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The surprising benefits of being a person who burns out easily

The surprising benefits of being a person who burns out easily

All work and no play? With stress levels at an all time high, many of us have experienced the devastating effects of burning out. Burnout can crop up in a variety of different forms and it isn’t pretty when it strikes.

When you’re burned out you might feel high levels of stress and anxiety, have low energy and be exhausted, and feel like there’s “never enough time.” You may have increased negative feelings, feel overwhelmed, be irritable, and lack motivation. In severe situations you may even stop taking care of yourself, have trouble focusing, and experience a range of health issues.

But the good news is the exact traits that make you likely to burnout can actually be incredible assets…so long as you keep them in check.

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Learning to harness these strengths without overdoing it is the key to success, or what I like to call leaning in without burning out.

In the 1980s, Dr. Herbert Freudenberger was the first person to describe the syndrome known as burnout. Through his years of work with high-achieving patients, he uncovered the type of person most likely to burnout.

Here are the 4 traits common among those that suffer from burnout.

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1. You’re a goal focused overachiever.

Once you set a goal you’re tenacious about achieving it and nothing can get in your way. You’re capable of moving mountains when you’re focused and have your goal in sight.

2. You can always be counted on to do more than your fair share, no matter how busy you are.

You’re a team player, always thinking about what you can give and how you can help out. No matter how jam packed your schedule is, you always do your part and sometimes even fill in for others.

3. You’re a leader who has a hard time admitting limitations.

You’re effective at rallying the troops, and getting people to see that there is a way and that there is always hope. You rarely think of any challenges as insurmountable, and believe with enough effort you can do whatever you put your mind to.

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4. You push yourself hard and get results.

You know how to keep your eye on the prize and realize that hard work and dedication is required to accomplish anything meaningful.

In order to maximize your strengths and the enormous benefits of being an overachiever vulnerable to burnout, you’ll want to practice these 3 proven methods to add some space into your life and routine.

Here are 3 methods for keeping yourself from the edge of burnout.

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1. Practice meditation and mindfulness so you enjoy the journey and aren’t solely focused on the goal.

Start with a small, but daily, commitment to meditation. If you commit to just one, two, or five minutes each day, you are much more likely to stick with it. There are plenty of free meditation challenges available online to help you get started.

2. Take time to rest and recharge, especially remembering to double down when times are “crazy busy.”

It’s one thing to be in the zone, but if you notice you’re not getting up to get a glass of water, stretch your legs or use the restroom at least once every 90-120 minutes, you are putting unnecessary strain on your body.

When you notice that your schedule is starting to get maxed out, make a point to block off time on your calendar for self-care and treat it like an important meeting that you must attend. Your self-care activity should be rejuvenating, such as going for a hike, taking a bath, getting a massage, cooking a healthy meal for yourself, reading inspirational books, being in nature, taking a yoga class, working with a life coach, etc.

3. Practice self-compassion, and remember you’re only human.

Self-compassion is being kind and understanding toward yourself when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. Practicing self-compassion is proven to boost your willpower so you’ll be more effective and feel great. You can practice self-compassion as a meditation, by thinking of a situation in your life that is difficult, and then saying the following phrases to yourself: “This is a moment of suffering. Everyone struggles, I’m only human. May I be kind to myself. May I give myself the compassion I need.”

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

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Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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