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Evaluate your ideals to deal with stress

How to stay resilient at work

The word “stress” seems to be synonymous with modern life, especially when it comes to work. But where does it come from and what can we do about it? Zen Habits’ Leo Babauta says we should evaluate our ideals to find the answers.

Babauta says the root cause of stress is the mismatch of reality versus our ideals. We want things to be a certain way, whether that means having a stable job or colleagues that we get along with, and when reality doesn’t match our expectations, we get stressed.

Once we understand what stresses us, we can then start to deal with it in a constructive way. Babauta comments that there are three main steps to managing anxiety and pressure:

  • Notice stress – Learn to recognise your frustration as a sign that something is wrong so you can do something about it before it becomes a problem.
  • Notice your attachment to the ideal – Explore your expectations and how the current situation does or doesn’t fit in with them. Once you understand your own ideals, you can learn to embrace the stress in order to achieve the final step.
  • Let go of your ideals – Sometimes it’s best to lower your expectations to adjust to the situation. You can’t always change your circumstances, but you can adapt in order to lower your stress levels.

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