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When you’re job hunting, it’s normal to experience stress. But when stress becomes extreme, it can sabotage your search – and even impact your health, if it really gets out of control.

How can you come to accept stress as a normal personal challenge, and rise above it? Recent research has produced insightful resolutions that, when all is said and done, boil down to being nicer to yourself. In other words, stop beating yourself up over every little setback. Look out for Number One, and then you can move on to professional success and personal fulfillment.

Cultivate Self-Compassion

Compassion is defined as sensitivity to suffering and the desire to alleviate it. As often as you show compassion to others, how often do you extend it to yourself?

• An innate negativity bias makes most people dwell on their shortcomings instead of learning from them and then letting them go. For example, are you wallowing right now on the rejection letter you received last week or the interview that didn’t go as well as you’d hoped? Self-compassion can get you past this roadblock and enable you to move on with a higher degree of confidence and motivation.

Dr. Kristin Neff, a University of Texas professor, has spent more than 10 years studying self-compassion. In fact, she is the author of a book with the same title. Her framework for developing self-compassion has three core components:

1. Self-kindness – versus self-judgment. This means treating yourself with the same patience, empathy, warmth, and understanding you would extend to someone else in your situation.

2. Common humanity – versus isolation. It’s important to view your fallibility as part of the larger human condition. Recognize your connection to others, and embrace your struggles as an intrinsic part of simply being human.

3. Mindfulness – versus over-identification. Practicing mindfulness involves observing what you’re thinking and feeling with a warm heart, rather than trying to avoid difficult feelings or over-identify with them, which makes things seem bigger and worse than they actually are.

Self-Compassion Trumps Even Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is very important when job hunting, but additional studies have found that people who practice self-compassion are more motivated to work hard and get ahead. The key success factor is: They don’t measure their self-worth based solely on the results they achieve. Rather, they realize that if they don’t get the outcome they want, it won’t be the end of the world.

• Self-compassion is now regarded as more valuable than self-esteem for a person’s overall well-being and performance. In one study, it was found that participants with higher levels of self-compassion were able to handle disappointment more positively and stay more motivated to keep trying after their failures. And, they were less prone to performance anxiety – which plagues so many people, including those experiencing career transitions.

Stress management is one of many hurdles you may need to jump as you pursue your successful job search. And as virtually any expert will tell you, it’s so much harder to face it alone. An experienced search expert from TRC Professional Solutions can help you keep the right perspective on your progress, as well as provide contacts, advice, market intelligence, and guidance every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more.


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