Emotional Expenditure: Are You Unnecessarily Taxing Yourself?


Life can be taxing, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Everyone is busy, but have you noticed that some people handle it better than others? If you are frequently frazzled, you are potentially expending too much emotional energy.

Are you unnecessarily taxing yourself?

Find out what makes you more vulnerable to stress and what you can do about it:

Worry thoughts

Emotional Energy Expenditure: Anxiety overload

Has worry taken over your life? Here are the signs—you overprepare for everything in case it goes wrong, you feel physically tense all the time, you check up on people all the time to make sure they’re okay, you need constant reassurance, the majority of your thoughts start with ‘What if?’ Does this sound like you? No wonder you’re stressed, you body is constantly geared up to face disaster!

What to do: Evaluate your thoughts: “Are these thoughts helpful or useful in this situation?” and if not, modify your thoughts so you can be more effective. Practice relaxation exercises regularly to reduce stress.

Pessimism

Emotional Energy Expenditure: Hopelessness

You never think anything is going to turn out right, you focus on your failures and ignore your successes, you have a negative filter on all the time. Sound like you? A negative attitude can be self-fulfilling and make a pessimistic outlook seem realistic. You don't have to be an all-out optimist, but remaining a pessimist will drain your energy and motivation and puts you at risk for depression.

What to do: Adjust your attitude to reflect reality. Imagine yourself coping well with a situation—imagining is almost as powerful as doing it for real—and it will help you prepare for anything that happens.

Perfectionism

Energy Expenditure: Perpetual frustration

You can’t stand mistakes, you think you can control everything, you have a black or white view on your and others’ accomplishments—they are either successes or complete failures. When you expect the impossible—every little mistake seems like a catastrophe and you are never satisfied.

What to do: Focus on progress not on perfect, note both the successes and failures in every endeavor—there are always going to be things that go well and things that could have gone better.

Worthlessness

Energy Expenditure: Guilt, shame, anxiety, depression, you name it.

You always compare yourself to others and feel less than, you don't think you deserve time for yourself, you always say yes because you’re afraid people won’t like you if you say no. Thoughts of being unworthy and undeserving often lead to sacrificing your own needs for others. When your emotional expenditure is this high, the result is feeling completely spent.

What to do: Take time for yourself—participating in pleasant activities is necessary for optimal emotional health and will put you in better stead to effectively help others. Remember that your thoughts are not facts, and if you are feeling depressed, seek professional help.

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