The workplace can be a stressful environment full of anxiety for many people. While a certain level of stress is normal in any job, excessive anxiety can be detrimental not only to an individual’s mental health but also to their performance. This article will focus on the internal conflicts that create our stress and anxiety and how it presents when we are working.
Understanding Anxiety in the Workplace
Anxiety is the body’s warning system. It alerts us to possible danger so we can prepare ourselves to run away or fight. While this system is intended to keep us safe, past trauma and adverse childhood experiences can create in us a hyper-alert warning system that is not well calibrated to interacting with bosses, colleagues, and clients in a professional setting. This makes asking for necessary materials, giving presentations, starting tasks, or meeting with clients difficult and causes a high degree of stress within us.
Recognizing the Signs of Anxiety
If you feel fear or an urge to run away when performing or being asked to perform basic tasks for your job, you may be experiencing anxiety. You might also procrastinate or find yourself constantly ruminating over a decision you have to make without being able to be decisive. When asked for your opinion or leadership on a topic, your mind may go blank and it becomes difficult to respond even if you generally know your industry and have the answers people are looking for.
Identifying Personal Stress Triggers
Identifying personal stress triggers is an essential step towards managing anxiety effectively. Individuals can use a journal to track when they experience anxiety and what was happening at the time to identify patterns and triggers. Once the triggers are identified, individuals can take steps to avoid or manage them to reduce anxiety levels. Common triggers may be giving a presentation, having to respond to questions in a meeting, or asking colleagues for help with tasks. It is not always possible or productive to avoid these trigger situations when we are working, but by noting them you can seek out the appropriate next steps for reducing the anxiety related to that trigger.
Why We Are Triggered
To understand why we can be triggered at the workplace by common, everyday tasks, we have to understand our own personal trauma that led to the trigger become our source of anxiety. Before you ever held a job, these issues most likely started at home with your parents when you were young child.
At work, we are constantly trying to perform, deliver, prove ourselves, create assets that we hope our clients will appreciate, and stay in the good graces of our bosses and everyone around us. In this environment, part of our anxiety stirs up thoughts like “I’m not capable”, “I’m not good enough”, “people will judge me”, and many other thoughts. But you would not think those thoughts if it were not for how you grew up. If our parents don’t encourage us or they actively put us down when we are seeking approval and validation as children, this leads to many detrimental self-thoughts and generates many fears and much of the anxiety that we carry well into adulthood.
You were not born knowing something like “I’m not capable”, and you were not born with those other intrusive thoughts. You learned them from somewhere. If we can do some introspection and review our upbringing, we can examine where we learned those ideas, and then invalidate them. Often this requires the help of a life coach.
Seeking Professional Help When Needed
It is important to recognize that seeking professional help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Mental health professionals can provide support and guidance to individuals struggling with anxiety. And while you may have already spoken to a therapist and developed coping skills that work some of the time, or received medication that works some of the time, you may be wondering what you can do to finally overcome anxiety once and for all so you can focus on your work the way that you want. This is where a life coach comes in.
A life coach has the skills to eliminate your anxiety at its source without the need for coping mechanisms. No counting to ten, no deep breaths, no avoiding triggers, no stress-relief balls. A life coach who is on your side and takes full stock of your goals will get you there quickly.
Ready to Beat Workplace Anxiety for Good?
If you are ready to see what your professional life can be like without anxiety ever entering into the picture, get in touch with me at Free2Decide.com and book a free strategy session to get started.