When it comes to your work, there may be tons of demands. You may not have as much autonomy as you would like. Over time, stress accumulates and if you don’t manage your mind, you can burn out.

Often, when we feel like work is overwhelming, we might ask for more time to work on a project or try to delegate tasks out so we have less on our plate. Alternatively, some people push themselves even harder, trying to prove that they can do it, especially when they feel themselves falling apart.

Instead of looking outside of yourself, there are four pillars of inner work that can help you improve your performance and prevent burnout. They are known as Psychological Capital which includes Hope, Efficacy, Resilience, and Optimism. Together these pillars spell HERO.

As you can see from that acronym, Psychological Capital is largely about mindset. Hope is when you expect good things to happen. This is especially relevant when it comes to your goals. It’s not enough to set a goal and hope things turn out the way you would like. You need to couple your intention with action. Hope is what propels you forward. It’s what keeps you motivated to hack away at your projects, to stick to your exercise plan, or to meditate day after day. It takes determination and commitment. Hope is what helps you resist immediate gratification and stay consistent.

To cultivate more Hope at work, focus on creating SMART goals. These are, by definition, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

The second pillar, Efficacy, is about your belief in your ability. Efficacy is very powerful because it is one of the only things you truly have control over. You can invest effort into a task, but you have no guarantee about the outcome. If you get rejected by others, as often happens in sales, your belief in yourself is sometimes the only thing you have to hold onto. Once that disintegrates, it becomes a slippery slope. What sometimes happens when you burn out is that you start doubting yourself. You recognize you’re no longer able to do what was once easy for you so you might fall into the trap of interpreting that to mean that there is something wrong with you. Your confidence goes down the drain and you can fall into the trap of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To cultivate increased Efficacy, make accurate conclusions about the reasons behind your mishaps, avoid labeling yourself negatively, and maintain a positive mindset even in the face of failures.

The third pillar, Resilience, is about bouncing back when life knocks you down. When something happens and you feel all stressed out, if you are resilient, you are able to bounce back to your baseline. This is a really important skill.

Resilience is partly biological. Some people are just born a little bit more resilient than others. But the majority of it is psychological. That's why mindset training is so important.

Carol Dweck, an American Psychologist and the author of the bestselling book Mindset, talks about a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset. In essence, she says that people with a growth mindset have a more expansive view of the world. They aren’t fixed in how they think about things. If you are someone who is very controlling, for example, you will attempt to ensure that everything goes according to your plan because otherwise you feel anxious or become very negative. You lose motivation. You beat yourself up. When you adopt a growth mindset, you flow with life. You’re more flexible and as you can imagine, this not only impacts your mental and physical health, it affects your relationships. A huge part of it is understanding how to think more openly about things, how to stay curious, and how not to shut off options just because they don’t fit into your existing framework.

To increase your resilience muscle, stay vigilant of your inner critic. Override any automatic negative thoughts by thinking of yourself as stronger with every adversity you face.

The final pillar of Psychological Capital is Optimism. This, again, comes back to the importance of mindset because the opposite of optimism is pessimism. When you interpret everything that’s happening around you as negative, it drains your energy. Before anything bad happens, you already anticipate a negative outcome. This, over time, can lead to burnout. When, instead, you believe that the outcomes will be positive, you are more likely to have the energy, the motivation, and the willingness to invest in your work.

To cultivate Optimism, adopt an abundance mindset whereby you celebrate other people’s wins. Practice gratitude for the wonderful things in your life, and practice self-care.

The pillars of Psychological Capital correspond with increased life and job satisfaction. When you have a more hopeful and optimistic outlook, when you believe in yourself, and when you are able to bounce back quickly from adversity, you are not only a rockstar, you are primed to avoid burnout.

-Written by Dr. Sharon Grossman, author of the international bestseller, The 7E Solution to Burnout: Transforming High Achievers from Exhausted to Extraordinary.

To work on your mindset so you can avoid burnout, check out Dr. Sharon’s free webinar: The 3 Mindset Hacks High Achievers Need to Avoid Burnout

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Sharon Grossman is the founder of the Exhausted to Extraordinary™ Method, a 3-step method to unblock your mind, reshape your thinking, and return the joy to your work in 90 days. As a psychologist, coach, and author of the international bestseller, The 7E Solution to Burnout, Dr. Sharon works with 6-figure executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals in high-stress industries who are struggling with anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout. She shares tips and strategies as a keynote speaker and on her weekly podcasts, Optimize Your Life and The Women in Medicine Badass Radioshow. Enroll in her free webinar, The 3 Mindset Hacks High Achievers Need to Avoid Burnout