Anxiety is inevitable. It is a part of everyday life. Our bodies naturally know how to deal with it. The problem comes when our bodies hang on to the anxiety despite the situation or event that caused the anxiety has already passed. This is why anxiety management is such an essential tile skill to have.
Stressors impact us on a daily basis, not just in our personal lives, but our professional surroundings as well. Knowing how to navigate stressful situations, help us become better workers and individuals overall.
The funny thing about anxiety is there isn’t a moment where we don’t feel it. There are good and bad types of anxiety. A good kind would be anticipation. That is something we usually feel when we are looking forward to something. You could be excited about an upcoming trip and are anticipating that you will be able to de-stress and unwind. So, there are good kinds of anxiety to look forward to.
There are also bad kinds. You know the type. These are the situations you want to avoid. You absolutely dread having to deal with them, and it causes discomfort and unease. It could be something like getting called into your boss’ office for an evaluation on work performance or having to deal with an irate client. These kinds of scenarios can cause us anxiety. Without anxiety management, that anxious, overwhelming feeling can become debilitating.
How do we deal with this?
Well, with having the necessary anxiety management skills, we can learn to not only identify our anxiety but, ultimately, get past it. Now, remember that there are people who struggle to even know what they are feeling. A major step in overcoming anxiety is first to identify it. This may take a bit of self-reflection on your part, but it is necessary. Some of us don’t like admitting we have anxiety. It translates to worry, and no one wants to be known as a “worrywart.” That’s for the hypochondriacs and the overprotective parents who bubble wrap their kids.
I am not saying that worry is wrong, but if it feeds your anxiety or makes life feel impossible to function in, then perhaps you are worrying a bit too much.
After you identify what your feelings are, acknowledge them. This seems to be more challenging than the actual anxiety management itself, and this has to do with our genetic makeup. Similar to how animals have a fight or flight response when they feel danger or suspicion, humans have a similar response.
Well, Bridget, you just called me an animal!
No, no. I said humans are like animals due to our fight or flight response in certain situations. Because of this, we humans have become accustomed to ignoring our problems. This causes issues when dealing with anxiety. The longer anxiety goes unmanaged, it won’t be long before any stressor (no matter how big or small) can send your body’s response to anxiety into overdrive. This is essentially taking one step forward and two steps back. You may feel like you’re making progress, but eventually, you will realize that you’re getting nowhere.
Anxiety is often thought of as having an impact on your mental health. Many times, the effects on our physical well-being are often overlooked. This is dangerous. Anxiety causes our bodies to overwork themselves because of being constantly stimulated. One incident happens that has you feeling a sense of anxiety. Another incident occurs that triggers your anxiety again. Just as you begin to let go of those stressors once the incident passes, something else happens which triggers your anxiety again.
This constant cycle of ups and downs will eventually wear you out. This is when we see burnout occur in people. They never allow their bodies to process the anxiety, and they get worn out. We often see this happen in people who have high-stress jobs (executives, nurses, etc.) and those who have experienced multiple stressors in a row.
While you are self-reflecting, why not try and think about what strengths you have? Every day, we are bombarded with things on social media, the internet, and in society that remind us of our weaknesses. No one likes to focus on their weaknesses, so why should we? By identifying what your strengths are, you can see where they can supplement in areas you struggle in.
Maybe you are terrible at vocalizing, but you love writing. Why not keep a journal or write down things you are grateful for? Maybe you are a visual person or someone who likes to be on the go. Use an app for task tracking and organization. There are plenty out there you can use that offer a variety of features like reminders and email scheduling.
By knowing what you are good at and utilizing those strengths to your advantage can help you overcome stress and manage anxiety. It just takes a little bit of digging.
The Personal In The Professional
Personal development is something that is heavily focused on during our younger years. Why? Because it’s important to our growth. It helps us pick up on social cues and be productive members of society. Interestingly enough, these personable skills we learn are known as “transferrable” skills, meaning they can be used in different types of life situations. They include things such as anxiety management, conflict management, and time management. As we grow and mature, we acquire and develop these skills as we go through various kinds of social interactions.
With how important these skills are, you would think they would be an area of focus in the professional world. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Oftentimes, what we see is employers showing their workforce the necessary skills to do a job.
And that’s it.
These skills are hardly ever considered as vital to the workforce, and so are not treated as important. The common misconception in the professional world is the idea of “know enough to do enough”. But what happens if it truly isn’t enough?
For instance, a plumber learns how to fix a sink, but not how to deal with an irate customer. The plumber is then left to wonder, “Now what?” as he is being screamed at by an angry customer.
By having a personal development skill like conflict management, the plumber would be able to gain control of the situation and remain professional while calming the client.
This is one of the countless situations where having strong personal management skills would be beneficial, which is why it is so important for people to have them. They can be applied to the workplace and other professional areas in life, making the need to have a work-life balance so important.
The Need For Work-Life Balance
We have work and personal life problems we deal with, and how we handle those things can be done in a myriad of different ways.
Some will argue that work-life balance is impossible to achieve, but we know that not to be true. It is not a one-size-fits-all. Everyone’s work-life balance will look different because it is what works for them. Having a strong foundation in personal development helps us recognize what our limits are and set boundaries to ensure we can continue to function within society without having to surpass those limits.
We often wonder why people get burned out. When it happens, what we are talking about are people who are putting the weight of the world on their shoulders. With that comes the pressure to keep up our efforts to remain relevant, informed, and connected at all times.
Eventually, the tank will be empty, and the limit will be reached. Many of us hit this stage and continue past it, leading to burnout and dissatisfaction.
Know Your Strengths, Recognize Your Weaknesses
The good news is there are ways to prevent burnout, overwhelm, and upset. One major way is having these strong personal management skills and evaluating where your strengths lie. Many of us do not enjoy thinking about our deficits and areas that may need work, but you can use your strengths to your advantage.
Well, if you already have a type of strength in an area, you can use that area to transfer some skills into an area of weakness.
It takes a bit of self-reflection, but it is incredibly rewarding once you go through the process.
The important thing to emphasize is this is not something that is done overnight. It takes time and effort. And we need to remember the path and destination will look different for every single person.
As the professional world continues to evolve, employers are beginning to put more focus on personal development and are making efforts to provide employees with ways to achieve a sense of work-life balance. Shorter workweeks, flexible schedules, training, and other benefits are now being made more commonplace in the working world. With these changes employers are making, hopefully, we will see more of how personal development and the professional world go hand in hand.