Reduce stress at work. Get rid of “Stinkin Thinkin”

There are no victims, just volunteers

This is a quote my friend Dr. Phil McAllister often states. I think you can understand that no one is making you respond to stressful situations a particular way, you’re choosing to respond a particular way (and here is the important point) most likely out of habit. We run on auto pilot most of the time and most aren’t even aware of what they are saying. Thus if you learned some new ways or new habits of responding you can gain control and reduce your stress. Becoming aware of how you describe work, your situation etc is the first step so you’ll need to start keeping track of what stresses you, how you responded and whether or not your response was successful.

Stinkin Thinkin

Another friend, Dr. Bob Folkard, who has many years of clinical practice, shared something with me that had a great impact on my understanding of stress, its influence on health and it’s impact on work stress. He said “Robert, so many people are unhappy and stressed because of their “stinkin thinkin”. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Listen to how they talk. Their inner voice is so negative. They find fault, criticize and are so sceptical about everything. They’re always focusing on and finding what’s wrong with things and life instead of looking for and finding what’s good and what’s right! (Is this due to all the negative and fear mongering news?)
In life, you get what you focus on and what you focus on expands! If one is always finding fault and finding what’s wrong with life instead of looking for and finding the good things, the positives, how do you think their reality will be?

What’s the connection between these points? You maybe choosing non supporting words (stinkin thinkin) without even knowing you’re doing it. You’re “volunteering”. As just described, you may need to become more aware of the words you choose to describe how you respond and interpret situations. Again, a vital component to reducing stress is expanding your circle of control. But you also have to be aware of where the stress is coming from. Lets look at work stress.

Is it work?

To manage work related stress you need to know what’s triggering the stress you feel. Is it the job or is it you? What do I mean by that? At work, is it the amount of work you are experiencing that leads to a sense of over load or overwhelmed feeling? Is the lack of job satisfaction? Is it a co-worker or is one of those nasty bosses on your case all the time? Is it the shift work that’s running you down or the huge commute? Or is it a communication problem such as unreal expectations, lack of direction or clarity of tasks to be completed? As well, you may have heard of sick building syndrome. Is some sort of toxicity affecting you and making you feel stressed? All of the above?!

Or is it you!

It’s time for a reality check. How’s you’re attitude? Does the job “suck” or is it your attitude towards the job? How do you describe work? What do you say about it and the people you work with under your breath or when you are with friends? What are the words you consistently choose to describe it?

Is work fun, enjoyable, stimulating, engaging, titillating and/or rewarding? Do you ever tell yourself that “wow, I’m so luck to have a great job like this let alone any job”? or “What did I do to get so lucky”? Or do you get pulled into the low-grade language most use at work. Negative negative, negative!
If you want to breakout of this pattern, regain control and get rid of your stinkin thinkin here is what you can do. Help others first! What do I mean by this? Well as a human it seem easier for us to find fault in others before we find fault with ourselves. So start listening for all the negative coming from others and approach them or call them on it. You could say something like “Hey Robert can I repeat what I just heard you say?” When they say ok repeat it and ask them why it was so negative. Is that what you really meant? I thought you might want to know what others are thinking! Do this with tack and maybe in private for some.
The good news is once you start noticing this trend in others you will quickly notice it in yourself so you can correct the words you are choosing. You become empowered, you gain control and you become a better person to be around! And your relationships improve. You help others and you grow as as well. NICE!

Don’t be a victim and stop your stinkin thinkin!

The second thing you can do, that changed everything for me in my life, start asking yourself how you can make work more fun, more enjoyable and more rewarding! Keep asking these questions over and over and soon they become second nature. Look for the good and you will find it! And remember what you focus on expands. Focus on the positives, the good and guess what? That’s what you will get. This gives you a huge amount of control in your work and life. And this will greatly reduce your stress at work.

I hope this serves you well. Until next time.

Best of health and spirits. Robert Ridpath