Losing a job can be tough. Whether you're one of many cut during a mass layoff or singled out because you and the boss just didn't see eye to eye, getting fired for many workers is a life-altering event.
In part that's because we're human, and losing a job -- and the income and self fulfillment that comes with it -- often feels like failure. But there are ways to work through job loss that can help minimize the guilt, stress and depression that accompany it, according to psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter.
Writing in Psychology Today, Carter says that while such feelings are normal, "they can also be self-defeating in the sense that such negativity can have a dramatic impact on the ultimate outcome."
In other words, negativity spawns negativity, while maintaining an optimistic outlook increases the chances of a positive outcome.
Carter offers these tips to help those struggling in the aftermath of losing a job.
1. Don't panic. While a moderate degree of anxiety has been consistently found to be a motivator, panic will only make the situation worse. No one makes good choices while in a state of panic and good opportunities can be lost during the panic period.
2. Don't isolate yourself. Giving yourself time to reflect on the past can be helpful after losing a job, but don't sacrifice the important connections you have with family, friends and colleagues who can provide emotional support.
3. Don't let negative emotions consume you. Anger, bitterness and sadness are common emotions experienced after being fired, but dwelling on these negative feelings saps valuable energy that could be better used in finding new opportunities.
4. Don't get in a mental rut. Try thinking outside the box. Most people are comfortable with what they know and have done before, but if a new opportunity presents itself, it might be a good idea to venture into unfamiliar territory even if it makes you nervous initially.
For more insight, check out Carter's entire list of Seven Things To Avoid After Being Fired.
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