Addicted to work ?

Do you relate to few of the below mentioned signs?

• Always in a hurry to get things done
• Anxiety when you aren't at work
• Denying that you have a problem when confronted with it
• Health problems caused by lack of sleep, exercise, and/or proper diet
• Inability to relax while on vacation or spending time with family due to work
• Irritable without work
• Spending time at work instead of with family and/or friends
• Thinking that you are the only one who can do the job "right"
• Don't know how to unwind
• Postponing vacations and rest
• Doing unnecessary work
• Avoiding intimacy
• Getting excited about work than anything else in your life
• Take work with you to bed instead or home on the weekends
• Friends and family give up on you arriving anywhere on time
• You think it’s ok to work long hours if you’re passionate about what you’re doing.
• Are afraid if you don’t work hard you’ll be a failure.
• Get irritated when friends or family interrupt your work time asking you to spend time with them
• Your long work hours are hurting other relationships in your life
• Take on lots of extra work because you don’t think it will get done properly?

Well if you have few of the above signs, then chances are, you are addicted to work! It’s the addiction that no one frowns upon. With so many other bad habits out there like drugs, binge eating, and alcoholism, can being addicted to work really be all that bad? I mean, those are the winners, right? They’re the ones that make the big bucks, that have clawed their way to the top, that receive the promotions and raises and praise from the Powers That Be. They’re the ones we look up to. While all that may be true, those same 5-Star employees are working themselves to ruin!

If you are a self confessed workaholic, its time you change your stance. If you are one of those who eat, drink and sleep work, you may safely be branded as being a ‘workaholic’. While on one hand admitting the fact that you are a workaholic may fetch you some brownie points from your superiors at work, it may not get you good reviews from your friends, family or the human resources fraternity. A workaholic falls prey to an invisible addiction that grows on them slowly and is hard to resist. He is preoccupied with work, whether at the workplace or not. Unlike someone who simply works hard, an addict is driven to work, feels compelled to work, is unable to delegate to others, has a lot more stress, is a perfectionist, and may be using work as an escape.

Workaholism, or compulsive working, takes many forms; however, it is easy to oversee the signs of this addiction. In fact, workaholics are people whom the organization trusts the most. Typically physical signs to watch out for include headaches, fatigue, indigestion, chest pain, nervous tics or dizziness. Behavioral signs may include temper outbursts, restlessness, insomnia, difficulty relaxing, irritability, impatience, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating and mood swings that can range from euphoria to depression.

People with work addiction typically hail from careers that are stressful. They often enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with responding to situations at work and often in the urge to recreate a similar feeling, they end up spending excessive amount of time and energy at their workplace, which at most times is uncalled for. Another reason why someone may develop an addiction to work is low self-esteem. Work addicts may come from a family that is never satisfied by him/her; so they put forth an extraordinary effort at work to show that they are worthy.

Often workaholics are awful bosses and unwanted team members. E.g a workaholic boss generally ends up micro-managing his subordinates, crushing their creativity and initiative. This boss is reluctant to promote the rising star in the team, fearing that the subordinate would eclipse him as a performer. In many cases, micro-management by workaholic bosses leads to morale problems at the office, and retaliation by subordinates. At home too, if one has a workaholic spouse he is best considered ‘not there’. Workaholics can't let go of work and, therefore, aren't good parents and aren't involved in raising the children.

Work addiction leads to long-term stress which is a major factor in ill health. Working at the expense of your life is never recommended nor is it feasible. Instead what one needs to do is to focus on their goals and aspire to achieve them. So, how can one recover? It's a long, slow journey. Early recognition and prevention are the first steps.

Schedule playtime for yourself, and stick to it. Whether it’s golf, swimming, or taking your kids to a baseball game, write it into your schedule just as if you would a meeting. Leave your cell phone and PDA at home.

Value yourself. By taking time off, eating right and getting some exercise you’re saying to yourself that you respect your life and are committed to having a healthy lifestyle.

Remember that life is supposed to be fun too. Allow yourself a few indulgences- a day at the spa, eating out with family or friends on the weekends, and do it without guilt.

Seeing a therapist is also a good option.

In the end, the goal is to balance work and life, and in the process family tensions can be decreased, health problems can be avoided and quality of work can be heightened. Some may even find respite by negotiating alternative work schedules, scheduling additional time with their families, or even exploring new career options. For more severe work issues, however, a support group may offer relief. The internet also offers many such forums and self help groups.

Learn to have fun again.


Speak up: Stifling anger at work can kill

Am sharing with you a study that was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (JECH). JECH is a leading internation journal of the Society for Social Medicine and belongs to the British Medical Journal group.

Men who bottle up their anger at being unfairly treated at work are up to five times more likely to suffer a heart attack, or even die from one, than those who let their frustration show, a Swedish study has found. The study by the Stress Research Institute of Stockholm University followed 2,755 employed men who had not suffered any heart attacks from 1992 to 2003.

At the end of the study, 47 participants had either suffered an attack, or died from heart disease , and many of those had been found to be covertly coping with unfair treatment at work. After adjustment for age, socioeconomic factors, risk behaviors , job strain and biological risk factors at baseline, there was a close-response relationship between covert coping and the risk of incident myocardial infarction or cardiac death , the studys authors wrote.

Covert coping was listed as letting thing pass without saying anything and going away despite feelings of being hard done by colleagues or bosses. Men who often used these coping techniques had a two to fivefold higher risk of developing heart disease than those who were more confrontational at work, the study showed.

The researchers said that they could not answer the question of what might be a particularly healthy coping strategy at work, but listed open coping behavior when experiencing unfair treatment or facing a conflict as protesting directly , talking to the person right away , yelling at the person right away or speaking to the person later when things have calmed down .

Guys, speak up or stifling anger will kill you at work!


Forgiveness and wellbeing

In our daily lives, we cannot avoid resentment, bitterness and feelings of grudge. They are a part of human nature. Many people carry past hurts inside them and are unable to let them go. One of the most difficult acts is to forgive someone wholeheartedly. We refuse to forgive. It could be anyone our friends, neighbors, parents, children, ex-spouse. Harboring grudges and nursing ill feelings towards anybody never did anyone any good. We think about our past hurt and plan to get even with the person who has hurt us. Some of us may suppress and disguise our emotions but deep down the pain persists.

Keeping grudges and nursing ill feelings towards a person never did any good. In fact, when we don't forgive someone for a past deed, we're not only punishing that person but also ourselves too. The anger and resentment we feel towards that person rests in a remote corner of our mind, like a heavy burden. We have to carry this burden all our lives. This makes our life difficult. It also makes it difficult for us to achieve happiness and peace leaving us feeling depressed, frustrated and dissatisfied.Forgiveness is fundamental to healing and spiritual wellbeing. It is painful to hold oneself or another person angrily or resentfully out of your heart. If someone hurts you, forgive him/her and move on. Life gives you a new set of worries and anxieties every day. Why carry those old and useless emotions with you? The past cannot be changed. It’s gone forever. Move on. Forgiving wholeheartedly will give you a fresh lease of life and free your soul. As long as you don't forgive, it will occupy rent-free space in your mind. Forgiving others benefits us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It is a fundamental part of the healing process.

Little do we realize that when we forgive a person, we're doing a favor to our own self. Besides making the other person happy and guilt-free, forgiving someone makes us feel light and happy. It gets rid of old baggage and clears up unfinished business. Forgiveness is the highest form of letting go of resentment and ego. In fact, forgiving yourself and others is very liberating. So why are you enslaving yourself when freedom is just a step away? Forget revenge and retribution. Adopt the policy of "to forgive and forget' and watch your life move into overdrive.

Having said that, true forgiveness is more than an apology or pushing back that incident. To forgive, we need to decide that we won’t allow the memories of the event to poison us any longer. We’re ready to heal this wound from the past and open to a fresh new beginning. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.

More on how to forgive in my next blog. Keep reading.


Travel to Wellness

I'm sorry for having neglected this blog for the past 5 months. I've been busy travelling around the globe, and to compensate for excessive hours spent at the computer I went on an electronic diet. It's like detox, but instead of wolfing down laxatives you just unplug the broadband. Cheaper, but way more therapeutic! So now am back after a long hiatus with new vigor, fresh perspective and more positivity.

The past 5 months, I have been travelling for work and holidaying around 3 continents and 10 countries. It was a super varied experience of fun exploring new places, learning new cultures, creating memories, reconnecting and building relationships with long lost mates, improving my overall sense of well-being and of course working!

On the work front, it was an exhilarating experience, training, coaching and giving talks in North America, Europe and Asia to corporations, groups and individuals. It's always a pleasure to help my participants become highly successful achievers and peak performers in their chosen fields of business. Some of these included Consultants, Entrepreneurs, Financial professionals, Headhunters, Alternative Healers, Software professionals and Venture capitalists.

I made an effort to incorporate yoga among the various coaching schedules and surely it was endeared by all the participants. It was very satisfying to make the golfers from Los Angles experience the efficacy of yoga in improving their game. Similarly, the brainstorming, super-duper McKinsey consultants in Germany happily went incommunicado during meditation and commended the instant relaxtion and clarity of thought they experienced. I was very touched while conducting a session for professional jokers ( yes, you read that right!) in the south of France. Must say, language can never be a barrier to learning. This effervescent group grasped the nuances of yoga poses very well with limited English knowledge. Last heard, they have been diligently practicing yoga twice a week.

Finally, I'm extremely grateful to scores of people who made these 5 months of travel, stay and work very interesting and full of fun. A big thanks to Peter, Akash, Eric, Bryony, Naren, Puneet, Paolo, Preeti, Andrea, Gustavo, Lisa, Robert and all those strangers who came in my life and helped me make the best of my limited time in various countries.

Nirvana to you all!