Reducing Stress by Reducing Your Expectations


Looking for work is a very stressful activity. But you may be able to reduce it by adjusting your attitude about the things around you.

Handling stress is a topic that we often have come across before. In the modern world, handling stress has become a real concern, and many books have been written and careers have been made in giving advice on how to handle stress.

But business consultant Peter Bregman points out something else that is a big stress inducer, something we really aren’t aware of, something that is not just external to us, but more in how we react to what is around us. It is more of a psychological state.

We often become stressed, Bregman says, because our expectations are frustrated. It arises from the difference between what we want or expect to happen and what actually does happen. And stress is becoming more of a problem in our modern world simply because our expectations or desires are increasing all the time, due mostly to the advances in technology. It leads us to continually expect more from our technology, and by extension, to expect more from ourselves and other people.

Bregman relates a story of a friend sailing in the Bahamas. His friend, a real estate developer, routinely handles many stressful situations during his workday, all in a very calm and deliberate manner. But now on his boat, where you would expect him to be far more relaxed, he was in fact more stressed. The reason was that his cell phone wouldn’t work. He needed to make a call, but couldn’t. And he became very frustrated – a very different reaction to one he has at work.

The cause of his stress, Bregman says, was that his expectation was not met. He expected to be able to make the call without any problem.

So, to try and reduce stress, Bregman says, you have two options – either you can change reality, or change your expectations. Sometimes you can change reality, but often you cannot. In fact, trying to change reality often causes more stress.

So, Bregman says, change your expectations. This advice might rankle. After all, in business, the idea is to make change, not simply accept conditions as they are. But here it is wise to use some perspective on the matter. Often, trying to change reality is more trouble than it’s worth, Bregman says. And often the things that are causing the stress are not that major to begin with – not worth getting upset over.

If your expectations aren’t being met in your job search, consider registering with a staffing service such as RealStreet Staffing. We have many temporary as well as direct-hire opportunities for construction, engineering and architecture professionals in the Washington, DC area that we’d love to discuss with you. Many of our temporary assignments are long term and/or offer a temp-to-hire placement. Contact us today!

After a string of failures trying to find the right person on our own, RealStreet came through for us. The first person they recommended was the person we’d been looking for all along. It doesn’t get better than that.

Joshua A. Woolley

See All Testimonials

Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly emails for up-to-date industry news and insights.