Many people experience today’s world of work not so much as meaningful but rather as burdensome and overtaxing. Flexibility, rapid workflow, production in line with customer requirements and high service quality are demanded. But any piece of work flows more easily if it’s a pleasure to do. On the other hand, anxiety, frustration or frequent situations of stress can cause long-term psychological and physical harm.
Moreover, according to several studies in occupational psychology, people having a positive attitude to and joy in their work are essential aspects for an enduring, growing company. Because healthy and, above all, contented and mentally fit staff are both the foundation and a prerequisite for successful businesses. When we talk about health we often just mean physical health, like enough sleep, breaks or sports activities. But just as important is mental health and thus also the positive attitude inside, which, whatever your job, gives support and leads to enduring mental fitness and, above all, joy in your work.
In the following we describe three important factors of psychological influence as well as structured ways of thinking that will maintain enduring mental fitness and vitality:
Focus on solutions and positivity
Here it’s about directing our attention towards the opportunities and purpose that a given situation can have for us and our lives, instead of the one-sided perception of the threatening or damaging aspects of the situation. This does not mean that we should see everything through rose-tinted spectacles. Far more, it means that, in negative situations, we should direct our focus towards pleasant, positive or successful situations in our daily work and, instead of subconsciously focusing on problems, we should think in terms of solutions.
Put things into perspective and distance yourself
This aspect is about achieving an internalised distance from stressful situations at work and reacting calmly in difficult situations without dramatising. This means not taking things personally, but rather taking a neutral attitude and accepting them, then to move in a targeted manner and with energy and motivation towards solving the problem. With most problems at work it would be rare that someone might die or an entire system collapses; far more often it’s about banal things that you can scarcely remember once a week has passed.
Self-efficacy and confidence
Most work-related burdens or stress situations arise because many people don’t trust themselves to accomplish the everyday working tasks required. So alongside assessing the relevant requirements, assessment of your own capabilities is also involved, if a demand placed upon you is to be handled successfully. It’s often the case that some objective measure or the necessary confidence are missing. But through thinking about what’s missing, following a pattern of concentrating on weaknesses, mistakes and failures , a person’s confidence will reduce further and the strain increases. So in a situation like this it’s much more important to focus on your strengths, which leads to self-acceptance and self-efficacy. In reality this means that, at this moment, you think back to difficult situations you already mastered in the past. Thinking this way makes you conscious of your own strengths, successes and capabilities, giving rise to the confidence necessary to see the stressful situation as a challenge, not a threat, and to handle it successfully.
If you train up these three important structured ways of thinking and bring them into your everyday work, to the extent that they become automatic, you’ll be on the right course for an enduringly fit and positive working life.
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