Fewer and fewer people are able to cope adequately with the increasing demands of the working phase. One point is often overlooked: Only well recovered are we mentally strong, optimistic, motivated, communicative and ready for action. In short: powerful. Tired and burnt out makes you feel bad. In the long term, the risk of illness increases. All prerequisites for a successful and satisfying work and relationship life are limited. For example, those who have high communication skills can not fully develop them if they feel exhausted.
The dynamics of stress and recovery
Many people have a sense of recovery that corresponds to the light switch principle. After the end of work, so the deceptive opinion, similar to a light switch, recovery automatically as at the touch of a button. The boss or the customers are no longer there, there are no more jobs to be done, the time pressure is gone. But the carousel in the head keeps turning, which irritates many. The most important relationships between stress and recovery are:
- Type and duration of the stress phase radiate into the recovery phase.
- The longer and stronger the load phase lasts, the longer it takes to recover from it.
- Two poles characterize mental-psychological overload: firstly, internal being over-excited and tense. Second, energy and listlessness.
- Our organism intuitively knows how to recover from physical stress. Namely do nothing. For example, everyone finds the idea of going jogging after an exhausting bike ride to recover absurd. This intuitive knowledge has been developed and genetically anchored over the last few millennia, during which stress was predominantly of a physical nature. But our organism does not know intuitively how it can recover from mental-psychological stress, since it is still young in human history.
What is professionally practiced in competitive sports, namely to give recreational processes the same importance as the stress processes, remains stuck in everyday life in the amateur stage. Everyone tries, as best he can, to cope with the stress of the work phase. Some succeed, most do not.
The renaissance of virtues
In the US academic psychology just a kind of revolution instead. While psychologists have been dealing with negative events such as the consequences of a difficult childhood, traumatic crises, etc., for decades, they are now investigating such central questions of life as:
- What gives us strength and energy in life?
- What helps us to best handle professional and personal challenges?
The scientists themselves were surprised that their investigations led to consistently similar results. Namely the central meaning of "old" virtues. They not only make you more satisfied and more resilient in the short term, they also cushion the negative effects of stress in the long term. And they have a positive effect in both the leisure and the stress phases.
Sense and values
Those who find meaning in their work can cope better with the pressures that occur there. Two examples show that it is possible to find meaning in one's own work even under difficult circumstances.
- An employee at the garbage collection said: "Without us our living together would be unbearable".
- A saleswoman from a large Swiss retail chain said: "The best thing about my profession is to accompany people in their loneliness."
Both have achieved something valuable. Namely to give a rather unattractive activity a special meaning. They see their work in a positive light. That makes them more resilient - or in other words: their positive attitude acts as a stress buffer.
The Human's Greatest Strength: Other Humans
For most people, good relationships are especially important. Why? The American neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky provides information. He used blood samples to examine the stress levels of Serengeti-living monkeys. And was surprised by the result itself. The more and more lasting friendships a monkey had, the deeper the concentration of stress hormones in his blood. The more he took care of others and others cared for him, the healthier and more relaxed he was. Friendships cushion the burdens of savanna and clan everyday.
These results demonstrate that friendships have been a genetically engineered, effective program for millions of years against the harmful effects of congestion that we humans have inherited from our ancestors. Social contacts are a good stress buffer, promote our recovery from illness and much more. They even have a greater impact on our lifespan than the risk factors of smoking, alcohol, overweight or lack of exercise. In women about 2.8 and in men about 2.3 years.
The role of gratitude in the recovery concept
Gratitude research has come up with a wealth of interesting research in recent years. It was particularly promoted by Sir John Templeton, founder of the equity fund of the same name. Whether we recover depends crucially on how we evaluate past, current and future events. Are we looking back at our lives satisfied and grateful? Or do we judge our life balance negatively? If we judge our past negatively, we judge ourselves also rather negatively. Because we are a bit responsible for our past.
In addition, negative emotions open the door to our lives. And feel bad. Also in relation to our present. Because who lies with his past in the squad, it is difficult to be in harmony with his presence. However, anyone who discovers much in his past for which he is grateful promotes positive feelings in the present. Simply because gratitude makes us happy with ourselves and our lives.
Charles Dickens has also recognized this and recommends, "Remember your present blessings, which everyone has many, and not your past mishaps, each of which has some." And a small miracle happens, and we suddenly discover more and more making our lives more liveable and friendly, bringing more and more positive emotions into our lives, making us happier and more balanced and better recovering.
An attitude of gratitude draws our attention away from stressful events and towards the positive side. And it is not even tied to intermediate consumption, which we would have to provide first. We do not need to perform at all to be grateful for the positive aspects of life. Moreover, being grateful is an effective antidote to super critical questioning and permanent driving. It makes it easier for us to let go and settle down. This also promotes our recovery.
Gratitude - an attitude
To be grateful, we do not need to wait until things are perfect, or until something very special happens to us. But on the contrary. Gratitude is not so much a reaction to a positive circumstance, but an attitude that we internalize over time and that becomes a guideline for our lives.
Being grateful makes us more open to the blessings of life. The more grateful we are, the more we discover what we can be more thankful for. Or as a Nigerian proverb says, "Be grateful for little and you will find much". The key is in our hands.
Easy exercise for everyday life
Take 5 to 10 minutes for the following exercise. Think of a person or an event for which you are grateful. Embark on the situation and pay attention to the positive feelings that awaken in you. Practice 2-3 times a week. It is especially helpful when you express gratitude to the people close to you.