Many factors affect individual well-being, and their weight varies over time. When you’re young, for instance, physical appearance tends to heavily influence your self-esteem. A breakout of acne calls for immediate treatment with peroxide cleanserbenzoyl. Otherwise, your confidence might suffer.
Most adults would cite stress as a major factor in their well-being. Stress is tied to many other determinants, but concerns regarding money and work are the two most significant sources of personal stress. These often go together, as the need for money induces us to take on greater occupational stress.
The average person will work around 90,000 hours in their lifetime. Improving work-related stress, therefore, could be the best leverage we have to improve our well-being. The key to doing so may lie in a practice that many adults have forgotten: writing in a journal.
Pervasive, inevitable stress
Collectively speaking, our jobs have been the biggest source of personal stress over the past few decades. And this effect has only grown more pronounced over the years.
If you feel as though you spend far more time working than your official hours would indicate, it’s not an illusion. Modern devices allow us to stay connected all the time, which allows the office to pervade our lives. Even when you’re at home, spending time with your family, you’re seldom further than a text or email away from job-related concerns.
Work-related stress is certainly inevitable. And having to deal with it on a chronic basis will definitely have negative effects on your well-being.
But our response to this form of stress can effectively determine its long-term effects. And stress can have a positive effect rather than a negative one.
Changing our response
This form of stress is termed ‘eustress.’ The research shows that individuals who report high levels of work-related stress can nevertheless enjoy a heightened sense of well-being due to this positive switch.
What enables some workers to turn things around and make stress an asset? The underlying mechanism has to do with our response.
For most people, stress triggers anxiety, worry, or tension. They don’t recognize that these are just feelings. If you think about it, feelings arise because you care about something, and they can be fleeting. But a lot of workers fail to make that distinction.
We’re often too busy to acknowledge what we feel or why certain stimuli induce a stress response. This deprives us of the opportunity to reframe stress positively and respond differently to repeated instances of those stressors.
A growth narrative
Writing in a journal is a well-known therapeutic practice. It allows us to slow things down amid a busy world, reflect on major life events, and be more mindful in general.
With an eye towards managing your work-related stress, however, journaling can be an excellent intervention. That sense of being overwhelmed with work is a response you can control. But you can only do so if you are cognizant of your feelings and give yourself the time and space to process them.
Journaling isn’t the solution to everything, of course. Employers still have to ensure that their people aren’t poorly managed or chronically overworked.
But by taking the time to tell your story to yourself, you can reframe the narrative of work-related events. And this will allow you to perceive stressors as challenges rather than hindrances. You can step up to them and grow.