Stress Is Your Brain Trying to Avoid Something


This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by The Harvard Business Review and discusses what factors play into our stress levels as humans, and how to overcome them.

Stress within the workplace is nothing new, and all of us have experienced it during our careers at some point. Whether it is a critical boss, a big deadline, or an angry client – they all trigger stress. In the article, Markman explains how stress is an emotional response to our motivational system. There are two components to a person’s motivational system. The approach system is concentrated on accomplishing favorable outcomes while the avoidance system aims to avoid unfavorable outcomes.

“Your motivational system engages goals and gives them energy so that you can pursue them. Simply put, when you succeed at your goals, you feel good, and when you don’t succeed you feel bad.”

So the key to relieving stress at its core is figuring out what you are avoiding and conquering that obstacle head on. Seems simple enough, right?

Identifying these issues may be more difficult than expected. When we get caught in our daily grind, it is easy to focus solely on the negative elements of our jobs. Instead, in times of duress try focusing on the bigger picture. Hone in on all of the desirable aspects of your job and the long-term goals you want to accomplish. Ultimately the best way to manage your stress is to really understand what it is you are avoiding and to shift your focus to what you can accomplish.

Read the article.

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