Stressed at work? This article will change your mind about how you view the relationship between stress from work and happiness so that you can finally find happiness exactly where you are.
Getting Back to The Basics
There are things that belong to your home country that you did not see the value of until you move away from it. It could be the simple cup of tea or the music sung by the wild birds in your garden. It is easy to take things for granted until we lose it or live away from it. Perhaps when you are in a place where it is no longer readily available, you realise the importance of it for the first time. Happiness and inner peace
To find out how to get it back, we have to look at the world of work in order to figure out stress and how it relates to happiness.
We live in a world where most of our basic needs had been met a long ago. A world where there is more stuff than we could ever use them. Yet we continue to drown ourselves in the mountains of material goods and gadgets.
Don’t get me wrong, I personally like having material things including useful gadgets.
Are you shopping in compensation to how stressed you feel inside? Are you buying ‘stuff’ to aid your emotional needs perhaps for temporary happiness?
This includes shopping for new cars, new clothes, new gadgets and new home one after another. You might be doing this by spending money as soon as you earn some.
Is it because you feel the pressure to keep up with the trend, neighbours, friends and social group you belong to? Or perhaps you want to prove to others (and yourself) that you are doing quite well, (meaning, superficially happy and successful). Since some people measure the level of success with the market value of their possessions, they cannot stop this vicious circle of material gathering. It’s like a drug that
So we continue to buy more things we don’t even need as if, they will bring us lasting joy.
But do they?
Superficial Happiness and True Happiness
In 2015, a survey commissioned by Virgin stated that ‘51% of full-time UK employees said they have experienced anxiety or ‘burnout’ in their current job’. In another study the same year, almost half (45 per cent) of employees said they didn’t have enough time each week to do personal activities.
Three years on in 2018, how did this change?
526,000 workers in the UK suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17 according to Health and Safety Executive research published in 2018.
The scientist tells us that our brain has not caught up in its evolution with the speed at which our lives changed over the last few decades. The industrial revolution and the advancement in technologies have transformed our lives beyond recognition. But our brain still works like the way we used to live. Think about the lives our previous generations used to lead before the industrial revolution.
A long ago, our lives were simpler, slow paced, and more locally based.
Instead, people are now living and working in much faster environment where competition is fierce both at work and in social life. We often travel long distances just to get to work each day. Having to be continually productive and proving our worth has made our brain stay in the constant state of ‘fight or flight’ mode. But this was what we used to use our brain in the past to only deal with critically dangerous situations.
What seems to have happened is that people who are in this state of ‘fight or flight’ day after day have exhausted themselves, burned out, stressed and or depressed. This is no way ideal to find happiness in the present.
We continue to struggle to balance work and life and to find happiness.
In this fast moving world, we are unable to see that beauty of our life lies within us. We waste time and energy, often because of daily exhaustion. We take our life for granted as if this body and soul are here to last infinitely. We focus on future achievements and the next goal when what we strive to get is already here.
It is time we get the balance right.
In my other article, I discuss the phrase like work-life balance as it did not get used so much in our parents’ generation. It is now that we miss this balance, we yearn to get it back.
What are we doing about it at work?
Many forward-thinking employers have begun to take this seriously. They have realised that simply providing them with a private medical package as a company benefit no longer counts as ‘helpful’. Employers are waking up to the fact that giving an intangible benefit of helping employees find happiness and a better balance is more beneficial to the company. They have noticed that rejuvenated employees are what is needed to retain good staff.
As we understand the relationship between our mind and body, we know that stress hormones produced during chronic stress or constant pressure actually damage us physiologically, too. Physiological symptoms manifest themselves in many different ways such as pain or swelling, leading to weakening of our immune system. This might then cause permanent damages to cells, eventually causing physical diseases. Sometimes such diseases are incurable and affect our well being in many ways.
There is a Japanese proverb, yamai wa ki kara, which translates ‘illness comes from the state of your mind’.
When your mind is healthy, your body will sync and, you will experience optimal health.
How to reduce stress and find happiness
Let’s talk about how you can change this and get your balance back.
The fact is most people spend 8-10 hours a day working. That is 50%-70% of weekdays. That is why most people have to cram every other activity at the weekend and end up not having time to de-stress, relax or rejuvenate in preparation for the new working week.
So the question is, do you enjoy what you do? As it takes up a major part of your waking hours, you can see how important it is for you to enjoy what you do for work. Whether this is for earning money or activities you do to build your business.
Because you spend many hours each day doing this, it needs to be an activity that you in your heart truly feels ‘right’.
When it does, it should bring out the best version of yourself.
This might mean questioning not only your job role and what you do for your job but also whom you work with and the organisation you belong to.
They are very important questions to ask if you have not done so recently which will help you find happiness.
Are you satisfied with what you do for work and its future prospects despite some ups and downs that is to be expected?
Do you connect well with people you work and associate with? Is working with them uplifting and replenish good energy for all concerned?
Do you agree with how your company or organisation you work with treat their people? Do you believe their business is in line with your own ethical standards?
When I worked as an employee, I heard my colleagues mutter something like, ‘the money’s good but the job is s***’. Other times I heard, ‘I hate my job but I can’t leave because I will not find another job that pays as well as this one’.
So they stay and put up with it for a few more years and in some cases even until retirement. All because they ‘believe’ they do not have a choice. They seem to think that there is some kind of an external force preventing them from moving on or has placed them in this predicament without hope. They have not yet worked out how to reduce work stress and find happiness right now.
You may know someone like this. Or you might be one of those people who is feeling helpless at the moment.
If you are someone who has always worked for yourself, you probably don’t understand what it is like to be trapped in this sort of situation. But for those who have only been an employee are often unaware of their own power to change their situation. Usually this is until something drastic happens and they are forced to make a change.
This seemingly serious inability to change their situation usually stems from a fear of unknown and or lack of confidence in themselves.
Sure it is sometimes scary to leave your job and start your own business. It seems a crazy thing to do to change your job to a slightly lower paid one. But equally that job might be what you really want to do. Then a fear kicks in. You don’t know whether you can afford to live without the level of financial comfort you got used to having.
But that is because you have not found a way to value something more fundamentally important. That is your well-being.
Are you choosing the salary, the benefits, the convenience, the status or even the company brand over your personal well-being? If so, I am sorry to say you will find yourself to be always ‘stuck’.
Who is in control of your destiny?
But when you start to choose what you do for work, based on your own values and life’s purpose, you will enjoy inner peace, total balance and fulfilment and joy.
You will realise that there was no need to fear and you should have made this transition much earlier. And that it is possible to regain control of your life’s journey.
You have to develop trust in yourself. You will find a way to make it work. Soon the only stress you encounter is a different kind altogether. You will find happiness and true success will arrive.
If you are already doing what you love but have not yet found happiness. Connect with me to find out how.