing with familiar adverse situations and many unfamiliar ones.
You can’t control what happens around you or other people. The self-talk (your inner voice) that you use will drive your thinking and your feelings, leading to the decisions that you make and your subsequent actions and behaviours.
Resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. It is an internal drive often characterised as an inner strength, fortitude or hardiness that relates to how you calmly engage with your environment. Resilience incorporates your physical health, as well as your emotional and mental health, and your well-being.
Coping, however, is adapting your thinking and behaviour to manage demands that exceed the resources available to you or demands that you find taxing.
So being resilient is more than just coping and putting up with stuff. It is about learning through the experience to grow personally and become stronger to deal with difficulties better.
Your resilience will help you to improve your effectiveness and sustain your efforts. Resilience is about rationality and calmness, dealing effectively with – and making the most of – what you experience in everyday life. Resilience is about finding meaning in your work environment and using your core values to interpret and shape events.
1. Feel in control
– Be realistic about what you can and can’t do
– Learn how to say ‘No’ so that you don’t commit to too much
– Tell yourself you can do it and prove yourself to be right
– Communicate your intentions clearly to others, delegate and encourage their support
2. Create a personal vision
– Set yourself clear goals and objectives focusing on what you want to achieve
– Establish a plan of small, achievable steps that will accomplish your goals
– Remain committed, even if events take you away from your plan for a short while
– Remind yourself of what you want to achieve and why
3. Be flexible and adaptable
– Accept and anticipate that situations are going to change so that you can be prepared
– Positively move forward rather than dwelling on how unreasonable or unfair the changes may seem
– Remain focused on your goals and adapt to accommodate the change
4. Get organised
-Create systems and processes that make you efficient
-Be realistic about managing your time
-Tackle big projects by breaking them down into smaller chunks and start to work on them one chunk at a time
-Be aware of, and avoid, anything distracting
5. Develop a mindset for problem-solving
– Gather as much information about the issue as possible
– Define the problem precisely and accurately, evaluating it objectively and from different perspectives
– Generate a number of options, critically review and decide what will work
– Be decisive and take action
6. Get connected
– Look for new opportunities to engage with different people and build your network
– Communicate with empathy
– Look at ways you can get involved and help others with their problems
7. Be socially competent
-Evaluate your existing network to ensure that you can draw upon a variety of backgrounds, skills and experience
– Keep an open mind to broaden your horizons
– Be willing to get support but be selective about the support you need
– Ask people for help on both a practical and an emotional level
8. Be proactive
– Plan ahead and prioritise tasks to be completed
– Act decisively
– Keep on top of less urgent tasks, especially anything that eventually needs to be done
– Identify and develop the skills you will need in the future
– Don’t waste time on truly unnecessary tasks
– Take the lead and become a role model for others
Developing your resilience won’t stop bad or stressful things from happening, but can reduce the level of disruption that stress can have and the time it takes you to recover.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robin Hills is author of ‘The Authority Guide to Emotional Resilience in Business: Strategies to manage stress and weather storms in the workplace’. Published by SRA Books as part of the Authority Guides series of pocket-sized business books. www.authorityguides.co.uk
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