An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.
Over the past year we have seen the impacts of the economy on corporate and global levels, but there are also many significant challenges that individuals are facing on a personal front. The most obvious of which is job loss, which leads to a significant adjustment in individuals lives and often causes heightened stress. The loss of jobs has led to increased calls to crisis lines and more individuals struggling with depression and anxiety. There has even been a 20% increase in the number of suicide attempts from last year which has been attributed to individuals struggling after the loss of work.
However, it is not only those that have lost their job that are struggling. Many people who still have work continue to live in fear that they may be next and that they too could be out of a job at the next round of layoffs. Even if they have been reassured that their job is safe workload often increases as there are not as many people in the workplace to complete projects and they are expected to do more with less. What many do not realize is that this increased workplace stress has been compared to the effects of second-hand smoke on the body – it can literally be killing us. Research conducted out of Harvard and Stanford University has shown that individuals who struggle with chronic workplace stress (high demands, threat of job loss…) have significantly greater likelihood of health issues, including premature death.
Whether we have lost our job or are still working, it can seem like a lose-lose situation. Nevertheless, it is not all doom and gloom; there are individuals who continue to thrive in the face of stress. This is not a genetic trait but a choice. The key to dealing with adversity is resilience, which stems from the choices that we make every day. Resilient individuals make sure that their self-care takes priority in life to mitigate the effects of stress. The most important choices that we make each day to manage stress will depend on how long we choose to sleep, what we choose to eat, how much exercise we get, choosing to dedicate time to relaxation and spending time with friends and family. Moreover, setting healthy boundaries and knowing our own limits are also essential to thrive in the face of stress. Most important is our perception. When we have a negative perception of life or our ability to deal with life, it leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy – failure. Maintaining a positive outlook and having an action plan, which we actually act upon, to address stress will significantly reduce the negative pressures that we face day to day. Change the way you look at the world and the world changes for you.