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Those who prioritize pleasing others may have an increased likelihood of experiencing burnout.

People-pleasers are at higher risk for burnout

People-pleasers are at higher risk for burnout

Are you a people-pleaser? While it may seem like a positive trait, constantly saying yes to everything can lead to burnout and take a toll on your mental health, according to Harvard-trained clinical psychologist Debbie Sorensen.

“People-pleasers tend to have difficulty setting boundaries, which can be ‘really exhausting’ and lead to ‘chronic stress,'” warns Sorensen. So how can you tell if your people-pleasing tendencies are hurting your mental health and career? Here are some signs to watch out for:

1. Saying “yes” to every request for help, even if it interrupts your own work.
2. Disregarding your feelings when something is done or said that upsets you because you fear potential conflict.
3. Agreeing to unrealistic assignment deadlines.

To avoid burnout, Sorensen suggests learning how to set boundaries, which can be uncomfortable at first but ultimately protect your energy, goals, and priorities. Don’t view saying “no” as a reflection of your self-worth or capabilities as an employee. Instead, think of it as a necessary step to being a more effective employee.

Additionally, don’t feel like you need to let go of all your people-pleasing tendencies. Being polite, friendly, and supportive are important traits that can make you more productive and happier in your job. The key is finding a balance and not letting others’ needs constantly overshadow your own.

Q: What are the signs of being a people-pleaser?
A: Some signs include saying “yes” to every request for help, disregarding your own feelings to avoid conflict, and agreeing to unrealistic deadlines.

Q: How can being a people-pleaser hurt my mental health and career?
A: Constantly saying yes to everything can lead to burnout, chronic stress, and losing sight of your own needs and professional goals.

Q: Can I still be polite and supportive without being a people-pleaser?
A: Yes, finding a balance is key. It’s important to prioritize your own needs and not let others’ take over, but being friendly and supportive can still be valuable traits in the workplace.

People-pleasers are at higher risk for burnout
People-pleasers are at higher risk for burnout

Individuals who prioritize pleasing others are more prone to experiencing burnout.

The toll of being a people-pleaser can take a significant toll on one’s mental health. According to Debbie Sorensen, a Harvard-trained clinical psychologist based in Denver, people-pleasers are especially prone to burnout in the workplace. As she puts it, “They tend to be very kind, thoughtful people, which makes it that much harder for them to set boundaries, not take on too much work or get emotionally invested in their jobs”.

The unfortunate consequence of constantly being a yes-person is that it leads to guilt while telling others no and resentment every time a person says yes. However, past research has demonstrated that being polite, friendly, and supportive at work are all important qualities that can increase productivity and happiness on the job. The distinction, as Sorensen explains, is that people-pleasers struggle with setting boundaries which can lead to “chronic stress.”

For those who frequently assume more responsibility than can be realistically managed because of their aversion to disappointing others, people-pleasing tendencies could bring them close to the edge of burnout. Sorensen says there are three warning signs of people-pleasing at work: constantly agreeing to help others even if it interrupts one’s own work, neglecting one’s emotions when something upsets them due to fear of conflict, and accepting unrealistic deadlines.

Diminished career prospects aren’t the only danger of being a people-pleaser; it can also make people lose sight of their own needs and professional ambitions. According to Sorenson, “When you are constantly putting other people’s needs before your own, it becomes that much harder to focus on your work and advance in your career”.

Learning to set boundaries is crucial in avoiding burnout and reducing overwhelm. Sorensen suggests that before saying yes to everything that comes their way, individuals should pause and consider if they genuinely want or need to take on additional responsibilities. Moving away from people-pleasing habits isn’t a linear process and takes time. Sorensen advises people to try continually and consistently to avoid self-criticism. One shouldn’t consider saying no a reflection of their worth or professional capability. Instead, think of setting limits as self-care and protecting one’s energy, objectives, and priorities to become a more efficient employee.

Taking breaks from work, no matter how small, is necessary according to Sorenson, whether it’s resisting the temptation of working after business hours or taking a longer lunch break. Recharge time is vital, and everyone deserves it.

Also, CNBC offers valuable newsletters, including one to help readers improve their finances, careers, and lives. Different articles offer advice on how to detect and combat stress and burnout at work.

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