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Anxiety: YES folks at work have it!

If you follow or value to stats in life they say 1 in every 5 folks have anxiety and as employers what are you talking about and how is it helping!

Anxiety is an umbrella term for feelings of fear, nervousness, apprehensiveness, or worry. Everybody gets anxious at times and some anxiety actually helps us to function well, but anxiety can become a problem when:

  • It happens too often
  • It goes on for a long time
  • It stops us from doing things that we want to do

Why Is Having Some Anxiety A Good Thing?

Imagine never being anxious or nervous: how would you know how to take care of yourself? How would you know not to run across a busy road? Or to mind your footing when walking along the edge of a cliff? Or to be cautious when approaching a potentially dangerous animal? Feelings of anxiety are there to guide us to take care of ourselves.

Some people suffering from anxiety want to get rid of their anxiety completely. Although this might sound attractive it would not be a sensible plan. The graph below shows why having some anxiety is a good thing.

What Types Of Anxiety Are There?

Psychologists and therapist make a distinctions between different types of anxiety ‘disorder’. Each is characterised by a particular type of fear.

Are you getting folks to thinking about help items at work that work for them not just pop a pill and head back to work slave!

Grounding the Human during high stress and anxiety

Sometimes the worst stress comes from the things that are all too terribly familiar. There are times that anxiety can make even daily tasks seem insurmountable, even though I’ve done them countless times before.

54321 works well

5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. Maybe it is a bird, maybe it is pencil, maybe it is a spot on the ceiling, however big or small, state 5 things you see.

4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. Maybe this is your hair, hands, ground, grass, pillow, etc, whatever it may be, list out the 4 things you can feel.

3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This needs to be external, do not focus on your thoughts; maybe you can hear a clock, a car, a dog park. or maybe you hear your tummy rumbling, internal noises that make external sounds can count, what is audible in the moment is what you list.

2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell: This one might be hard if you are not in a stimulating environment, if you cannot automatically sniff something out, walk nearby to find a scent. Maybe you walk to your bathroom to smell soap or outside to smell anything in nature, or even could be as simple as leaning over and smelling a pillow on the couch, or a pencil. Whatever it may be, take in the smells around you.

1. Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like, gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch? Focus on your mouth as the last step and take in what you can taste.

What thoughts or behaviours prevent you from feeling confident about tasks you’re familiar with but which create anxiety regardless?

Grounding skills

If you want to stop feeling “spacey,” or you feel yourself slipping into the spiral of anxiety, try some of these helpful anxiety management techniques:

1.   Bring up today’s newspaper on the web, notice the date. Read something fun!

2.   Breathe slowly and steadily from your core. Imagine letting fear and worry go, evaporating along with each breath.

3.   Trace your hands against the physical outline of your body. Experience your own presence in the world.

4.   Call a friend and have a chat.

5.   If you are feeling ‘stuck’, change how you’re positioned. Wiggle your fingers, tap your feet. Pay attention to the movement: You are in control of what your body is doing, right here and now.

6.   Eat or drink something. Is it hot, or cold? Sweet, or sour?

7.   Meditate, if that’s OK for you. Otherwise use distractions like television or music to help settle down.

8.   Use your voice. Say your name or pick up a book and read the first paragraph you find out loud.

9.   Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile, even if that’s the last thing you feel like! How does that feel? What can you see? (If negative thoughts come to mind, write them down to look at later but let them go for now. You’re anxious enough as it is.)

10. Write out what’s going on. Keep writing until you start to notice it makes a difference, lets some of the things you’re anxious about out.

11. Take a shower/bath. Notice the sensations of the water.

12. Write somebody you care about an email.

13. Imagine yourself in a familiar, comfortable place. Feel the safety. Know it.

14. Take a look outside. Count the number of trees and street signs.

15. Exercise. Jump up and down on the spot. Try some gentle yoga, or ride a bike.

16. Hold onto something comforting. Maybe a blanket or an old stuffed toy.

17. Laugh. Even if that’s hard. Just the act of laughing about something, anything can break that spinning out of control feeling.

18. When you’re not too stressed, make a list of the things that provoke your anxiety. Take it to your therapist and ask them to help you find ways to desensitize you to some of those things. Then those triggers won’t be quite so powerful, and your  anxiety and coping skills  will work better.

19. If you get  PTSD flashbacks when you’re feeling OK, make a list of the furniture in your home and what room it’s in. Give the list to a friend you can call to help you focus on what’s now and safe.

20. List 5 really positive things in your life. Put the list where you’ll see it and remember that there’s more to the world than just panic and fear.

21. Think about the last week. Was there a day you didn’t have so much anxiety? Remember how it felt to be less anxious than you are right now. What was different? What can change?

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