CLEVELAND – Most people who have been in the workforce know what it feels like to be stressed out by their job.
Scott Bea, PsyD, of Cleveland Clinic, said when we find ourselves with too much work-related stress, it’s actually helpful to stay present and stay focused on the task at hand.
“Stay dutiful to your mission, because if you’re really involved in the task, it takes your mind off yourself,” said Dr. Bea. “We know that happy people are engaged with their work and we know that unhappy workers are engaged with their thoughts about work.”
Dr. Bea said when we’re subjected to a work atmosphere that is intimidating or perhaps even unsafe, it not only inhibits our performance, but it can impact our mood, even when we go home.
On the way home, we tend to drag the workday with us in our thoughts, and then we talk to the people in our household about our problems – which, according to Dr. Bea, just keeps the stress alive and forces us to re-live it.
He said finding a way to actually depart from the work day while commuting home is a good place to start.
Dr. Bea suggests listening to music that helps put the mind right in the moment that you’re in. Even just taking in the sights and sounds of the trip can help. Likewise, taking the ‘long’ way home can relieve us of the pressure of rush hour traffic.
“Listen to an audio book, or something else that’s delighting you, so that you’re not considering work too very much,” said Dr. Bea. ”You’re typically not getting paid to think about work on the way home, and you ought to let that be. Some separation between work life and home life – anything that puts you in the ‘now’ – is good medicine.”
Dr. Bea said anything that can get our minds in the present and out of the work day will benefit our psyche.
“One of the great de-stressors is to be presently aware and I think one thing that people don’t do very much is pay attention to what’s really going on,” he said.