When feeling drained at work…

Most are tired and feel drained after a day at work.  But what is it that makes most tired? is it the work itself? or the stress? Some talk about the negative energy they get from getting exposed to negativity of managers, employees, customers, etc.  Others talk about the effect of the “negative work environment” as the culprit.   A Gallup Poll study from 2012 shows that roughly one in 3 employees are dissatisfied with the level of stress they face at work.  A trend analysis form the last three years shows that level of dissatisfaction going up.

When it comes to stress, it might be a good idea to look into the factors that drain someone from energy at work.  This might be done by observing closely personal mood, emotions, thoughts, and physical signs as the work day progresses.  A friend of mine told me that he tried to do just that, and he was amazed by the results: “It is almost never the level of physical work that makes me most tired.  It is my negative emotions.”  He even tried to track his negative emotions to see where they originated and to him they were in reaction to something happening at work.  Many with office work might experience the same situation.  Ironically, those who work clerical jobs have higher levels of stress than blue-collar workers.  This is according to a 2002 Gallup poll titled “Job Stress, A Price of Success.”  Experience proves this.  My inquisitive friend says that “there are days when I stay at the office a bit later than usual and come in a bit earlier than usual.  It is not so bad.  However, sometimes an hour of “negative” interaction requires hours of rest afterwards because of how tired it makes me feel.”

Negative energy is acknowledged in science as in religion as a major cause for fatigue and stress.  Some call it energy, others call it atmosphere, whatever it is called, it is not good at all.

When feeling tired at work, it might be a good idea to observe the cause of this feeling by observing one’s level of energy throughout the day.  Then find out what drains one most.  this might require constant checking, maybe every hour, to see how one is feeling.  It also requires checking how one is feeling performing different activities throughout the day: working on computer, in meetings, on phone calls, in discussions, negotiations, etc.

Stress is a personal experience and different people are stressed by different things at work.  However, the following four factors might play a role in draining one’s energy at work:

1) Trying to convince someone of something while he is resisting or refusing to listen.

2) Listening to constant negative criticism (like someone trying to put another down, or implying it).

3) Getting frequently exposed to people who lost faith in humanity: These are the people who put lots of effort into trying to convince you that people are wicked, lazy, and selfish.

4) Constantly being around pessimistic (not skeptical) people who do not appreciate what they already have and insist on nagging about what they do not have.

An important point to remember here is that turning these situations into stress is a personal choice.  So, no one can blame another for being stressed, even if it is the action of others that triggered the stress.  It is healthy to remember to take responsibility for how one feels and not lay blame on others.    However, one owes it to self to know what makes a person “tick.”  I talked to someone who did lots of study and research on the subject over the years and she warns from three personal emotions that lead to the negative energy:

1. Feeling responsible for how the other party thinks or feels.

2. Trying to influence others into thinking the way I am thinking

3. Trying to protect myself from the negative feelings / statements

Luckily, to combat these feelings there are techniques to experiment with.  They are not an exact science so they might work for some and not for others, and they might work occasionally or all the time, it depends on the person and the situation.  Here are four simple techniques to consider:

1. Relax and allow people to think differently and be negative if they choose to

2. Use “you could be right” statement more often

3. Silence and listening

4. Let things be without having to make a statement or change anything

No matter how skilled one is in preventing negative energy from getting to self, it is bound to happen.  When it does, some experts advise taking a break from work for a few moments and doing one of the following:

1. Breathe slowly and drive the breath down to your belly, not the torso.

2. Take a short walk outside

3. Do some stretching

Again, sometimes that might be enough other times it is not, and that is the way it is.

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