View Full Version : Perseverating Thoughts About Work

03-07-16, 06:12 PM
Hi Everyone,

I was wondering if anyone had any tips for dealing with perseverating thoughts about work?

My job stresses me out, I know I am not alone in that, but I cannot seem to put the thoughts about it behind me when I am not there.

I take very little time off from work, but when I do I'd really like to enjoy it, yet I will think about work and then call people at work, check work email, respond to work texts, I think that is part of why I don't take time off, why bother.

This seems to have gotten worse in the last 6 months and I cannot seem to figure out how to get out of this rut.

03-07-16, 06:22 PM
Are you on meds? Med's help the most if they work.


Find an interest in your private life that you love so much that your addiction to it is greater than your addiction to work. Make it a healthy addiction that has to have a time limit like say a sport or music or something where it can only be done during certain hours of the day and provide you with health benefits.

Listen to music. Listen to music while doing some other activity at the same time - less room in your mind to add a 3rd thought in when you are concentrating on music and the activity.

High stimulation activities in general seem to clear my mind. I don't think work at all when scuba diving, skiing, playing the keyboard, etc.

It's all about preoccupying your mind with other thoughts for me (or meds).

03-07-16, 09:14 PM
Thank you acdc01. I am on 20 mg of adderall a day and I run 3 miles a day about 6 days a week. Yoga and weight training as well. Those did used to work. But for some reason they are not now. But you are right...I must find something else that is so engrossing that it pulls me away from work thoughts!

03-07-16, 10:05 PM
Thank you acdc01. I am on 20 mg of adderall a day and I run 3 miles a day about 6 days a week. Yoga and weight training as well. Those did used to work. But for some reason they are not now. But you are right...I must find something else that is so engrossing that it pulls me away from work thoughts!

20 mgs is quite low. Also, I think you may be suffering from anxiety now and might benefit from anti-anxiety meds. Just a thought.

03-08-16, 09:58 PM
I have also been diagnosed with anxiety, so you are spot on there.

I did listen to music when I got home today while I was doing some chores and that did seem to help focus my mind.

I will talk to my doctor next month about the medicine.

Thank you!

03-09-16, 11:10 AM
I used to have a long bus ride home, and would listen to a book on tape, or play a video game, or read, or just watch the world go by. It helped immensely.

Yesterday I had a rough day at work (system stuff) and I sort of did a speed walk home (did a 15min walk in 8min) and by the time I got home I had built up a bit of momentum and turned on some good music and collected the garbage, made dinner, and did a bit of decluttering. Felt miles better. Then my wife and son got home and I got hugs. nothing better!

I find if I still am dwelling I turn to writing (typing, really). Putting my thoughts/frustrations/anxieties on paper helps me process the thoughts and feelings and helps me structure them. Reading over it, I can often come up with a plan on how to address the issues, too.

03-09-16, 11:18 AM
I have this problem often!
I love my job but it gets overwhelming.
It's really important to absolutely carve out time for yourself and the things you like.
Instead of "trying not to think about work" and getting frustrated because you can't stop thinking about work... just let the "intrusive work thoughts" come and go. I just figured this out, this past year. I mean it's only natural if you are thinking of 1,000 things a day. I'm often wondering what to make for dinner, thinking about errands, etc even when I'm super busy here.

I just have a list now of stuff for home, in a different color pen on my list at work.

03-09-16, 10:58 PM
Thank you very much everyone. I have tried keeping a journal before and usually after I had written a bit about what was stressing me it was out of my system.

I have been doing some reading and part of what I was reading did talk about sitting with the uncomfortable thoughts and not reacting to them or I suppose learning how to not react to them.

Now I will go and do a little bit of yoga and stretching before bed. I think that will be a good habit to get in to.

I appreciate all of these suggestions. It also helps to know that others do this as well. I just feel like I am making myself miserable when I am free to not be miserable at the current moment.

03-10-16, 04:44 PM
The key to not reacting to the uncomfortable thoughts, in my opinion, is not by fighting them, but acknowledging them, making a choice about what to think about, and setting aside or letting the thought pass by.

Sometimes I will make a mental note or jot something down to help with letting the thought pass by (either deciding on a next step for an issue or writing the issue down so I remember to think about it at a more appropriate time)

I can't prevent thoughts from entering my mind or distracting me (otherwise I'd likely be on the wrong forum) but I can choose how I respond to those distrations by making a conscious choice about the task or thoughts I will turn to.

Not a perfect system, but it can be an effective one with practice.

03-10-16, 10:37 PM
This reminds me of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques I have read about. I like the idea of looking at the thoughts more like an observer in a way.

Also choosing how to react is very empowering as opposed to feeling upset by feeling powerless, I get extremely agitated when I feel controlled by situations or other people.

I tried this today. Something happened that upset me at work. I looked at the situation and realized the person who upset me is very insecure and that she was trying to argue with me about something I knew I was correct about which mostly annoyed me because I had handled the situation and needed to move on to do other things. I dismissed it as her problem and not mine, but realized it would be my problem if I wasted more time on thinking about it.

Thank you again for your suggestions and explaining your technique. I have most of my other ADD symptoms in check or utilize them to my advantage at work..but this one has been very hard for me to manage!

03-10-16, 10:41 PM
Your suggestions really helped to solidify what I have been reading about in my mind. I will continue to practice this technique of accepting the thoughts and deciding how to react to them in a purposeful way instead of just letting things spiral. Thank you!

03-17-16, 09:23 PM
I have had a very stressful week, my departments were audited.

There are so many thoughts swirling in my head and I don't want to make this too long...what upsets me is that I am actually pretty good at my job. The audit was awesome. My last review (which was slightly different) my team and I were voted the best out of all those who were graded. I work hard and I think the people who work for me appreciate that and seem to try their best to help me.

Then today someone basically assigned me the role of backing up another person who really does very little. He openly admits to doing very little. But he needs a backup so that the burden is not totally on him. He sneaks out of work every day by 3pm or earlier.

I am furious, said no....sent very angry emails, basically got my boss to say I didn't have to by pointing out how I just killed this audit and does she really want me to leave...(felt manipulative and childish) but unless I do that, I keep getting dumped on. I should mention it was not my boss who said I had to do this, but someone else in our main office. My boss doesn't like to get involved in conflict with our main office.

That is the way my company works..if you are good they use you. I just keep thinking about the inequity and how I usually allow myself to be used, then get so angry and express that anger (although professionally, no yelling or cursing) but then I feel terrible about it all.

This is just a vent. You all have given me some great coping strategies...I just didn't have the will power to use them tonight.

I know it will just take practice and I really have to get better about not letting these things continue to bother me or even bother me to the level that they do.

03-18-16, 08:56 AM
Maybe they're hoping you'll be able to instill some of your work ethic on this guy? I don't know... It almost sounds like they're punishing the hard workers and rewarding the slackers. If someone sneaks out at 3pm every day and I was their boss, things would change very quickly or I'd be looking for his replacement.

There are exceptions, of course, but they shouldn't be lightinging the workload of the slacker and dump on their better employees, as that'll just end up burning out their best employees. They need to find out why the person falls short on their job and either help remedy the situation or bring out the boot!

03-18-16, 08:50 PM
You are spot on KarmanMonkey! Our boss knows he does these things, but doesn't want to deal with it. That of course does not mean that it is acceptable to give others his work. I'm glad I said no. Thank you for your support!