How to Manage Stress by Learning Something New, by Carl Fisher
You have probably heard the phrase: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
While that might be true in some cases, but when it comes to managing stress at work, learning something new turns out to be one of the best anti-stress activities you can do.
According to a study done by Harvard Business Review, learning new skills will make you feel happier, which will help you cope with too much stress at the workplace.
All you need is a little effort, and you will feel much better about yourself. Let’s take a look at the benefits of learning new skills and their effects on stress management.
Learning Helps Ease Stress
Two different studies that included over 300 employees from various US companies tried to find a link between stress level management in the workplace. Every person had to engage in some type of activity to generate higher stress levels at the workplace. The study then examined how they cope with stress. One group had to learn new skills, while the other used relaxing to cope with stress.
After two weeks, all 300 employees shared their feelings about managing stress levels. The first group used every spare minute to learn new skills and seek out intellectual challenges. The second group spent both weeks relaxing at work doing activities such as walking, playing video games, and surfing the internet during work breaks.
The first study showed that the group who spent time learning new skills reported feeling less stressed than the second group. It turned out that relaxing doesn’t do much when it comes to reducing stress. The employees who tried to relax to cope with negative emotions didn’t feel any better once the experiment was over.
The bottom line is: learning and focusing on new challenges turned out to be far more effective at lowering stress levels than simply relaxing on its own. The effects of this approach have long-lasting effects on stress as well. Once you change the way you approach stress, you will be able to develop new skills faster and become better at what you do in the future.
1. Learn To Take Risks And Accept Failure
The fear of failing is what keeps most people from trying new things. It’s the primary reason most people don’t even think about learning anything new, especially if it takes a lot of work. Everyone prefers to spend time in their comfort zone, and the fear of the unknown is often stronger than the need to learn something new.
Instead of thinking about how you’re going to fail, you should take a different approach. Think about what happens if you don’t do anything. Nothing, right? Well, nothing is rarely better than something, so don’t be afraid to take a step outside of your comfort zone. The sooner you realize that you have to take some action to progress in life, the easier it will be to take a risk.
2. Learning Helps You Become More Resilient
Even if you’re excellent at what you do, you still run into a few situations where stress feels overwhelming. That can happen because of clients, bad logistics, unforeseen problems, and so on. Well, it turns out that learning new skills teaches you to stop taking everything so personally.
One of the main benefits of learning new things is that you get used to taking on challenges. Instead of letting a business opportunity slide by, your mindset will change, and you’ll feel ready to take on challenges you thought were too complex in the past.
Facing challenges will help you develop new skills. That will make you more prepared for future tasks, and you’ll feel ready to take on more complex challenges in the future. In other words, you will become more self-sufficient, and you will keep evolving your skills until you’re ready to meet new, more complex tasks. Once you change your mindset, results will surely follow.
3. Learn From Failure
Of course, failure is a normal part of learning because you can’t do everything right on the first try. Once you fail and see what you did wrong, you will change your strategy and do it right the next time.
However, if you’re smart and want to learn new skills faster, you should learn from other people’s failures as well. That’s easier said than done, as most people usually look for someone to blame rather than assess the situation whenever something goes wrong. Instead of doing that, try to find the weak spots, face the consequences, and change your approach. That’s the only way to learn something for good.
Let’s say that you want to learn about custom web development. Sure, you can use all kinds of tools to do that, but you will probably get a few details wrong, no matter how good you are. Don’t let that deter you away from becoming a web developer. Learn how to overcome each challenge, and you will become better with time. Once you master it, you will feel good about yourself.
4. Keep Asking Questions
You will probably spend a lot of time trying to overcome the challenge at hand whenever you want to learn new skills. It’s easy to forget about the bigger picture when you’re so focused on overcoming the challenge. However, remember to keep asking questions, as that will help you understand how everything works.
Don’t worry about what your peers think about you. Most people are too scared to ask questions because they feel like other people will think less of them. But the reality is completely different. Asking questions is a good thing because it tells everyone involved that you’re willing to learn and become better at what you do.
For example, if you want to learn how to create mobile apps, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a few professional mobile application developers and ask for some tips. Talking to professionals can help you speed up your learning process. Keep asking questions, but make sure that you listen to the answer. Asking questions will help you accomplish more in less time, which will undoubtedly help your dopamine levels and help you forget about stress.
All of the evidence suggests that the so-called learning culture is much more effective at helping you cope with stress than simply taking a time out to relax, although relaxing every once in a while certainly can’t hurt. Knowing that you’re becoming better at what you do is all the motivation you need to push through hard days at work. According to Make It, learning something new at work makes you 21% more likely to be happy.
Learning is an act of humility, and it’s one of the traits all successful people share. Keep growing, keep working on new skills, be creative with what you do, and extend your methods to other members of the team. Learning generates new energy, a different perspective, and new opportunities. Invest in yourself, and the rewards will be worth it after a while. Good luck!
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