Listed are some of the physical reactions people experience when jobless. Circle the physical effects your layoff is having on you.

  • headaches
  • tension
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • weight change
  • body/muscle aches
  • high blood pressure
  • elevated cholesterol
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • hemorrhoids
  • dry mouth
  • profuse sweating
  • rapid pulse
  • shallow breathing
  • frequent urination
  • colds/flu
  • stomach aches
  • cramps
  • stomach gas
  • impotence
  • teeth grinding
  • skin rash
  • fidgeting

While some of these merely represent a temporary inconvenience or discomfort, others can lead to more severe problems. Exercise, fresh air, and relaxation techniques may help to relieve some of these physical reactions. Nevertheless, if you are experiencing ongoing physical responses to your job loss, consider seeing your doctor to discuss your concerns and possible remedies.

Cognitive Responses (the effects on your mind)

Changes to the way you think may occur during the time following your layoff. Circle the words below that reflect a difference in the way that you think.

  • Confused
  • pessimistic about the future
  • Judgemental
  • self-blaming
  • Distracted
  • self-doubting
  • forgetful
  • critical
  • apathetic
  • closed-minded
  • experiencing low self-esteem
  • negative self-talk
  • negative attitude
  • negative memories

Just as some behaviours are destructive, so are negative thoughts. If you have circled any of the words listed previously, examine ways to replace those self-defeating thoughts with positive, productive ones. For example, if you are thinking, “I can’t do this. How can I possibly start a business of my own, if I can’t even keep a job?”, replace that negative thought pattern with one or a combination of the following:

  • A visual image of yourself achieving the success you are striving for.
  • A list of four or five statements where you will succeed.
  • A list of your strengths.
  • A reminder of your past accomplishments.
  • Any other self-affirming statement or thought that helps to chase away the negative one!

There is the actual value of keeping positive thoughts running through your mind. Consider the psychology of a coach who encourages his team by telling them, “You can do it; you’re the best …”. If you believe you can achieve.

Emotional Reactions

Some has described the process of losing their job as a grieving process. For many, emotional responses include a wide range of emotions that come and go, intensify and diminish over time. Some liken these changing feelings to an emotional roller coaster. Some believe they have worked through all their emotions, only to have them re-emerge during their travels toward new goals. Take a moment to consider the feelings you have experienced by reviewing the following inventory of your feelings.

  • afraid
  • alone
  • angry
  • annoyed
  • anxious
  • apathetic
  • ashamed
  • betrayed
  • bothered
  • challenged
  • confused
  • crazy
  • depressed
  • devastated
  • disappointed
  • disturbed
  • ecstatic
  • embarrassed
  • enraged
  • envious
  • excited
  • furious
  • guilty
  • happy
  • helpless
  • hopeless
  • hostile
  • indifferent
  • isolated
  • let down
  • listless
  • out of control
  • overjoyed
  • overwhelmed
  • powerless
  • relieved
  • resentful
  • responsible
  • restless
  • sad
  • scared
  • shocked
  • spiteful
  • stunned
  • terrified
  • unsure
  • vengeful
  • withdrawn
  • worried
  1. Using the inventory of words listed above, complete the following exercise. Feel free to add any words that describe feelings you’ve experienced that don’t appear on the list. Write a brief paragraph explaining how you felt immediately following the loss of your job. (Avoid the temptation to describe your thoughts. Focus on your feelings.).
  2. Describe the other feelings you’ve experienced in the weeks/months following the event.
  1. Express out loud how you are feeling now.

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