Written by Mitch McCrimmon, Ph.D.
Anxiety has many causes, but we tend to blame external factors for our anxiety rather than how we react to them. What leads to anxiety for you? Here are some typical anxiety generators: The unknown, change, uncertainty. Your boss, other colleagues. Work and time pressures. Fear of failure, being found incompetent.
More causes of anxiety at work: Being rejected. Not achieving what you want. Financial problems. Relationship problems. Deteriorating health. Status anxiety - not getting your share.
Anxiety can paralyze us. We think that everyone else is OK because everyone tries to hide their anxiety. But this only increases our anxiety. It is a constant battle that everyone has to work at to keep anxiety at bay.
How can you manage your anxiety?
- We all feel anxious some of the time about some things - it's only human.
- If others don't seem to, it's only because we have learned to hide it.
- That makes us more anxious - seeing others appearing to be OK.
- If you think only you can't cope, this will increase your anxiety.
- It may help to write down the negative things you say to yourself.
- When you catch yourself at it, write down the opposite point of view.
- The positive slant is just a different way of looking at the same facts.
- Anxiety causes a distorted view of things---leading to more anxiety.
- Distortion is best eliminated by checking your view with others.
- Talking about anxiety is made easier by starting with small hints.
- Often, we find the other person has the same feelings.
- This then makes it easier to open up more fully.
- This is doing a reality check.
- Break down your anxiety into specifics that you can knock off one at at time.
- Keeping it all in your head makes it seem overwhelming.
- Change tbe external factors leading to your anxiety that you can change.
- Then, for the rest, work at changing how you think about and react to pressure.
- Also, improve your self esteem, strive to think more highly of yourself.
- Try to think of positives along with negatives - not just the latter.
- When criticizing yourself list all the good things you can say about yourself.
- Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation.