Stay In Control When Out-of-Work (Or facing unemployment) Through Self-Talk/Self-Hypnosis
If you are one of the tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders currently looking for work, you can’t control the fact that you don’t have a job (right now). But you can, and must, learn to manage your emotions.
Why? Aside from the obvious (maintaining your well-being), a positive attitude will keep you motivated and open to possibilities.
And your enemy is fear.
Hypnosis and self-hypnosis can help you reduce anxiety at the subconscious level. But consider this right now at the conscious, logical level:
At the height of the depression (25% unemployment nationally) President Franklin Roosevelt made a famous speech in which he declared “All we have to fear is fear itself.” He knew that frightened people are not effective people. They do not make good decisions. They do not see possibility. They literally feel depressed.
Thanks to New Deal legislation, today’s unemployed face far less stress than our grandparents and great-grandparents did in the Great Depression. Today, we have extended unemployment benefits, social security, medicare, medicaid and other safety nets so that no one today has to face the desperation of the dark days of the 30s.
But, unfortunately, unemployment is more than just the loss of a paycheck. It can bring with it the loss of self-esteem, identify, sense of belonging, emotional security and balance. It can impact the unemployed workers health (both mental and physical) and damage his or her relationships with family and friends.
Start by Accepting that Unemployment
is a Personal Crises
Unemployed people go through a process, almost like mourning for a deceased loved one. Emotions typically range from denial, to fear/anger, despair and finally acceptance. The faster you move through these stages the better you will be.
Why not begin by accepting that there are some things that are beyond your control?
Start by accepting that you can’t change the fact that your former job ended, or the circumstances that ended it. You can’t change the economy, your age, qualifications, household bills.
Then consider a few suggestions for moving forward. Like President Roosevelt’s speech they won’t change the facts of unemployment, but following these recommendations will help you change how you feel. Instead of wasting time on worrying about what you can’t change, you will be in control of what you can control: how you think, feel and act over the days and weeks ahead.
You Can Control Your Time
Surely you will agree that your job is now finding a job. There are many books, articles and resources about how to get a job or “reinvent” yourself. By all means seek these out. Investigate every avenue to replace the lost income. Educate yourself. Become an expert on finding work.
But also recognize that without a job to report to, you will need to somehow replace 40 plus hours a week and the familiarity of a daily structure. You must, therefore, plan your day. Start with a written to do list. Block out the times you will be working and the times you will be doing other activities. Simple as that.
Part of good time management, especially when you are out-of-work, is balancing your life for good mental and physical health. Make a special effort to include time for exercise, family activities, recreation, spiritual and social events. Avoid the temptation to stop living a full life while you are waiting to get connected with your new position.
You Can Try to Adopt a Positive Attitude
You will probably get sick of hearing comments like “Just remember when one door closers another opens” or “Look at unemployment as an opportunity to reinvent yourself and figure out what you really want to do.”
Both of those statements may be absolutely true, but it doesn’t help to hear it from others. However, there is one person you will listen to: yourself. Start by using self-talk to “sell yourself” on a positive attitude. If you are generally an optimist, managing your attitude may come naturally to you. If not you will need to work on it. Here are some specific steps to get you started:
- Write a gratitude list. List everything you are grateful for. Everything. Health. Family. Any resources. Update the list regularly and review it daily.
- Write an asset list. This is not a resume. It is a list of everything that makes you valuable. It includes the obvious: education, skills, work experience; but also include personal qualities like work ethic, personality, anything you can think of.
- Write an accomplishment list. Include anything you ever did that you felt good about. You might start with a spelling bee contest you won in second grade or the first time you rode a two wheeler, etc.
- Make a list of positive activities you can enjoy right now. Then start doing them. They can be personal changes like getting fit, stopping smoking, reconnecting with old friends or household repairs, listening to music you love, going for walks.
- Exercise. Daily exercise is the single best anti-depressant. And it can be free or very inexpensive. Being fit will also increase your self-esteem.
- Write a list of big personal goals. This may seem counter-intuitive. But it will break you out of the negative thinking trap. Include anything you think you might like to do. Places you want to visit. Things you want to have. Call it a dream list. And let yourself dream. Why not?
- Learn to live one day at a time. This strategy is one of the best ways to manage stress. Plan your day each morning. Review your day past each night. Work on focusing on each day. This is not Pollyanna denial. It is a proven emotional management technique for reducing worry.
- Refuse to get caught up in negativity. Avoid people whose negative attitude brings you down. Seek out positive perspectives socially and in the media.
- Work on your relationship. Acknowledge that you, your significant and family other are under stress right now. This is a time to communicate, spend time together. Avoid the temptation to pull back now more than ever.
- Watch out for negative habits. Be alert to your drinking, recreational chemical taking, eating habits, gambling, internet habits. Seek help if you need it. There are plenty of free 12-step resources in our state.
- Read motivational stories of people who turned unemployment into opportunities. Your library has them. Amazon.com lists 222 books under the subject “coping with unemployment.”
- Reconnect with your spirituality. Many people find a connection with a “power greater than themselves” a powerful, positive factor.
- Master the art of positive thinking. It comes natural to some people. If it doesn’t to you, it can still be learned. Amazon.com lists an amazing 27,253 books and cds under the subject “positive thinking.”
- Use your public library. If you don’t have a library card, get one. It is FREE and offers a broad range of support. Computers to use. Books and CDs to get. Events to attend. The library is a gateway to new interests, a way to get out of the house during the day. And discover the CLAN system that can get you materials from anywhere in the state. All FREE.
You Can Network and Talk to People Rather Than Isolate
Don’t fall into the isolation trap (sending out resumes on the computer and calling it a day). Get out of the house. Seek out people. Not only can networking help you land a job, but it will also help you to feel connected with the world. Consider any opportunity for social interaction such as volunteering (kids’ sports coach, literacy volunteer, etc), taking courses, attending free lectures (check your library or read the list of events in this or other publications), getting more involved with a church or support group.
Consider the Job Club of Rhode Island
According to their website “Job Club RI idea uses principles and methods developed by East Coast psychologist Nathan Azrin. The rationale for Job Club RI comes from a unique, innovative and “grass roots” approach to job hunting combining job search skills and techniques in a supportive group environment followed by aggressive job development/placement and follow up.
Individuals from various socioeconomic backgrounds meet once a week for a 6 week period covering the basics of a successful job search including topics such as resume development, interviewing techniques, networking, local/regional employment trends, and local employer contacts. Members are given weekly hand outs and examples of resumes, interview questions and responses, and job search strategies.”
How Self-Hypnosis and Hypnotic Coaching
Can Help When You are Unemployed
Managing your self-talk is essential when unemployed. And hypnosis, self-hypnosis and hypnotherapy can help you alter your inner conversation. It won’t change the fact of unemployment, but you can use these tools to create a positive mental attitude, find peace and purpose and get into action.
If you feel overwhelmed, seek out counseling. Many counselors (and this hypnotist) offer a sliding scale and will be happy to cut you a break. And I will be happy to help. Let me know when you come in for the session whether you need a break off my regular fee. I am happy to offer it to help you get through this challenging time in your life.