Letting yourself reach the point where you are burnt out, worn down and used up is a threat to your dreams, goals and your life's happiness. The physical manifestation of burnout, or an overload of stress, is your body's natural response to the pressures you are placed under and that place it under during the course of your day. Worse yet when you place yourself in a stressful situation in your mind through worry and fret, your body reacts as if physically placed in that situation. Your body's natural defenses go into action.
Perhaps you are stressed and anxious about an upcoming interview, big presentation or sales meeting. But your body's natural defenses are reacting as if a gang of thugs cornered you in a dark alley. Your heart quickens, you become sweaty, and your thoughts are broken and scattered. Too much stress can actually wear you down, as your body fights to keep up this level of defense. You can easily see how this will negatively impact your effectiveness towards accomplishing your goals.
But at the root level the cause of the stress is more the issue than the stress itself. This root cause is what really can generate a sense of hopelessness, a reduction in productivity, bear a heavy weight on relationships, shatter dreams, and in some cases even result in chemical dependency.
However, you can learn to response to your stress and anxiety in a manner that will avoid these horror stories and stop the disaster before it destroys your road to success.
Signs that your stress is reaching the danger zone:
Bored (not just when there is nothing to do)
Do not feel appreciated/loved/cared for
Short Fuse - quick to get angry
Frequently/Constantly tired or exhausted
Hate getting up in the morning (often don't)
Frequently being late to work, meetings, etc.
Frequently Forgetting things (tasks, items, date etc.)
Feeling hopeless (no light at the end of the tunnel)
Alcohol or drug consumption increasing
Having trouble with a number of these signs? Well then you could be doing battle with burnout. Burnout is a slow burn and can come upon you so leisurely that you do not even realize it. Listen to your body (and your friends). Knowing is step one to winning the burnout battle.
This topic does not go over well with some. Often it goes over the least with the determined, go-getters of the world. They say, "Bah, I'm just doing what I do best. Getting ahead, getting things done. Sure I burn the mid-night oil but that's how I get ahead." These highly motivated and un-wavering people are at the highest level of risk. They become inundated with their high expectations of themselves and their enthusiasm to achieve their dreams.
If you are passionate about being a success. If you feel the need to be in control all the time. And if you frequently over commit yourself with tasks and responsibilities, then you too are at risk of becoming a contender in the burnout battle.
Attitude and a positive viewpoint of your life will positively influence your vulnerability. As I said earlier, it is your attitude toward a demand or pressure rather than the actual demand or pressure that causes the stress. Learn to manage your stress. Now this sometimes means making the tough decisions. Remembering to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Accepting responsibility for your well being and making positive life choices. Take the time to list the things that are causing you undo stress (the root causes. List them all - even the ones that you enjoy but still result in stress. Once you complete the list, break it into two categories; conditions you can change and conditions you cannot change.
Sit down and work out a plan to resolve the stressful conditions that you can change. Then work the plan. Remember, coming up with the plan alone won't do it. You have to work the plan and remove the stress from your life and from you list.
As for the conditions that you are unable to change. Look at better ways to react to them. The conditions themselves aren't causing the stress; your attitude/reaction to the conditions is causing the stress. Some of the material I have shared with you in the past (last issue on Attitude for example) can prepare you to better react to these conditions positively. You can't stop these waves of stress, so learn to surf them.
(C) Tracy Brinkmann, all rights reserved
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