Eliminate Stress: Change Your Expectations

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Posted November 20, 2012 by Marcy Farrey in On the Ladder

Does a difficult coworker or job situation have you feeling stressed or under a lot of pressure? It can seem like there’s no way out, but the solution isn’t to change the situation (which is rarely possible) — the solution is to change our thinking.

Entrepreneur.com offers some great tips in “6 Simple Solutions for Getting Rid of Stress.” I have had some experience using a few of these to calm stress, and believe me, they do help. But I want to draw attention to one tip:

2. Change your expectations. If you expect a co-worker to always be nice and they continue to be cranky, you’ll be disappointed. You are choosing to be disappointed when you expect others to do something even when you have evidence to suggest that the behavior is highly unlikely.

I once had a boss that screamed at someone every day. I used to go into work hoping she wouldn’t yell — especially at me — and I would try to do everything perfect so as to avoid the wrath. But eventually I realized there was nothing I could do to change her, even if I did reach a level of perfection. My boss was a yeller, and she would yell. I had to change my expectation and simply accept that her yelling was going to happen and, as it did every other day, it would pass.

When I first realized that I had to accept this, it admittedly made me angry. Why should we simply accept other people’s bad behavior? But that’s not what changing your expectations means. We don’t have to be okay with it, we don’t have to encourage it, and we can certainly address it with our superiors.  But in the meantime, we do need to find a way to rise above it. Usually, when my boss would yell and I’d become nervous or angry, this would only make her want to argue or yell more. But if I simply sat back, accepted it, and moved on, the stress of the moment she created wouldn’t continue into the rest of my day.

So, if you are constantly up against a difficult person or situation, look at it and accept the truth of it. You can’t change who someone is or what the circumstances are — but you can change how you react to them.

Read more tips on eliminating stress on Entrepreneur.com by clicking here.


About the Author

Marcy Farrey

Marcy Farrey is a videographer, writer, and editor. In her previous life, she worked as a broadcast news reporter and producer in Lincoln, Nebraska and as a writer and producer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University. Learn more about Marcy on her website www.marcyfarrey.com.

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