Starting fresh at a new job, relentlessly job seeking or pursuing your professional career is stressful. Office hours turn into late nights and sunrises and it may be hard to switch off from the merciless deadlines, financial plans, co-worker relations and upcoming business conferences which we find our minds wandering towards in the late hours of the evening.
Anxiety becoming a part of our daily lives is a common issue amongst professionals and jobseekers of any age, but this mind set is self-destructive and counteractive. Although dealing with stress and anxiety may feel lonely and unsettling, it is natural phenomenon. We understand that the brain and a rational mind is the motor for successful and balanced work and private lives. Before we start self-diagnosing and labelling ourselves with anxiety and burnout it is essential to understand what “stress” and “anxiety” is and how it affects our brains. Anxiety and stress is experienced through troubling physical symptoms, such as sweat, heavy heart beats and feeling faint, these symptoms are personal and may vary from person to person.
Dr David Purves, a mental health specialist, explains that the physical responses to stress are natural responses from our primitive instincts. Dr Purves explains that these physical responses were necessary in a primitive world in which our primates were in life threatening situations and the body would be automatically channelled to fight or flight responses. However, in our modern world and in the work place, we rarely find ourselves in actual life threatening situations, yet our bodies are still experiencing these physical responses. Dr Purves points out that these fight or flight responses are encrypted in our DNA, but in our modern world our mental approach to obstacles and situations causes us to “overestimate the fear of threats which we are faced with”.
Unfortunately, there is no single universal solution to anxiety and stress, but it may be comforting to know that these daily phenomena are internally created. Furthermore, even though there is no single cure there are many methods by which we can approach our anxieties and channel these feelings into using them for a more positive impact in our work and social lives.
Gain perspective of your stress
No matter what is triggering our anxiety and stress, we must break the cycle of automatically putting our mentality into the anxiety-gear. Acknowledge that fear is one of our best friends, it is the thing that keeps us alive and alert in dangerous situations. So how can we bust through fear? When we actually focus on what is triggering our fear, in perspective it may be much less fearful than what we are making it out to be. Rather than focusing on our physical reactions and what is triggering our fear, lets jump off the panic train, break the vicious cycle of fear, anxiety, obstacle, stress and focus on how this fear can make us grow as an individual. Reminding ourselves this is one of the many obstacles we are facing and once we have addressed this we will turn our anxieties towards the next obstacle. Instead of being caught up in a vicious cycle of obstacles and anxieties, try focusing on the bigger picture; make a mental list of why we set these goals for ourselves? What experiences and knowledge can we gain from committing to these deadlines? How does this task make me grow into a more well-rounded person? This approach to our anxiety will channel our focus towards internal growth and intrinsic rewards in difficult situations.
Tackle stress through your physical channel
When stress affects the brain it will undoubtedly affect the rest of the body as well, we are one living organism and all our organs are connected. Dr. Michael Otto’s research emphasizes the importance of exercise in order to address mental health. As we all know exercise produces endorphins – natural pain killers for the brain which improves ability to sleep and reduces stress, reducing tension in physical muscles and mental mind sets. In one study carried out by the Dr. Michael Otto, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years.
Lists and labels
In this modern working age, our work load is never ending. Start your day with a list of achievements and goals which are achievable during your work day and plan out your week accordingly instead of trying to tackle an overwhelming load in one go. Fulfilling lists gives us a sense of achievement and completion that we are on the right track and in the right direction to completing our workload. Praise yourself, you are capable and worthy and every piece of work you complete is evidence that you are good at your job. Don’t resort to labelling yourself in a negative manner when one criticism by a co-worker crosses your path. These self-inflicted labels push us back into our comfort corner causing us to we stick to what we know and preventing us from growing internally, professionally and personally as individuals.
Don’t sacrifice your own happiness, NOW is the time for you to feel happy at work! You cannot live for retirement, never settle for the ‘average’ not in the work you commit to nor the feelings you experience. We all have a ton of expertise, creativity and worthiness within us, it merely comes down to finding the right fit and channelling our focus positively.