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Jungian Insights on Negating the Effect of Work Stress on Your Mental Health

Between looming deadlines, high expectations, and a myriad of other responsibilities, it is no wonder that work has become the second biggest contributor towards stress among Americans. That's according to the American Psychological Association. Work-related stress can have a huge impact on one’s physical and mental well-being, increasing the risk of stroke by as much as 22% according to research conducted at the Division of Vascular Neurology at the University of Utah Health, and even leading to severe depression and other mental health conditions. In order to negate the stresses imposed on us by our work, we need a much clearer understanding of why we are so affected by it as well as how we can manage it more effectively. This is especially important considering that Carl Jung believed that by merely eliminating the symptoms of mental anguish you are prevented from gaining insight into into the true cause of the condition.

Job stress can cause a mental burnout

Engaging in stressful work can cause severe burnout that often manifests itself as complete emotional exhaustion and a very pessimistic outlook on life. If the burnout is ignored it can lead to a deeply-rooted depression that can, in turn, cause or exacerbate a multitude of health concerns such as cardiac disease, eating disorders, diabetes, and elevated blood pressure. Burnout also leads to a feeling of hopelessness, a loss of motivation, emotional numbness, and disengagement. According to Jungian ideas, it is imperative to try and understand who you are when removed from your work as this can be the key to regaining your vitality.

Stop focusing on negativity

At work, as in life, things are not always going to go according to plan. Carl Jung himself once stated: "What you resist will not only persist, but will grow in size." When faced with stressful situations we have a choice on how to deal with them. You can either choose to fight your way through it, changing things to the suit you or you can take a deep breath, go with the flow and possibly discover a lot about yourself while exploring interesting new avenues. When things don’t go your way, don’t waste your valuable time on what has gone wrong but rather acknowledge your disappointment and focus your attention on developing new ways to reach your goals. Take the time to sit down and make a list of everything that is good about your work. Then make one containing the negative aspects, coming up with ways to turn them into positive things.

Be kinder to yourself

It is in our nature to go to work every day and give 110% of ourselves, trying our best to not make mistakes. Unfortunately, we are only human and errors are bound to occur. Jung was once quoted as saying: “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness”.  As soon as you can accept that you are a work in progress that will make mistakes, you will yourself less anxious and enjoying overall better mental health.

Work stress can have an extreme effect on our mental health if we don’t make the necessary effort to combat it. By being mindful at all times and incorporating a variety of Jungian beliefs into our daily lives while remembering to be patient with ourselves, we will be able to face adversity head-on without it taking a toll on our well-being.

~Jane Sandwood
Freelance Writer

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