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Going Backwards

Photo of depressed manMost of us have had times when we seem to be going backwards in our career or in our work life. Or maybe times when we seemed to be dead in the water while everyone else was moving forward.
But in these situations are we really moving backwards? Or might there be something going on, out of sight – – something that is laying the foundation for new growth – – something of which we might be completely unaware?
There is hope.
We might not be able to change our objective circumstances, at least in the short run, but we can control our response. . .
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Work Related Stress Part 1: Can Faith and Spirituality Help?

Photo of sleepless man with stressWork related stress is a big problem. We all know how painful and dysfunctional it can be. It can damage our health and limit our effectiveness. But there are some things we can do.

In this episode, we will begin by focusing on the work of psychologist Richard Lazarus and the importance of how we appraise potentially stressful situations.
We also draw out possible spiritual and religious connections. (Time: 13:23)

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Leaving Work: Might a Ritual Help?

Some of us have trouble leaving our work behind at the end of the day and have an unfortunate tendency to bring our stress and other pre-occupations home with us. This not only makes it difficult to recharge our batteries, but can also hinder our non-work relationships and activities.

Jackie and John Coleman (“Don’t Take Your Work Home with You”) offer a number of ideas that might help. For me, one in particular stands out: “have an end of work habit”. I would like to explore this idea further.

Perhaps we could develop a ritual of some sort to help us make the transition from work. . .

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Burnout in the Workplace: What Can We Do?

Photo of man facing burnoutBurnout is a big problem in the workplace. It is an organizational, psychological, and spiritual problem and is usually thought to be the result of intense, prolonged stress. The primary symptoms usually include chronic exhaustion, an absence of meaning in our work and our work relationships, and a sense of powerlessness leading to a lack of a sense of accomplishment.

We discuss the causes of burnout and possible solutions, including those involving our faith and spirituality, in the podcast episode linked below and in a new article.

Burnout is a big problem, but there are things we can do about it. (Time: 13:59)
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Leaders in Crisis and the Value of Theological Resources

Photo of leader thinkingNo one can predict the future, but we seem to be moving into a period of crisis that will put unusual burdens on leaders.  Cultural and institutional changes (and in many cases failure) will call for leaders grounded in a broader, deeper perspective.  Our institutions of faith and spirituality could play an important role in helping us prepare for this future.

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Coping With Stress: When Religion Helps or Hurts

Photo of woman in stressTo prepare for our recent Spirituality for Busy People class, I reread some of psychotherapist and scholar Kenneth Pargament’s classic book The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, Practice. One of his key observations is that while religion can provide relief during times of stress, the actual form of religious coping matters a great deal.  According to Pargament:

The seemingly straight forward question, ‘Does religion work,’ could not be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’  Instead, the answer depends on the kind of religion one is talking about, who is doing the religious coping, and the situation the person is coping with.  Depending on the interplay among these variables, religion can be helpful, harmful, or irrelevant to the coping process. (p.312)

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Workplace Stress: Can a Spiritual Practice Known as the Prayer Mantra Help?

photo of back of praying women's headWorkplace stress is a common problem with important consequences for both our health and our effectiveness. A spiritual practice known as the prayer mantra can help us calm down, place our problems in a more realistic perspective, and act with greater strength, insight, and resilience. It can also help us stay on track at other times. (Time: 6:52)
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Prayer Mantras and Stress

photo of back of praying women's head(See also our podcast episode about the prayer mantra.) A spiritual practice that can be very helpful during times of workplace stress and uncertainty is that of repeating a personal prayer mantra. Mantras can reduce stress whether the issue is a minor hassle or a crisis large enough to generate outright fear. They can also help us to stay on track.

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Staying Calm in Crisis

Travis Bradberry, the author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, has written a very worthwhile  article called "How Successful People Stay Calm".  The article covers some of the basics of stress, and then lists ten practices people use in times of crisis to stay calm.  You...

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