Job and workplace stress get to most of us: the American Institute of Stress reports they're the biggest sources of stress among Americans. But we've all watched some people stay preternaturally calm in the face of a work crisis. They maintain remarkable composure, staying cool and calm no matter what.
What give some of our colleagues nerves of steel? There are many techniques, including mindfulness: this powerful, simple approach is extremely effective when it comes to handling the stresses at work. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking to Ora Nadrich, a fellow expert on mindfulness meditation. Nadrich has created a set of tips for coping with job and workplace stress in her book, 'Says Who?: How One Simple Question Can Change the Way You Think Forever.' These are tips that can work for anyone. Here's what she had to say:
You have a specific method, called Says Who, for clearing away negative thoughts. Can you explain it, in a nutshell?
The Says Who? Method is based on 7 simple questions for confronting and challenging negative thoughts, and pinpointing their origin to find out if they are real or not. Since many of the negative thoughts we have were someone else's opinions, beliefs or ideas that we took on as true, by identifying the source of them, even if it is us, we can decide if we want to keep thinking them, or transform them into positive, life-affirming thoughts that serve our well-being.
How does this method connect to the practices of mindfulness and meditation?
The method connects to the practices of mindfulness and meditation because it requires you to be present with your thoughts with total awareness. By being aware of your thoughts and not pushing them away, you can be the observer of them, as you would in meditation, and decide if you want to hold on to them or let them go.
Of course, some people would argue that work is work: it's bound to be stressful, and that's just part of the job. Why would your method make a difference at work?
The Says Who? Method can make a real difference at work -- because it can help you zap a negative thought right in its tracks when it starts to wreak havoc, and stop it before it can throw you off your center. Using the method immediately places you in the observer mode, as opposed to a reactive one. Even if you're feeling stressed, you will immediately know what to do to counter any thought that does not make you feel better, or does not work for you in a favorable way.
And how can the Says Who Method help deal with such issues as office politics, or coping with pressures like deadlines or reviews?
Great question. It helps you cope with politics and pressures by teaching you how to identify a thought that is counter-productive to reaching a desire or goal, and immediately change it to one that can help support a positive, cohesive working environment. It also keeps you performing at your optimum level by maintaining productive, constructive thoughts, so that deadlines or reviews can be met successfully.
If a workplace is filled with negative energy and negative thoughts how would working on your own mindfulness, or meditating, help change that? Isn't it just an external problem you have little control over?
To counter negative energy and thoughts in the workplace, you need to be able to strengthen your thinking mind -- through mindfulness. That's what the Says Who? Method does. Along with meditation, it helps you develop your awareness of the thoughts you have. And it increases a type of thinking that is more positive and mindful, so you become more adept at transcending any "external problem" you may encounter. You learn that you are in the driver's seat of your mind, and you can always direct it to where you want to go. Ultimately, you can have control over any external problem by holding the thought and belief that you do.
How long until a person begins to see results from practicing this method? How will they know if it's "working"?
The results are pretty immediate. From the moment you acknowledge that you are the "creator and master of your internal dialogue, which creates your reality," you begin to take control over your thinking mind, and the results can be extraordinary. You'll know it's working when you find yourself observing your thoughts instead of reacting to them, and allowing only positive thoughts to occupy your mind. That will make you feel confident and good about yourself. Once you feel how powerful it is to design your thinking mind, you will love it!
Let's go back to the idea of responding to negative thoughts. How can your method actually help someone be more effective and more successful at work? And who would you recommend try this method?
The Says Who? Method will support you in being the best of who you are in all areas of life, including work. It enables you to become more effective, more successful, more productive. And I recommend it for anyone who wants to master their thinking mind, and create the life they have dreamt about. I've seen amazing results.