How to Keep Your Spirits Up During Your Job Search

If you’ve been in a job search for more than a few weeks you may be experiencing the feelings of defeat and despair, not to mention the urge to give up. It’s been a tough year, and then some, for those who have lost jobs for whatever reason. Interviewing with no second interviews or offers coming in begins to wear thin – very fast.

Here are some tips to keep your spirits up when you’re feeling down during this process.

1. Don’t give up.

You may have heard some of these stories before but they remain inspirational.

* Thomas Edison patented 1,093 inventions in his lifetime, but it took him 10,000 attempts to make an electric light bulb work.

* Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse series failed to become an instant hit, but he kept trying and in 1928 he added sound and made it an electrifying success.

* Milton Hershey failed several businesses before he became the “Chocolate King” and built Hershey town. He even went bankrupt in his first business venture.

(Source “Milana Leshinsky” – http://www.accpow.com.)

These are great “successes-after-failure stories” that couldn’t have happened if these people hadn’t continued to pursue their dreams. Anyone can give up – that’s easy! The challenge is to pick yourself up after a failure and move forward. That is what will set you apart from “the pack.”

2. Accept the ups and downs

It’s not unusual to have highs and lows during your job search. Some days you may even feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster. Everything looks hopeful one moment with a job prospect ahead, and then it changes to dark and dismal in the next moment when you receive a rejection. Accepting the fact that this is a stressful time you are going through and that a great deal of it is out of your control will help you put things into perspective.

3. Give yourself permission to fail.

It is very disappointing when you feel like you “aced” the interview and then wait for the promised call that never comes. Be realistic – you aren’t going to get a job offer after every interview. Think of it this way, you didn’t marry every date you ever dated (at least most of us didn’t), and you aren’t going to get a job offer after every interview. And maybe that’s a good thing, at least some of the time. Remember, you are interviewing “them” as much as they are interviewing you.

4. Work on controlling stress

Stress becomes a problem when it begins to affect your lifestyle and health. Are you waking up in the middle of the night or skipping meals because you are feeling really down or upset? You may need to talk to someone who is a professional to get some advice about relaxation techniques. Park and Recreation departments in most cities offer relaxation courses of some kind – yoga, pilates, aerobics, or stress control exercises – for a nominal fee, that could assist you in getting back on balance.

5. Continue to get “out there”

Study after study published continues to indicate that “networking” is still the number one way to land a job. Take advantage of every opportunity to be with groups of people. This encompasses everything from your child’s soccer game to a Chamber of Commerce event. Informal networking can happen at any moment and when you least expect it. An example is of a man waiting for a bus. He struck up a conversation with another man also waiting for the bus and ended up getting a job lead and an eventual offer. No one can predict when an opportunity might come your way.

6. Prepare yourself

Preparing ahead of the interview will give you a definite advantage. What this means is getting focused about what you want the interviewer to know about you. You are presenting a picture of you with words. It is important to identify what makes you unique and what added value you can bring to the position. Reading through the job posting you are applying for and getting a sense of what it will take to do this job will help you look at the process from interviewer’s point of view. You want to let the interviewer know that you are the “solution to the problem,” and the best person for the job.

7. Keep in mind – you are not alone

Remember, it is an extremely tight job market and that for every job opening there are four or five equally qualified candidates standing in line behind you. It is essential that you are prepared, focused, and able to tell the interviewer what makes you unique and why you are the best person for the job.

Keeping upbeat is a part of your job right now. When you begin to give into the dark side you will project that to others. You want to stay as upbeat as possible, particularly while interviewing. Bringing confidence and energy to the interview are the two most important ingredients to connecting with the interviewer.

How Successful People Beat Stress

If it feels like everything is more stressful these days, that’s because it is. Recent research by the University of Cambridge has shown that more than a third of people feel overwhelmed by technology today, including 34 percent of tech-savvy millennials.

A separate study, conducted by Nielsen, found that 80 percent of American workers feel major stress in the office. A few reasons employees cited for feeling stressed out included long commutes, low pay, unreasonable workload, problematic co-workers and limited work-life balance.But there’s no need to suffer in silence. Keep chaos at bay by practicing these proven solutions to boost your energy, ratchet down your stress level and help you become a top performer:

Decide if you want more or less of certain activities. Stress drains energy, leaving you low on mojo to achieve important tasks and reach goals. To regain your center when knocked off balance by daily stressors, thinking about how you are spending your time can help. In their book “Find Your Balance Point,” authors Brian Tracy and Christina Stein suggest that you can energize your life and feel less stressed by considering which activities are giving you the best results, and doing more of those things.

By the same token, the opposite principle also holds true. “Obviously, you should be doing less of the things that are not working for you – that are not giving you good results and are causing you unhappiness and frustration,” they write.

Think about what you should start or stop. When you’re mired in your habits at work and home, stress can sneak up on you. You may be unaware that the choices you’ve made previously in your career and personal life no longer fit, leading you to feel stressed. Tracy and Stein suggest taking the above advice one step further to think about what new thing you can start doing today to boost your happiness and take you out of your comfort zone.

Similarly, you can probably identify actions or activities that you’d be better off cutting out of your life completely. “In time management or personal management, and whenever you feel frustrated and unhappy for any reason, ask yourself this great question: ‘What should I do more of, less of, start, or stop?'” Tracy and Stein write. “You will always find the answers somewhere within yourself.”

Beware of snowballing. While it’s true that stress in small doses can actually be helpful, when stressful situations go on too long, it’s a whole different story. Research from The University of Dublin has suggested that when your brain is exposed to cumulative stress, it can damage brain structure and function.

Excessive stress has also been linked with accelerated aging, increased risk of cancer and other diseases and decreased longevity. In his book “Are You Fully Charged?” author Tom Rath compares the accumulation of stress over time in your body to what happens when snow is left to sit for too long on the sidewalk, eventually becoming too deep, heavy and icy to easily shovel away.

Rather than letting stress snowball, Rath recommends being aware of chronic stressors in your life and finding ways to change them. “Consider some of the things that regularly create stress in your life,” he writes. “Map out how you can avoid these situations in the first place, or at least minimize the daily stress they cause. Rarely, if ever, is putting up with intense stress worth the consequences for your health and well-being.”

Recognize sources of secondhand stress. If you think about some of the most anxiety-producing situations in your life right now, many of them probably involve other people. Rath refers to this as “secondhand stress” and notes in his book that you can easily “inherit” other people’s stress. “Play defense against inherited stress throughout the day,” he writes. “You have enough emotional stressors to deal with on your own, let alone if you assume the stressors of your colleagues, neighbors and social networks.”

Banish toxic thoughts. Navy SEALs exemplify exceptional resilience under unusually stressful circumstances. In the book “Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed,” author George S. Everly Jr. and his co-authors drew on decades of research and interviews with Navy SEALs and other highly resilient people and discovered that many of them shared the trait of “active optimism.” This quality of confidence, which allows you to believe in yourself and your ability to succeed and reach your goals, helps overcome toxic thoughts to maintain a positive attitude, even when faced with difficult circumstances.

“Our findings also suggest that a person’s attitude on the job, and possibly in life in general, are as important or more important than the working or living environment itself,” Everly writes. Take these findings to heart, and work on quashing a mindset of repetitive worry and negativity, which the research in “Stronger” found linked to burnout, job dissatisfaction, poor job performance and quitting your job.