Work-Related Stress Can Be Reduced by Exploring New Job & Career Possibilities

Has Work-Related Stress Got You Down?

If work-related stress has you down, it may be time to look for a new job or a new career. Of course, you don’t have to change jobs or careers, for real; rather, just the process of exploring, imagining, hunting and seeking will lower your workplace stress level.

Why is this so?

Because the body makes different stress hormones and neurotransmitters when stress is viewed in a positive light than when it is viewed in a negative light. And, when you change your body’s stress hormone production, you change everything. I know this seems a bit ridiculous, but more than a few studies have been done since the 1970’s proving this to be the case.

According to the research, it seems nothing will rob you of happiness and cause work-related stress faster than being stuck in a dead end job you hate with no apparent options to make any career changes. Effectively managing workplace stress is hard to accomplish in today's world and keeping options open is a key element in keeping work stress at bay. Just knowing you could leave or change things up - if you want to - is enough to change your entire experience of work.

Some may look at the world of work as an overwhelming monster, and others may see it as uninspiring, but the reality is that the average person spends 40-50 years working and so it is important to manage this time in a way that will not be stressful. To make this happen, we need to embrace our work-related stress and make it work for us rather than against us.

Many people believe there is nothing they can do about workplace stress or any other kind of stress for that matter; however, nothing could be further from the truth. Just giving in to stress in the workplace will actually make things worse, not better, since avoiding stress or denying it actually causes the body to make more of the toxic ‘fight or flight’ hormone called Cortisol, the one that makes us sick in the long run because we all get far too much of it.

Possible Work-Related Stress Issues

One of the unfortunate outcomes of letting work-related stress fester out of control is that it can affect our behavior and lead to troublesome decisions.

When at work, it is common for highly-stressed people to find themselves compromising values and ethics or making the wrong decisions. Sometimes, it happens from fear, sometimes it’s out of boredom and it can even happen out of a sense of misplaced loyalty. Whatever the cause, it’s easy to get caught up in the wrong things for all the wrong reasons at work.

Then, we may find ourselves paying a steep price later on and once on this slippery slope, it can be hard to get off. As feelings of entrapment increase, so do our stress levels. For this reason, we should always be careful to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to work-related stress. We want to be making good decisions that help us and not fall victim to work-related stress.

Instead of getting caught up in actions and behaviors that make work-related stress even worse, it may be a far better idea to do regular exploration of career ideas and jobs and allow yourself to do a little dreaming and imaging. This whole, far more positive, process can feel very freeing and lower work stress a great deal. In doing so, we will feel far less pressure to make decisions that can hurt us later.

6 Ways to Explore Exciting New Career and Job Options without Giving Up Your Existing Job

  1. One way to explore new career horizons is to take courses online or at a community college. Even watching YouTube videos that are designed to teach new skills can be very liberating and can lower work-related stress. When we know we are developing new skills, we are far less likely to feel trapped in our current situation.  Also, having new skills can open up new opportunities in our existing jobs, either by adding new and more exciting tasks to our job descriptions or by changing jobs to a different department or branch all together.
  2. Another solution is to do some volunteer work somewhere because that will give you the new experience needed to change jobs or careers if you want. Just like in the job you have now, it is your experience that makes you a valuable asset and volunteering is a great way to get new and different experience. We all need freshness in our lives. At the very least, get out there and do some volunteer work to help keep things fresh.
  3. You could also do a bit of traveling. Sometimes seeing life from new cultural viewpoints can change how you feel about your work. If you can’t afford to travel far, then even short road trips to other nearby communities can give you the new experiences needed to gather new ideas and perspectives.
  4. It is also very valuable to remember our youthful dreams. Many of us have spent so many years compromising at work that we forget what our dreams even were all those years ago when we started our careers. If you got started on the wrong track or at least a track that was different than your youthful aspirations, then it can be very helpful just to start a hobby that honors those memories.
  5. What about contract work on the side? If you have your main job or career and then do contract work on the side, you can increase your skills and experience with each contract and that will provide a sense of purpose and a sense of freedom. It would be like having a very healthy savings account in case of a financial crisis or emergency.
  6. Perhaps having a couple of part-time jobs instead of one full-time job is the answer. It may seem counter-intuitive that this would lower stress, but we are hard-wired to be able to manage stress, even difficult stress, if we view it from a challenge response perspective, instead of from a threat response perspective. Holding more than one position at the same time can be very helpful in relieving work-related stress. For some, this is better, as far as stress management is concerned, than doing the same full-time job, year in and year out.

Consequences of Letting Work-Related Stress
Issues Get Too Far Out of Control.

If you never look outside the window of your existing job or career, you will never see the possibilities. Being stale at work can create all kinds of work-related stress and this can lead to all kinds of wellness issues – financial, relationship, parenting, health, etc. So, check out a few new career ideas. You'll be happy you did because your work-related stress will drop significantly.

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