There are times when life catches us out, and our mood plummets. I’ve been thinking about some easy tips that can help deflect us from gloomy thoughts and low mood. I hope these three first-aid tips may help…
(1) Physiological control:
Stress is physical and its effects are actual physical consequence. Agitation, shallow breathing, raised pulse – the hormone adrenaline is flowing – and is physically felt.
Taking physiological control helps to calm, soothe, and slow down overthinking and racing thoughts, as well as pacify bodily systems hyped up by stress.
Breathe deeply and exhale shallow de-oxygenated air held in the lungs. Getting fresh air inside you will invigorate you. Ground yourself by naming and touching things around you, talk to yourself by naming what you can see and touch nearby, and even smell, if you have flowers or other aromatics nearby. This all deflects the mind — and as your mind can only deal with one thought at a time, intentional distractions shift the focus away from what was causing you stress and lessens their effect on you..
If you have a supportive partner, family member or friend, do tell them you are feeling low – they don’t need to know the details, only that you’re just feeling a bit low and would appreciate them being there for you, even for just a moment. Distractions through conversations also shift your focus away from stress. Everyone gets stressed out now and again, and everyone knows what it’s like. So, as we do far more for others we care about than we ever do for ourselves, just ask! Most will be grateful to you for calling on their support — even though your social anxiety may be sky-high and you may be reluctant to “burden” others; but the truth is that we like to be asked for help as it makes us feel valued, and gives us a shot of dopamine, the feel-good hormone.
Not convinced? A great way to “test” this is to try it out when you are NOT stressed. You can just say you’re feeling a bit down and could do with some support: nothing major, just a bit fed up — and see what happens. This is not to suggest trying it with everyone in the office! But trying it once or twice when you’re NOT feeling too deflated — or perhaps when you feel it might happen soon, and you may well be surprised just how supportive people can be. So when you really DO need help, you will know it’s literally there for the asking, rather than your inner critic telling you that you’re best not to bother anyone because no-one really cares.
(3) Regain your perspective: what has worked for you?
Do remember the words of Michael Montaigne: “My life has been full of misfortunes, most of which never happened.” If you can anticipate a worst-case scenario and know you can deal with that – you’ve massively empowered yourself. You KNOW you can cope. This deflects pressures and stresses from getting to you. Also, recall great moments in your life – really get fully back there to that fantastic time/joyful moment, and chest-bursting moment of pride. We’ve all had them, even though you may have forgotten! We don’t recall happy memories so much as re-create them. So make a conscious effort to recreate happier times. And, as you can only focus on one thought at a time, you take control and choose the thoughts you DO want to focus on, rather than the ones you don’t.
These aren’t intended as anything other than a “quick fix” to deflect those gloomy thoughts and deflated feelings. But hopefully they will give you ideas of practical steps you can take to move from thoughts controlling you, to you taking control of your thoughts.
It’s often been said that an organisation – non-profit or otherwise — is only as healthy as the people that comprise it. And stress in the workplace is now quite literally reaching a crisis point. The world of work is currently besieged by a whole raft of problems that gravely undermine well-being as well as productivity, a few examples of which include:
- alcohol/drug abuse
- poor work-life balance
- excess stress
- inter-personal conflict.
Current surveys show that there is also widespread additional stress and disquiet experienced by women trying to balance the demands of home/careers.
Although many wellness initiatives have traditionally tried to help with physical well-being, few are effective at removing the stresses that undermine the mind to function effectively.
So how can your organisation blossom and flourish?
Almost every issue or problem that detracts from better quality lives is driven by psychological and/or emotional forces. There has never been a more timely need for individuals to learn how better to manage their thoughts, emotions and beliefs — and in so doing, be more in charge of their lives, instead of being manipulated by other people and circumstances. And you know only too well that most people would like nothing more than finding a way to bring about positive, lasting changes for themselves. So what organsation would not benefit from their people achieving that?
Workplaces with a minimum of stress and optimal engagement will always out-perform those where employees dread coming into work.
If you work in, or know of, a business or public sector organisation that would benefit from our genuinely innovative way of achieving a happier workplace, you have only to get in touch.