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  • Writer's pictureLouisa Meyer

A little tip to cope with work based anxiety

I think we've all had that feeling when we have done or said something at work which leads to that anxious feeling. It might have been a big thing or a small thing, it doesn't really matter the symptoms of anxiety still feel the same. It might start off as that gnawing in the pit of your stomach. Your mind starts racing thinking of all the disastrous consequences to your words and actions. Before you know it you are in the full throws of an anxiety attack. You might be tempted to phone in sick. Oh, the temporary relief of that, only the clock starts ticking the day away, before you know it your duvet day is over and you must prepare yourself for the next day. You know you’re going to have a sleepless night worrying, which will only increase that sense of impending doom, racking up your anxiety level to full throttle. So, what to do, how to manage. Silly as it sounds the best thing to do is take a slow deep breath hold it for a couple of seconds and release. Repeat a couple of times. This buys you a little time to calm your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for your flight or fight mode, natures defence mechanism for you); The trouble is when your fight or flight response is engaged it cuts off rational thinking, making it difficult to think sensibly. At times of stress you need clear vision. Slowing your breathing down helps engage your parasympathetic nervous system, your bodies counter response which calms your system down. To silence that critical voice in your head focus on your breath for 2mins. Use a soothing word as a trigger to help focus your mind. Calm is a good one. Mentally say your word on your in breath, on your out breath imagine all the stress and tension leaving your body. If you notice yourself going back to your worrying thought bring your attention back to your trigger word until you feel your system calm. Now think of the person you love the most and how they love you. Imagine that love as a warm ball of light that you can hold in your tummy. This is your secret weapon it helps sooth that nervous knot. It's important to remember you are a unique human being. Being human means being fallible and making mistakes, mistakes don't mean we are unlovable or disaster. The chances are the mistake you made won't be as big as you think. Sometimes all that's needed is an apology, other times you will need to problem solve and offer an alternative solution. When you calm your system down you allow your mind to start thinking again. Your mind is the most powerful tool you possess so let it do its job. Calming down your system enables clear thinking which will find a solution. Holding onto that warm feeling of love soothes your system and shows you, you are not alone. You are loved and cared for and your wellbeing matters so whatever is thrown at you at work or in life you will be able to handle it.

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