Posts Tagged ‘feelings’

Dealing with Difficult People

June 24, 2016

Let’s face it. We all encounter people who are challenging, negative, and even aggressive. Whether it’s a family member, friend, coworker or neighbor, being able to differentiate between difficult personalities is helpful. When we better understand them, it frees us to not take things personally. We can also help create a safe and productive environment for others.

THE NEXT STEP

Some of the more dominant challenging personality traits include people who are hostile, narcissistic, passive-aggressive, or negative. Knowing how to handle and react to difficult personality traits is beneficial in all environments. Here are some helpful tips to deal with all difficult personality styles.

  • Address concerns – Don’t ignore problems and pretend they don’t exist. Chances are the challenges will only grow. The responsible thing is to address the person and the issue.
  • Express compassion – Remember you probably don’t have the whole picture of someone’s life. You may not know all that’s happened in the individual’s background, their mental health, or the past crises they may have faced. Empathize and express compassion.
  • Assess reactions – Consider your own emotions. If you’re having a particularly stressful day and can’t seem to remain calm, it’s not the right time to address issues with a difficult person. Staying calm and neutral is the best way to approach and deal with challenging people.
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Depression Self-Assessment

June 13, 2016

Everyone feels down in the dumps sometimes. It’s normal to be sad or tired occasionally for unknown reasons. Whether you’re just feeling down or something more, it’s worth exploring.

Depression invades every area of your life, impacting your day-to-day affairs. Maybe you can’t get out of bed in the morning or your appetite is never satisfied. Overcoming depression isn’t just about will power; it’s about getting the professional help and treatment you need for a happy, productive life once again.

QUESTIONS TO ASK

  • Are you feeling depressed or down lately?
  • Have activities you once enjoyed lost your interest?
  • Are you struggling to fall asleep or sleeping too much?
  • Do you feel lethargic, lacking energy to get through your day?
  • Has your appetite changed? Eating too much or too little?
  • Are you struggling to focus on work or activities like reading?
  • Do you or others notice you moving or speaking more slowly?
  • Have your thoughts leaned toward death or harming yourself in any way?

If you identify with these questions and answered yes to several, you might be struggling with depression. It’s important to see a physician or mental health professional for an official diagnosis, rather than self-diagnosing. They can rule out any other possible causes for your depressed mood.

THE NEXT STEP

Having a plan is a great start for treating depression. These suggestions can help you begin your journey toward a new beginning.

  • Take notes – Write down all your physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. Even if these don’t fall under the depression category. It’s still helpful information for your physician or psychiatrist to rule out other causes.
  • Give yourself grace – Experiencing depression is no one’s fault. Improvement takes time. Celebrate the small victories and be kind to yourself during the setbacks.
  • Access resources – Affordable counseling is often available through your employee assistance program, community services, religious organizations, and universities. Support groups can also be invaluable.

Stress Self-Assessment

March 14, 2016

Feeling stressed? While everyone reacts differently to stress, your body, brain, and emotions have a unique stress response. Understanding these reactions can help you fine-tune your stress-reducing strategies.

STEP 1: EVALUATE YOUR RESPONSES
  • Pain – Stress can bring on immediate or chronic pain, such as back pain, headaches, nausea, jaw or fist clenching, muscle tension, etc.
  • Depression – Extreme amounts of stress can lead to symptoms of depression, including feeling hopeless, worthless, or guilty.
  • Anger – Arguing and feeling short-fused with coworkers or loved ones is a common reaction when under stress.
  • Anxiety – Stress can trigger you to feel anxious, worrying or fearing the worst possible scenario.
  • Substance Use – Smoking, drinking excessively and drug use are all unhealthy ways of self-medicating your anxiety.
  • Eating – Overeating, skipping meals, and eating junk food with little nutrition are all ways people change their eating habits when under extreme stress.
STEP 2: EVALUATE COPING METHODS

Ask yourself the following questions to understand how you’re managing your stress load.

  • Do you have a support network in place?
  • Are there activities you enjoy?
  • Do you regularly get enough sleep?
  • Are there responsibilities you can delegate?
  • Do you practice relaxation exercises such as mindfulness, yoga, or meditation?
  • Do you have access to professionals who can help you?
STEP 3: TAKE ACTION

After you’ve evaluated coping methods, here are a few action steps you can take.

  • Address physical concerns – See your physician to assess any immediate physical concerns or questions you might have. Seek their recommendations for changes in your diet, exercise, or other habits.
  • Start small – Start with simple tasks, such as turning off screens or electronics earlier before bed or taking five minutes for deep breathing.
  • Recruit a friend – Accountability is key, so choose a friend or family member to encourage you on the path to positive changes in your life.
  • Take notes – Everyone responds differently to relaxation techniques or organizational tools. Keep a journal or use an app to track the strategies working for you. Seeing your progress can be just the motivation needed to continue good self-care.

THINKING WELL: Anger Management

February 15, 2016

Feeling angry is normal and healthy. What you do with your anger is what matters. We’re biologically wired to become angry in response to potential threats. However, we can’t respond with anger to everything. Anger management can help you learn the signs of anger and how to manage your reaction positively.

Some people are more likely to become angry than others. Even if they aren’t physically violent, they might be irritable, sarcastic, or constantly grumpy. Anger causes physical symptoms too, such as digestive and heart problems, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, headaches and the risk of substance abuse.

SEEKING HELP

How do you know if your anger is controlling you? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, consider seeking help.

  • Are you feeling constantly irritated or impatient?
  • Do you engage in frequent arguments with others?
  • Are you physically violent or considering violence?
  • Do you occasionally feel out of control?
  • Have you felt anxious or depressed about your anger?

HOW TO HELP

  • Identify stressors – Discover what is triggering your anger, such as work, rush hour traffic, or financial woes.
  • Notice indicators – Pay attention to any physical, emotional, or behavioral signs you experience when angry.
  • Examine thinking – Strive to correct your thinking and operate based on facts and good rationale.
  • Learn relaxation techniques – Practice mindfulness and deep breathing to soothe your body and focus your thoughts.
  • Focus on solutions

Anger management can help focus your energy on problems solving rather than frustration and hopelessness.

Remember, asking for help is never a weakness. Consult your doctor, mental health professional, or your employee assistance provider (EAP) for a referral. Consider attending a support group or check out other resources available online. Invest in yourself and learn to manage your anger instead of letting it manage you.

Avoiding Burnout

December 4, 2015

There are many “outs” in life. We can be stressed out, worn out, and maybe even need a time out. As passionate as we may feel about our work, we are all susceptible to burning out if we fail to exercise good self-care and relaxation techniques. Burnout is a constant feeling of exhaustion and pessimism in the workplace, which usually results in a decline in performance and passion.

There are several early warning signs of burnout. Do you dread coming back from vacation? Despise work tasks you one enjoyed? Is your overall attitude pessimistic toward your coworkers and your performance? The answers to these questions can all be indicators of workplace burnout.

However, burnout is preventable; consider these simple tips:

  • Take small breaks – Failing to take short breaks negatively impacts your overall performance. Concentration wanes after too long, so take a quick five or ten minutes. Your brain will thank you.
  • Evaluate – Take a step back to see how you’re using your time. Where and when are you most productive? How is the quality of your work? Being efficient does not equal being effective. Take inventory and prioritize your time.
  • Set vacations in stone – If you are financially able, plan that trip today. It will give you something to anticipate. Alternatively, consider doing a “staycation” and rewarding yourself with some rest and relaxation.
  • Engage new passions – Look for a new hobby to catch your interest during the week. Often new activities reignite passions for old ones.

Taking care of yourself with proper rest, exercise, and nutrition is essential to reducing your risk for a workplace burnout. You will have more energy, productivity, and passion for what you enjoy most.

Stress Less

October 2, 2015

You’ve probably heard countless ways to manage stress: exercise, get enough sleep, talk to a friend, meditate, write things down – the list goes on. But according to Huffington Post blogger Jon Wortmann, before you can even thing about managing your stress, there are three things you must do first.

Notice Stress

This seems obvious, but sometimes we’re so busy or distracted we completely miss our body’s signs that we’re feeling stressed. Have you been getting a lot of headaches or stomachaches? Does it fee like your having a panic attack? Has your appetite or sleep schedule changed? Your brain may be telling you something needs your attention. Instead of shaking off or ignoring these signs, consider if they’re connected to stress.

Admit You’re Stressed

This doesn’t mean you can’t handle what’s on your plate. Once you admit you feel stressed, you can begin to focus on what’s most important at that moment. Making these kinds of choices can tell your brain to turn down the alarm as you work to get things under control.

Focus on One Thing You Want to Think or Feel

If you find yourself in an immediately stressful situation (heart is racing, palms are sweating), focus on the emotion you want to be feeling. Imagine yourself in your favorite location, eating your favorite food, next to someone you care about, or anything that can help you feel calmer quickly. Being able to recall these calming memories in a time of stress can help you work through it and focus instead on what need to get done.

Healthy Relationships – Keys to Success

September 24, 2015

Whether it’s a relationship with a spouse, significant other, friend or colleague, it’s important that the relationships you have are healthy ones. We’re often good at spotting unhealthy relationships, but what exactly makes a relationship a healthy one? Bestselling author and relationship expert, Margaret Paul, Ph.D., has some fundamentals to healthy relationships:

Emotional Responsibility – Paul posits this is the most important ingredient for creating a healthy relationship. It involves taking responsibility for your own feelings, rather than trying to make your partner responsible for your own happiness, emotional safety and self-worth. These feelings have to come from valuing yourself and not abandoning how you feel.

Enjoying Time Together and Apart – In a healthy relationship, partners enjoy being together but their well-being is not dependent on the other person. When your happiness depends on someone else; it’s called emotional dependency and is the opposite of emotional responsibility. Ideally, both people should feel supported when they pursue separate interests or spend time with their own friends.

Learning Through Conflict – Partners are able to learn and grow through conflict when they’re in a healthy relationship. Conflicts are not about who’s right or who won, it’s about listening to each other’s viewpoints and using conflict as a way to evolve.

Trust and Support – People in healthy relationships trust that the other person has their best interest in mind and will not intentionally hurt them. They support each other and feel joy in seeing their partner happy. They’re not threatened by their partner’s joy or success, but rather are proud and delighted by it.

All About Assertiveness

July 16, 2015

Do you have a difficult time saying “no” even when you know you should? Are you frustrated because you are so busy attending to the wants, needs and desires of others that your own go unfulfilled? Have you ever walked away from a situation and wished you had handled it differently? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may feel challenged in the area of assertiveness.

What is assertiveness? What is the difference between being assertive and being aggressive? Will people think that I’m being pushy? These are common questions and concerns. Here are some pointers to help clarify what assertiveness is really all about.

Assertiveness is…

Assertiveness is expressing our thoughts, feelings and beliefs in a direct, honest and appropriate way. It means that we have respect both for ourselves and for others. We are consciously working toward a “win-win” solution to problems. A win-win solution means that we are trying to make sure that both parties end up with their needs met to the best degree possible. An assertive person effectively influences, listens and negotiates so that others choose to cooperate willingly (or feel safe to assert their own point of view).

Assertiveness is not…

Assertiveness is very different from aggressiveness. Aggressiveness involves expressing our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a way that is inappropriate and violates the rights of others. It can be either active or passive, but no matter which, it communicates an impression of disrespect. By being aggressive, we put our wants, needs and rights above those of others. We attempt to get our way by not allowing others a choice.

Becoming assertive is a lifetime project. As you begin to practice some basic assertiveness skills, you will develop confidence in yourself. Some situations are more difficult than others, so you may want to begin practicing assertiveness skills in easier situations. It may be easier to assert yourself with strangers than with your supervisor at work or with your family. For example, while waiting in line and someone cuts in front of you, you can assertively say, “I believe I was next.” Keep practicing these skills and you will become a more confident, happier person.

Coworker Woes – Dealing with Unprofessional Colleagues

June 8, 2015

In many office environments, employees have less than collegial relationships, a new survey shows. Over twenty percent of respondents recently surveyed said they work with someone who is rude or unprofessional on the job. Of those, 68% felt coworkers frequently behave badly – and not just to the people who report to them. More than half (59%) of all workers surveyed said their boorish colleagues are equal-opportunity offenders, upsetting subordinates, peers and superior alike.

OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the placement of administrative professionals, developed the survey. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm and include responses from 532 full- or part-time workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

“Most employees will encounter an unpleasant colleague at some point, and how they interact with these coworkers can affect their careers,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Tactfully handling challenging personalities requires strong interpersonal skills and diplomacy, which can help someone stand out for all the right reasons.”

Coping With Unpleasant Colleagues

Although nobody likes working with someone who is inconsiderate or unkind, the survey suggests those who have been in the workforce the longest may have built up immunity to bad behavior. Among respondents, 35% of those age 65 and older said inconsiderate coworkers should be tolerated as long as they are good at their jobs.

The Belittler – Belittlers routinely tear others down in order to build themselves up. Put downs, demeaning remarks and disparaging comments are common trademarks of this person.

Coping strategy: Your confidence is the belittler’s weakness, and he or she will back off if you stand up for yourself. Try refuting a belittler’s criticism by asserting yourself, using facts where possible. For example, if he or she puts down one of your ideas, say “it’s something that’s worked for X, Y and Z, and it’s also more cost-effective than what we’re doing now.”

The Credit Thief – Insecure about their status, credit thieves boldly steal your ideas and grab the glory when a project is successful. Curiously, they are nowhere to be found when things go wrong.

Coping strategy: Keep a written record of your activities and accomplishments. Give your manager regular status reports about the projects you are working on, and don’t hesitate to correct misperceptions (for example, “Actually, I did the research; John helped input the data”).

The Saboteur – Saboteurs have a knack for leaving colleagues in the lurch. Similar to the belittler, they like to make others look bad. Their tactics aren’t always overt, so you may not realize you are working with a saboteur until a critical deadline arrives. Then, you find you are unable to complete your part of the project because the saboteur has withheld important information.

Coping strategy: Be sure your supervisor or project manager knows the roles and responsibilities of each team member, and insist on regular progress reports so that saboteurs can’t take advantage of lapses in oversight.

The Rumormonger – Rumormongers like drama and often spread half-truths or lies by talking behind others’ backs. This is an especially dangerous type of coworker because he or she has the ability to tarnish your reputation.

Coping strategy: The best defense is to avoid engaging in any kind of gossip – remember that anything you say can be held against you. If the rumormonger starts swapping stories with you, say only good things about your colleagues and excuse yourself as quickly as possible.

The Slacker – This person may try to pass off tasks to other staff members. The slacker often claims he or she is “too busy” to help out yet will make time for water cooler chats and web surfing during office hours.

Coping Strategy: Be sure this person carries his or her weight on project teams by documenting the responsibilities of each member of the group and making for regular status reports. Hold everyone accountable for his or her portion of the project, and be firm with deadlines.

Looking Inward

May 21, 2015

Often when we find ourselves unhappy in a relationship, we look at the other person as the problem. Psychologist and author Dr. Sherrie Campbell cautions us to look to ourselves before we look outwardly. She says you should first examine your own role, as you may be contributing to the problem more than you think. Dr. Campbell shares a few tips to help you look inward.

Resist complaining. Instead of resorting to the childlike behavior, have a serious discussion with the other person. Start with how you want things to be rather than expressing dissatisfaction or starting a conversation from a negative place.

Stop defending. Listen to the other person without interrupting and correcting them. If you’re too busy defending yourself without listening, you’ll be closing yourself off to the information the other person is trying to tell you. This makes it hard to connect and understand the other person.

Understand and state your needs. Think about what you really need from the other person in the situation. This is different from what you may want. What is it that’s keeping things from moving forward in a positive direction?

Know your weaknesses. Perhaps you are quick to judge, or maybe you have a short temper. Knowing the areas you need to work on within yourself can help when you run into problems in a relationship. Think about how these weaknesses may be interfering in your relationship, and what you can do to work on them.