Humans are constantly made to feel overworked and stressed in the modern world. To make things worse, technology has forced everyone to remain on toes by bombarding people with more information than their mind can absorb. This blog is the perfect guide to help you find solace by being mindful of your actions. It will help you increase self-awareness which you can use to keep your mind from dwelling into unchartered territories without your permission.
Why Do You Feel So Overworked and Stressed?
We are presently living in the world where every one of us is trying to juggle several balls at a time in an attempt to get things done effectively and efficiently. We are pushed to the limits by our coworkers as well as our senior managers to make sure that all the deadlines or pending work has been completed.
One of the key factors behind being overworked and stressed is because of Great Recession in 2008 which forced many well-renowned corporations to reduce their staff to cut down the cost of operating a business. This move resulted in significantly reduced manpower but with additional burden of responsibilities, pushing employees beyond their capability of absorbing stress.
In addition, technological advancement has also turned several people into zombies who are increasingly getting obsessed with their work-related commitments since portable gadgets like smartphones do not allow them to switch off their brains to recuperate.
If it is not about work, many people have become overwhelmed with the constant inflow of information from all the corners of the world into their smartphone devices as they surf the internet to get updated. Considering these issues, one of the best remedies to prevail in a highly stressful environment is by forcing yourself to be in the present moment.
To increase your brain’s capacity to stay in the present moment, you have to practice being mindful. Instead of overwhelming yourself with everything around you, you must train your mind to stay in the present moment by learning to become mindful.
Practice Mindfulness to Avoid Being Overburdened and Exhausted
Being mindful is about being aware of your thoughts. When you are mindful of what you think, you can learn to discipline your mind and keep it from dwelling into unchartered territories that can be harmful for your overall well-being.
When you know what you are thinking about, you can control it and avoid negative thoughts to enter your mind. When you become mindful of your thoughts, you can assess your external environment and decide the course of action accordingly.
The reason why some people remain so calm even under the most challenging and stress-oriented situations is because they train their mind to stay calm which allows them to assess their external environment and find a way out as their intention to resolve a problem becomes clearer. However, there are certain barriers that you can face on your way to developing mindfulness and they are as following:
- Mental Chatter
- Lack of Awareness in your Story
How Meditation Can Help Avoid Being Overworked and Stressed
Your body consists of autonomic nervous system or ANS which has three complementary subdivisions such as: the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and enteric nervous system. The fight or flight response of your body is associated with SNS. Every time you come across a danger or any kind of stress evoking situation, your SNS gets activated.
Your PNS is also referred to as the rest and digest system, which helps you step back and analyze the whole situation calmly and decide the course of action. When there is SNS and PNS are in a state of harmony, it enhances your ability to cope with stressful situations without getting panicked.
If you constantly remain in a fight or flight response due to getting overworked and stressed, it affects your ability to think clearly. It clouds your memory and you lose your way as you are no longer capable of making decisions with clarity of mind.
However, incorporation of regular meditation into your routine can be very helpful for you. When you meditate, you just close your eyes and engage your lungs in deep inhalation and exhalation of breath for ten minutes. Every time you take a deep breath, you focus your mind which trains your brain to develop rest and digest.
The good thing about regular meditation is that even if you do it for two minutes on a daily basis, it can condition your mind to absorb pressure and stress-oriented situations and this will increase your capacity to function better regardless.
Become Aware of Your Internal Life GPS
You may not realize but you already have an internal Life GPS which regularly shows up when you are completely immersed in a particular activity and giving it all you have to make it as good as possible. To achieve this kind of mental state, you need to practice being mindful and steer into the right direction.
To determine your life GPS, the first question you need to ask yourself is how you feel when you are in the zone. You need to reflect your physical, mental and spiritual state when you are at your best. It is the state of your mind when you feel highly productive and comfortable.
The second question you need to ask yourself is the kind of routines that enable you to be at your best. Identify what triggers you to expand your domination to achieve excellence and repeat them to reinforce such a state.
One of the best ways to consistently remain in the best state of mind is to have routines in your life because they also help you avoid feeling overworked and stressed. Your routines that define your Life GPS mainly consist of four important aspects:
The third important thing that you need to realize is the impact showing up at your best on a regular basis can have in three main aspects of your life:
- Home life
- Work life
- Life in broader community
Recall Your Best Moments
Every person has a different way of summoning up his best as everyone is different in many ways. What works for others may not work for you. Thus, the best approach in this regard is to have increased self-knowledge. You can find a quiet place, away from all sorts of distractions and introspect what brought the best in you and what it looks like. The following five-step process may help you determine that:
Step 1: Find a Quiet Place
Step 2: Remember When you Were in the Zone
Step 3: Remember How It Felt
Step 4: Look for Common Denominators
Step 5: Congratulate Yourself
However, at times, despite all your efforts to be at your best, you may come across certain obstacles on your way that you can also refer to as uber factors and they are as following:
- Kinks in the Hose
- Too Much of a Good Thing
- Playing Against your Strengths
Emulate Successful People to Avoid Being Overworked and Stressed?
Most of the successful and top-quality professionals in the world make one commitment to themselves and that is to take responsibility of intentionally managing their time to be able to consistently perform to the best of their ability and it is their top secret.
If you make the same kind of commitment to yourself, there is no reason that you will not be able to show up your best and avoid feeling overworked and stressed. If you are committed to managing your time more effectively, you can incorporate the following ten best time management practices into your routine:
- Recognize and Overcome the Tyranny of the Present
- Ask yourself, “Is This Really Even Necessary?”
- Push Your Calendar’s Reset Button
- Understand and Set Your Operating Rhythm
- Schedule the Most Important Rocks First
- Give Yourself Time for Unconscious Thought
- Set Boundaries and Guardrails
- Use Yes and No Strategically
- Tame the Distraction Dragon
- Consider Your Impact
The good thing about all these practices is that you do not need to adopt all of them at once. In fact, if you do that, you are going to invite more problems in your life in shape of getting overworked and stressed.
You Are What You Repeatedly Do
Showing up at your best consistently is a matter of setting appropriate routines around your working hours. Different people follow different kinds of routines to enable them to be at their best and you need to identify your own in this regard.
However, some of the most common routines that highly successful people incorporate in their life are meditation, a brief sprinting session early in the morning or yoga as these routines help them become more mindful that in turn help them perform at their best when at work.
It is important to set these kinds of routines around your work life as they can help you keep going. They will not make you feel as if you are following a mundane and monotonous weekday. They can help you set your rhythm and balance in key areas of your life such as your physical, mental, relational and spiritual well-being.
If you want to find out how you choose and follow the routines that may work for you, the following seven principles can help you with that:
- Strive for rhythm, not balance.
- Start where you are.
- Feed your sweet spot.
- Choose what is easy to do and likely to make a difference.
- Ditch the dogma.
- Take baby steps.
- Remember that less is more.
Now, the question is how you can turn the routines that you may find it easier to follow. You need to remember that every time you are in the process of forming a new habit, you go through a cycle consisting of cue, routine and reward where the cue helps you remember that you have to practice a particular behavior and once you do that, the consequence of following it forms a feedback loop which serves as an incentive for you to repeat the behavior and soon, it becomes a new habit.
Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Your physical health plays an important role in almost everything you do in your life. When your health is compromised, it affects every aspect associated with how you live. It affects your work, mood, productivity and even your relationship with others.
Before you move on to setting bigger goals to achieve, your daily routine must have physical routines to promote your overall health and mental well-being. You can start with incorporating movement routines like yoga, Zumba, cycling, running, walking and weight lifting in your life.
All these activities are closely associated with rhythmic elements that are repetitive in nature and enable your body to get rid of toxic substances from the system and that also include anxiety evoking hormones.
Having routines that allow movement of your body are also free of cost and portable as you can practice them anywhere you want to. It increases your productivity and builds confidence. All you need to do is to try each of these movement activities and determine which works best for you and make it a permanent fixture in your life.
An ideal length of time for each of these routines could vary from merely 10 to 45 minutes every day and the best time to do them is early in the morning before heading to your workplace as it will help you feel good and energized for the rest of the day.
Moreover, never overlook the benefits quality sleep can have on your mind and body. When you are sleep-deprived, you become irritable as your ability to think becomes clouded and that certainly affects how you make decisions. An ideal timespan to get quality sleep ranged from seven to eight hours per day.
Thus, to be able to get good amount of sleep, you must avoid using your smartphone, watching television and turning off the lights as it signals your brain that your body is ready to sleep. Taking naps at your workplace is also a healthy way to boost your productivity and help you avoid feeling overworked and stressed.
Establish healthy eating routines to strengthen the immune system of your body. Avoid foods containing sugar and saturated fats because they can cause diabetes, diabetes mellitus, impaired cognition and coronary heart diseases.
When eating your lunch, make sure that you are not at your workstation or multitasking as doing so may lead you to make poor food choices. As you establish healthy routines, keep three things in your mind:
- Check your ego at the door.
- Moderation in all things.
- Work with Change.
A Beautiful Mind
It is normal for everyone to experience random thoughts coming to the mind during a day but they can clutter your mind with irrational things. When you are working, you need to be completely focused on the task at hand but when your mind starts wandering around, it means that you need to seriously do something about it to avoid feeling overworked and stressed.
Usually, most of the thoughts that come to your mind are related to past like a regret or remorse about something you were not supposed to do or engage in, they can be about the present such as rush of adrenaline pumping through your blood making you anxious as you experience something out of your routine or they can be about how you are going to handle a certain x,y,z situation; something that is yet to happen and may probably never manifest.
You need to put a big STOP to all these thoughts by taking some deep breaths, observing your surroundings and yourself, gather all of your thoughts and simply proceed. In other words, you need to deliberately put an end to your fight or flight response and erase all the clutter from your mind and intensify your focus to what is happening around you and what practical measures you can take to do something about the present situation.
One of the best ways to clear your mind from the clutter is to practice mindfulness meditation daily as it is very powerful to calm your mind down. It does not take too much on your part as it just consists of deep breathing exercises by inhaling through your nose and slowly exhaling through the mouth.
As you breathe deeply, place one hand on your belly and feel it expanding and contracting as you inhale and exhale deeply. If your mind starts wandering around, you can bring it back by forcing it to focus on breathing. Initially, you may find it hard to do it for 15 to 20 minutes but even doing it for 2 minutes at the start can be extremely energizing for you and as you gain more control, you can increase the time.
Importance of Having Strong Relationships
We are living in an era where use of smartphones is rampant and we constantly feel a need to check it after every few minutes. Most of us become so immersed in using our phones that we do not realize that we are ignoring some people around us.
While spending time with our key members of our family or even someone from our workplace, we have a tendency to keep a keen eye on our phones as we anticipate someone else who is not around us physically to contact us. We also get tempted to visit social media websites frequently while with some other person.
All these aspects have the ability to affect our relationship with other people in a negative way as we unconsciously ignore them when using our smartphone device in their presence. The message we give them is that they are not important as we skim through text messages on our phones.
The reason why having strong relationships is so important is that they can affect three key areas of your life such as: your results, your health and your humanity. Obviously when your relationship suffers with those people you work with, it can have a bad impact on your performance.
In similar way, when your relationships are compromised, you frequently experience negative emotions like anger, guilt and frustration. All these emotions can affect your productivity as they hold you back from being at your best. Your humanity can get affected because there are two ways humans are naturally programmed to experience relationships: transactional and transformational.
However, we always have enough room to develop key skills to enhance our relationships with other people such as listening. When you become a good listener, you develop compassion for others that makes others want to develop a relation with you. There are three types of listening skills you can learn:
- Transient listening
- Transactional listening
- Transformational listening
Identify Your Life Purpose to Avoid Being Overworked and Stressed
We all have a certain purpose in life to fulfill in one way or the other. However, most of us do not realize it and just keep going with the flow of life without reflecting on why we are here in the first place. The answer to this question is not related to your work or family life as we all have a bigger purpose to serve.
It is not about the amount of money we earn every month to pay our utility bills and dine out for fun. It is also not about how hard we work to make money. It is more spiritual by understanding how the entire universe functions and you being a tiny speck breathing amid huge celestial bodies orbiting around other bodies.
It is another thing that you are forced to think otherwise when you are immersed with your day-to-day routine life involving all sorts of distractions causing your fight or flight mechanism to be on its toes. What you need to do is to close your eyes and reflect on all the good things happening in your life and be grateful for them.
Have a consistent routine in your life genuinely based on showing gratitude for every good thing in different areas of your life such as: work life, family commitments, good health and being blessed with a good life in general. Be grateful for having to live another day.
Every time you feel overworked and stressed, just close your eyes, take a deep breath and count all your blessings. If you incorporate this habit in your daily routine even just for a few minutes, you will eventually start feeling good. You can also read inspirational books to make yourself feel good or take time for meditation and repetitive prayer to be grateful.
Making It Work
If you are not able to follow your routines in a consistent way, do not be hard on yourself. You need to remember that nothing remains constant in anyone’s life and things change with the course of time. What you need to realize is the fact that you must have what it takes to adjust yourself according to the situation.
There is nothing perfect in life and if you expect otherwise, you will end up being highly disappointed. Just relax and take things lightly to reduce the feelings of being overworked and stressed. If you do not make it in the first go, there is always next time. However, to turn circumstances consistently in your favor, you can learn to follow through your routines by being aware of your operating rhythms.
One of the best ways to ensure this is to pick routines that you think are easier for you to follow and make the kind of impact most favorable for you. You can also do this by scheduling your routine around things that are lengthier or harder to work on.
You may feel resistant to do that because difficult routines often lead most of us to procrastinate. You may have an unconscious feedback loop working in the background telling you to put tough routines aside. You need to become aware of it and change it into a positive statement encouraging you to take on these routines head-on.
Establish a team around you as it can help you get through your routines in a more efficient way. When you are working alone, you may easily get carried away but if you have your buddies working alongside you, you will have the courage to crack the toughest nut out there.
Moreover, keep reviewing your Life GPS on a weekly basis as it can help you make adjustments if you are not going on the right track and celebrate all your victories. If things do not work out as planned, do not beat yourself up and move on. Always give yourself the space you need to recover from setbacks.
Give Your Best and Avoid Getting Disappointed
It is important to anticipate outcomes in life but you must learn to avoid getting overly attached to them. It is true that you work very hard to accomplish a certain outcome related to your work, family relationship and your relationship with the community in general but your key role here is your intention.
Give your best but do not become worried or obsessed with the outcome. If you become too attached with the outcomes as a result of your hard work, you may end up getting disappointed. Outcomes are important to help you keep trying again and again to accomplish something but you should only think about what you can control to the best of your ability and avoid stressing about the result.
After all, it is your intention that counts. If your actions are genuine with the right focus and intention, the results will take care of themselves. As a matter of fact, there are lots of people who are afraid of taking the right actions as they fear the outcome but in reality, they should consider the bigger picture as a result of taking actions aligned with giving them some space to introspect and decide an appropriate course of action in terms of what they can control and what they cannot.
The first place you should consider creating mindful outcomes is your home because no matter what you do, where you travel and whom you work with, your home is the place where you can be your genuine self. It is a place which helps you recuperate yourself.
Continuing with Your Mindfulness Alternative
Every experience in your life has something valuable to teach you either in a good or bad way. You might be doing very well in nearly all arenas of your life until you bump into a tragic or traumatizing event out of nowhere leaving you wondering why it happened to you.
To lead a happy and contented life, you have to stop judging bad experiences as you do not know that they can turn out to be good or even bad for you in the long run. You do not have control over the outcome of tragic incidents in your life but you can use them to become more mindful physically, mentally and spiritually.
You can even consider several people living in far worse circumstances than you are and feel grateful that at least, you have enough strength to muster to keep going. In addition, you have to realize the fact that nothing is permanent in life and things change with the course of time. You can look back into your own life and analyze how things may have changed over the last five or ten years in your life and you will believe that it is absolutely true.
Just learn to treat each day of your life on merit to avoid being overworked and stressed. Live each moment as it comes and forget about what is going to or what may happen after a certain period of time as it is unknown and out of your control. The only thing you have the ability to control is the moment you are living in.
Develop patience and avoid being too hard on yourself. Start paying close attention to what works for you in any particular given moment by rewiring your unconscious mind. Do good deeds and realize that your actions have consequences. Karma is indeed a bitch and what goes around comes around. Thus, be prepared to reap what you saw, be mindful of your actions.