How to focus in difficult times (and get back to work!)
The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure. Stephen Richards
Sometimes we go through difficult times when we really need to concentrate on what’s ahead of us. For example, we just receive a promotion and our spouse leaves us. Or we’re trying to go for job interviews and just before we walk in, we found out someone close to us has died. Two major events and it’s very easy to let the second one affect the first in a negative way. This week, Happiness Weekly looks at how you can get back to work and focus during trying times.
Before you have a breakdown, try the following to get you through:
STOP – TAKE TIME OUT
Find a quiet place away from everyone, you may need to drive somewhere in your car and park for a while, and think everything through. This gives you a chance to think without distractions and process the events.
It’s really important to keep breathing when things are bringing us great stress. If you take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, even practise meditation, you will feel calmer. Getting oxygen to the brain will assist you thinking more clearly.
REMEMBER HOW IMPORTANT YOUR JOB IS
Ask yourself how much worse the situation would be if you also lost your job. Motivate yourself as much as possible to push through this hard time, because if you consistently fail to make your performance at work a priority, you risk finding yourself unemployed. Also watch how you treat people at work, remind yourself that your stress is not their problem.
Unclutter your life as much as you can with any other complications. Stay off Facebook and away from the news while you process what’s happening in your life. Remove temptation where ever possible. Studies show that each task you complete makes you less effective at the next task, which is particularly true for things like self-control and decision making.
FOCUS ON YOUR GOALS
Make sure your goals are easily attainable during this hard time, but still drive you forward. Try to break up your essential tasks into smaller pieces. Keeping focused on what you do want will assist with keeping you going in the right direction.
REVIEW YOUR WORK SCHEDULE
If you know that you will have trouble staying focused, make sure you make a list of all the things you need to accomplish during the day and ensure that you stick to it. This will act as a guide for the day’s activities and keep your mind on the task at hand.
DO NICE THINGS FOR YOURSELF
Go for a walk, read a book or magazine, get a massage, have a bath, watch your favourite movie… Sometimes it’s important to be your own best friend. You know the whole truth of what is going on, if you can’t be there for yourself, then no one else will be.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE
Surround yourself with people that make you feel good about yourself. Spending time with vibrant, upbeat people will help you to be successful. If you’re hanging around someone particularly successful, ask them how they did it – remember: these people have also faced challenges, suffered set-backs, handled criticism and overcome difficult times. Take advantage of their experience.
WATCH YOUR DIET
At times of stress, you are better off eating healthy foods including lots of fruit and vegetables. Drink plenty of water as well. Raw and unprocessed foods help you to be calm and relaxed. Eat your salad before you eat your main course. Limit alcohol as much as possible.
GO TO YOUR HAPPY PLACE
Concentrate on things that make you happy. Funny memories, a calming holiday destination, a childhood memory. Visualisation will help you feel as though you are without danger or threat.
We hope these tips are helpful and would love to hear from you – how do you focus during difficult times?
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