What should you do when you’re stressed at work, but have little control over the underlying stressor? Our team is familiar with the normal ups and downs that occur at a rapidly growing startup. It helps that we’re an incredibly supportive group, but we also successfully navigate it all by practicing emotion regulation—science speak for influencing what, when, and how strongly we react to situations.
This month, we’d like to equip you with three proven strategies to get you through particularly challenging days.
Modify the situation
Say you’re stressed because you’ve got an important presentation to give. You can’t just cancel —you’re on the hook, and speaking about your work could help your career—but you can take proactive steps to reduce anxiety and ensure you’re at your best. People Scientist Molly Sands’ recommendations? Write speaker notes, rehearse out loud, schedule the presentation at a time that feels good (that’s 9am if you’re a morning person), and book your favorite conference room.
Refocus your attention
If you’re stuck in a negative thought pattern (bit of advice: the words “always” and “never” can signal when self-reflection has turned self-destructive), shift your focus. Perfectionist obsessing is linked to shame, which skyrockets stress and tanks motivation. Take your mind off of what’s worrisome by meditating for a few minutes, going for a quick walk outside, learning a new skill, or making a conscious effort to dive into an important task. Pattern = broken.
Shift your mindset
If you’ve tried and failed with the above—and really, truly can’t stop thinking about a troubling situation, try changing how you think about it. Did you know the physical experience of anxiety—a faster heartbeat and higher levels of stress hormones—is almost identical to our body’s response to anticipation? Leverage this by reframing stress as excitement. This can be as simple as saying “I am excited” out loud.
Try it the Humu way
Here are a few ways the Humu team de-stresses:
People Scientist Stefanie Tignor practices situation modification by picking a motivational song every morning to pump herself up during her commute.
To take their minds off of work (i.e. refocus their attention), co-founder Wayne Crosby heads to his kids’ baseball games and engineer Andrew Hyndman goes for a run.
People Scientist Carly Kontra has shifted her weekend mindset by treating Saturday and Sunday as a full on vacation! Last weekend, she flew to Portland to visit friends.
What’s happening at Humu:
Humu turned two on May 1st. Get an inside look at why letting our team take over planning the agenda turned out to be the best way to celebrate our culture.
You’ve heard the saying, “People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers.” But our data shows that in some cases, having a bad manager can actually make you more likely to stick around. How is that possible? People Scientist Stefanie Tignor explains her fascinating finding here.
We’ve been making headlines: the Wall Street Journal wrote about how we boost morale and transparency at work, we discovered Quartz named our co-founder Jessie Wisdom a Rising Female Entrepreneur, and our CEO Laszlo Bock took a strong stance against poorly constructed engagement surveys in Fast Company. Spoiler alert: they’re not helping!
On the speaking front, you can find our Chief Privacy Officer Lea Kissner talking about building for trust at Salesforce, Machine Learning Privacy Lead Aleatha Parker-Wood will address “Storage, Security, and Privacy in the age of Machine Learning” at MSST 2019, Laszlo is speaking to executives at the G100 Talent Consortium in NYC, and Liz Fosslien will be discussing emotions at work at the 92nd Street Y.