I’ll get by with a little help from my friends

We all have times when the mountain of work we have to seems impossible, or we have a big event approaching us at warp speed and getting faster, or that exam/presentation/performance is coming at us with a vengeance. Conventional wisdom tells us to roll our sleeves up, get our heads down and work like crazy. So we do. We lock ourselves away in our office, the library, our bedroom, the garden shed – wherever we can be undisturbed by those annoying people and just get ON with it.

And this is almost exactly the wrong thing to do. Withdrawing in this way reduces the social contacts that we have and this makes us unhappy, which affects our performance and increases our stress levels. That makes the challenge even harder for us, so we withdraw more and so spiral down into despair and even depression.

The best thing to do when you are challenged is to reach out to those close to you and get their help and support. Just having a gossip with them will lighten your mood. Yes, it’s true, sharing your views on X-Factor or Strictly actually makes you happier. The better your social contacts, the happier you are. That makes you less stressed and leads to innovation, creativity and motivation. Which are kind of handy when you are facing a major challenge.

Ah, the wisdom of Joe Cocker. At least I think that’s what he was saying.

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