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  • The world is in chaos? How do I focus on my work?

    In recent days, we have seen a new strain of COVID-19, a continued rise of COVID-19 cases, political chaos in the United States, and a violent insurrection in the Capitol building. As these events unfold, many people are asking themselves questions such as, “Am I still supposed to do my work today?” and “Does it even matter if I work today?” or “How can I focus on my job right now while these events are happening?”

    In situations such as these, each individual must judge for themselves whether or not they choose to focus on their work. For those who choose to focus on work, a recent article by Cory Stieg published by CNBC Make It discusses strategies for work that are good for your mental health.

    Understand that how you feel is normal

    Stieg interviewed Dr. Daniel Lieberman, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at George Washington University. Dr. Lierberman noted that the human body is well suited for short bursts of stress. The fight or flight response helps the human body to prepare to either fight off physical threats or run away to safety. However, the human body is not equipped to manage long-term severe chronic stress. We have all been dealing with a pandemic for several months now. If you find yourself feeling exhausted and struggling to be productive, you are not alone.

    Set realistic goals

    Dr. Lieberman reminds us that we must not only pay attention to our conscious internal thought that we use to make plans, but also to our more reflexive emotional experience. When setting our expectations about how much we can achieve, we must consider our emotional state. We need to take into account whether or not we are at “full capacity” or if we can even function at all.

    Limit exposure to media

    During times of crisis, we often have a tendency to attempt to gather as much information as possible. Dr. Lieberman reminds us to set daily limits for ourselves by deciding in advance how much media we can consume. For example, we might choose to view one hour of news a day. It is important to stick to the time we have budgeted for ourselves. Although we often fear we will miss something important, excessively viewing the news usually only serves to add to our stress.

    Click here to view Stieg’s original article.

    If you are interested in learning how CBT can help to manage chronic stress, contact us for a free phone consultation.


    Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.