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15 Jan

Help others when you are feeling stressed

Datum: 2024-01-15 15:23
A person is helping another person up a slope by pulling them up by the hand.

When the dead­line is draw­ing clos­er, there is still a lot of work to get done, and the pres­sure is ris­ing, peo­ple react dif­fer­ent­ly. Some of us close the door, close them­selves to oth­ers, bite the bul­let and just get it done”. I tend to do just that. When the pres­sure is on I just want to focus on solv­ing the prob­lem and prefer­ably not be dis­turbed by any­one until I have resolved the issue and crossed the fin­ish line.

For you who pre­fer lis­ten­ing to read­ing, this post is also avail­able as an episode of the Done!” pod­cast:

But an arti­cle by Raposa, Laws and Ansell from 2015 sug­gests that this strat­e­gy may not be the best — at least not if we have the inten­tion of feel­ing some­what alright dur­ing the stress­ful time (and after it has passed too).

Help­ing oth­ers means help­ing yourself

Sev­en­ty-sev­en peo­ple were in a study asked to keep a jour­nal and every day record how many stress­ful sit­u­a­tions they had encoun­tered through­out the day, and how their mood had been. They were also asked to note what they had done to help oth­ers around them dur­ing the day. It could be sim­ple things such as hold the door”, help some­one with their home­work”, ask some­one if they need­ed help”, and so on.

The researchers found that the peo­ple who took time to help oth­ers on stress­ful days more than they usu­al­ly did were less affect­ed by the stress. If they were orig­i­nal­ly in a good mood, they were not put in a bad mood due to the stress­ful sit­u­a­tions. If they were ini­tial­ly in a bad mood, their mood did get worse, but not as much as for the peo­ple who did not make an extra effort to help oth­ers on those stress­ful days.

So, if we make a point of help­ing oth­ers when we are stressed (even if it is just with some­thing small), we appar­ent­ly man­age our stress lev­el and mood bet­ter as opposed to if we only focused on ourselves.

Do this

The next time you feel stressed or under pres­sure (per­haps you will be faced with stress­ful cir­cum­stances some­time this week), try to see the oppor­tu­ni­ties to help some­one in the midst of the hec­tic situation.

Do not fall into the trap of help­ing every­one else first and then feel even more stressed towards the end of the day since you still have your own tasks left to do but are run­ning out of time. Instead, let your aid be in the form of some­thing small, but still helpful.

It can sim­ply be try­ing to be extra atten­tive to if some­one in close prox­im­i­ty to you needs an extra hand for a minute.

Keep your spir­its up

If you, like I, tend to close your­self to the out­side world when you feel stressed and if the study I men­tioned real­ly is on to some­thing, you will feel at least a lit­tle bit less ter­ri­ble due to the stress you are under if you some­how con­tribute to oth­ers’ well­be­ing. Your good mood will not dimin­ish to the same extent as it oth­er­wise might have — and only you know how valu­able that is to you. To me, it is price­less to keep myself in a good mood since I deeply appre­ci­ate feel­ing joy, ease and inspi­ra­tion while working.

What is your way?

What is your trick to not let­ting stress get you down? Share your thoughts on the mat­ter with me!

(But, should we real­ly help our col­leagues first?)

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