The consequences of anxious thinking and worry about future events real or imagined. Avoidance, feelings of fear and anxiety are a vicious cycle leading to even greater feelings of fear and anxiety. Feeling vulnerable and under threat.
I remember starting a new job working for a large corporate organisation on a very busy campus and on my first day I went for a walk at lunchtime and could not get back into the building because my security pass had failed! I was so nervous and worried about being late that I started to panic. Why? because in my mind I was tied up in making a good impression on my first day and that absolutely nothing had to go wrong or that would mean I was a failure and I thought that others would see me as a failure also? Why was this? Because I felt embarrassed that this had happened to me and probably had never happened to anyone else. It did not help that I found the security staff very intimidating indeed and a little bit grumpy too. Anyway, I pulled myself together and got it sorted but I swore to myself that I was never going to let this happen again. To avoid future perceived humiliation and irritation of having to deal with the security staff I developed a strategy to never leave the building unless I really had too, thereby eliminating the possibility of being locked out. I effectively became a prisoner of that building, the one canteen (that was not the best on campus) and little opportunity to escape from my demanding boss. All of this because of stress and anxiety that I had created.
Here are some strategies that I use with my clients to help them overcome their anxiety. If only I had known about these all those years ago……
- Talk to someone that you trust and tell them how you are feeling; friend or family
- Write down your thoughts and feelings?
- Ask yourself; “What is it about my new job that I am fearing” Here are some common responses:
- Others might not like me
- I may not be able to do my job effectively ever
- My boss is scary
- Asking others for help and I might feel embarrassed about what they might think of me
- Finding my way around the building or be able to find the cloakroom or kitchen
- Take a proper break at lunchtime; go for a walk, try to get some fresh air and clear your head. Yes really!
- Find hobbies and interests outside work and after work if possible that focus on things you enjoy
- Get enough sleep to help combat stress and anxiety and prevent fatigue; simple tips like not surfing on your phone or tablet before bedtime
- Try to maintain a healthy diet as much as possible because you will be using lots of energy getting to grips with your new job
- To reduce stress and anxiety it is better to reduce your alcohol intake or take a break for a while because it is only a short-term fix unfortunately and can often make you feel worse and not better!
- Breathe; learn how to breathe to help calm your mind and relax
- Learn to understand your anxiety and not be fearful when you do feel anxious or stressed
Lastly, spend time with likeminded and positive people on your wavelength and who get you!