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  • Writer's pictureJohn J Lowe

Expectation can improve or damage your health

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

It is extraordinary how expectation is such a fundamental part of our DNA. How we manage it can affect our mood, our happiness and our stress levels.

When our expectations are balanced and realistic then the outcome of events will positively influence our quality of life at work or at recreation.

When our expectations are exaggerated and unrealistic then the inevitable outcome is disappointment and stress. Stress compounds negativity and worry and we become trapped in this spiral of expecting the worst. Potentially positive outcomes are recalibrated into yes, but what if? scenarios. Colleagues and friends are classified as being too optimistic and not fully aware of the risks of events or situations.

The more stressed you become the more distorted your expectations. Stress promotes insularism and reclusiveness at a time when you need the help of others to keep your balance. This can be an albatross as you anticipate harmful outcomes though they are most unlikely to occur. Your judgement is out of balance and coping with simple tasks is a real challenge. You ignore texts, emails and phone calls in the hope that they will go away and leave me alone

To rectify this negativity it is important you perform a mental log out.

Stand back from life. Get into a zone-free thinking space and review your anticipation mode. This will encourage a more balanced perspective. Reflect on your worries within their contextual environment. Will it happen? Is it real or just perceived? Is it important? Can I discuss it with a colleague? Can I really influence the outcome? What are the good things I should look forward to? Talk to positive, happy friends and slowly your anticipations will meet your real expectations.

Standing back, mentally logging out or stepping off the continuous treadmill or whatever we want to call it will always have a beneficial effect. You will enjoy life with a more contented outlook. It is rather like your friends and colleagues who will write long lists of the things they must do. It does not mean that things get done. In fact the lists may get longer but the action itself of listing can be very reassuring and affirmative psychologically.

Learn to recognise the signs when you start to worry about insignificant issues and engage less with colleagues and friends. And most importantly know you can manage your stress rather than it controlling you. Revisit your expectations and rebalance them. Read my blog ‘How to manage stress at work'. This is insightful as it takes a more relational approach which is always personality dependent. Recognising your personality type and your vulnerabilities will help you put expectations in the realistic box and promote the occurrence of predicted outcomes.

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