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The Integrated Mind & How to Prevent Burnout

Kathryn Diaz, Therapist, shares some wisdom on how to prevent burnout.

Work-related stress and job burnout are among some of the leading factors contributing to poor health. And, in a world of perpetual “go,” the line between productive and modernity’s egotistical placement of identity in doing (e.g., you are what you do) can quickly become blurred.

But burnout is nothing to take lightly, especially at work. The truth is, people have families to feed and physical needs to take care of, so how can we work well without neglecting our wellness? How can we “do” and “be” at the same time?

The answer? An integrated self.

Mindfulness Helps You Leave Work at Work

One of the best ways to practice encountering one’s shadow (in the Jungian sense) is through mindfulness. And one of the best things about mindfulness is that I can help you leave the stresses of work at work. Any job will come with its list of stresses — nothing you can do about it. But that doesn’t mean you have to let your mind enter into that mess as you wade through it. This 2017 study shows that mindfulness can help reduce job anxiety and increase job satisfaction. 

Mindfulness Can Help Your Body

The fact is, eastern medicinal practices have long been correct about something science has only relatively recently discovered: the mind affects the body. Exercises that teach us to slow down and detach our fight and flight from every unexpected voice calling our name can do wonders for our health. Stress affects your health, and often our lack of sovereignty in any given situation affects our stress. In a culture of outrage, it’s essential to learn to slow down, discern what is happening around us, and focus on the task at hand. By doing so, we limit our attention to our sphere of influence – the things we can control – and we learn to discern, delegate, and even delay.

Remember that line about each job coming with its list of unique stresses? I want to speak a bit more about this. 

It may seem like nothing more than semantics, but I think we must redefine our workplace obstacles. No, I’m not speaking about viewing everything as an opportunity (though mindset is everything), but instead the act of becoming acutely aware of our identity. As humans of free agency, we can enter into stressful circumstances with our very being still permeating with peace and patience. For anyone who has ever seen a James Bond movie, note how the protagonist endeavors to defeat his adversaries and disarm dangerous situations. How? With the same amount of ease as if he was back in the hotel, stirring his martini.

While it takes practice, mindfulness and peace come from within our being and not from what we do daily. Mindfulness is important because it can help us discover our identity as something transcendent, untouchable, and worthy of being preserved.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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