Anyone else feeling stressed now that we are seeing yet another spike in COVID cases? The vaccines make us feel hopeful, but the increase in numbers also makes us fearful. So easy to believe that we are never getting out of this pandemic, right? I see clients, colleagues, and friends glued to their screens, fishing for updates, because they are afraid of the unknown.

A little about stress

People are naturally attracted to negative news. This is in part because our brains are primed to scan the environment for danger and remember threats later, as a way of promoting survival. Due to their beliefs, they get careless with what they consume (food, media, and thoughts). The constant focus on negativity can impact our stress levels and affect our health. “If you experience stress, you release cortisol, the main stress hormone. Cortisol has a variety of effects, including on the immune system. If you consistently experience negative emotions, you will be subjected to stress and more sensitive to stressful situations. Being positive is the best defense against stress, after all.”

Relationship between stress and productivity

  • When we are stressed and anxious, we can’t focus.
  • If we can’t focus, we procrastinate or dilly dally.
  • Our performance starts to get negatively impacted.
  • When we are unable to get our work done and meet deadlines, it takes a toll on our career, personal life, and health!

How so, you ask? Well, no boss will appreciate an employee who performs poorly. People don’t appreciate a mentally and emotionally absent coworker. Your clients don’t want to work with you if you don’t deliver. If you are lashing out at your family and not really present with them, it will lead to troubles in your relationships. Between the personal and professional brouhaha, can you imagine what happens to your well-being? Bad health will spiral into lowered productivity.

Why positive emotions matter

Yes, these are challenging times. But don’t just focus on what’s not working. I am not suggesting that we ignore the status quo. Try and find that ray of light that urges you to navigate the world through kindness and positivity. For all the negative stories we hear, can we make an intentional effort to share positive words as well? Experiences of positive emotions are central to human nature and contribute richly to the quality of people’s lives. As the wise say, we become our thoughts.

How to deal with stress

  • I sit with the difficult emotion when I get stressed.
  • Mindfulness is key in discerning toxic positivity from positivity that stems from a place of acceptance and gratitude.
  • I acknowledge the emotion, but I don’t push it away.
  • I remind myself that nothing is permanent in this world, including the pandemic.
  • A slight shift in the mindset impacts how I show up to my work and relationships.
  • What helps me remain optimistic is keeping a positive mindset. It also motivates me to do better.

Will you give it a try?

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“Change your thoughts and you can change your world.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale