Stress at Work? – Here’s some information that will help – As a human being your resources are not infinite, they are finite.
My guess is that, if we were at work together, I’d be admiring your values right now.
Your great attention to detail maybe? Your amazing patience or stamina? Perhaps it would be your constant efficiency or kindness?
These values are positive. They may have got you this great career and, if you have enough energy to keep them up, that’s fine.
As a therapist though I know that each of these worthy values comes with some ‘internal messages’ like (in the same order as above) ‘Don’t make a mistake’, ’Keep trying’, ‘Don’t show your feelings’ , ‘Don’t waste time’ or ‘Don’t say “No”’.
These internal messages are quite demanding and can result in internal pain or internal stress (You may have external stresses too like a new team, a new manager, a new home or a recent loss).
In our early family taking these values very seriously (e.g. achievement, strength) was likely to have been a way to stay ‘OK’ around a parent-figure. This parent-figure may have even modelled the values themselves.
Those days are gone. If you’re experiencing internal pain by holding onto these values so tightly, by complying with the internal messages so strictly, then things need to change.
As human beings our resources are limited and this limitation needs to be accounted for. It’s really hard on yourself to expect to comply with these tough internal messages 100% of the time. It’s hurting you.
Here’s what to do;
- Download, print & complete the ‘Driver Questionnaire’ to get an idea for which groups of messages or ‘Drivers’ are contributing to your internal stress.
- For each of the Drivers that are significant for you read the relevant blog post to get further information. Are you;
Being Perfect – The Quest for Perfection
Aiming to Please – Saying ‘Yes’ when we mean ‘No’
Hurrying Up – Rushing and Cramming Lots In
Being Strong – Keeping Calm and Carrying On
Trying Hard – The Endless Struggle
Getting Help with Stress at Work
If your stress is resulting in physical symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, diarrhoea, vomiting, skin rashes etc. then get an appointment with your GP to talk about this.
Using this blog as a ‘self-help’ guide is a great way to get started on the underlying issues. In fact, for clients who present at my therapy practice with ‘stress’ the driver questionnaire is often where we begin our work.
However, everyone is different and any self-help process can only offer ideas in general terms. It may be that making a change involves going against these old ‘internal messages’ and at that point ‘self-help’ tends to run out of steam.
Why not book an initial assessment session with a counsellor/therapist who is registered with a nationally recognised professional body (such as BACP or UKCP in the UK)?