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Dealing with Workplace Anxiety

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Dealing with Workplace Anxiety

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What Causes Anxiety in the Workplace?
How often do we stop and think about how much time, effort, energy is given to our performance of fulfilling job responsibilities? That is fulfilling work responsibilities at the office, driving to and from work, and at home. How often do we feel frustrated because we cannot accomplish all that we want, or need to accomplish? How often do we feel held back from doing the level and quality of work that we expect from ourselves? Have you called off work lately because you just can’t take it? Do you feel stressed out but don’t want to see anyone about it because it is a sign of weakness?

What Causes Anxiety in the Workplace?
How often do we stop and think about how much time, effort, energy is given to our performance of fulfilling job responsibilities? That is fulfilling work responsibilities at the office, driving to and from work, and at home. How often do we feel frustrated because we cannot accomplish all that we want, or need to accomplish? How often do we feel held back from doing the level and quality of work that we expect from ourselves? Have you called off work lately because you just can’t take it? Do you feel stressed out but don’t want to see anyone about it because it is a sign of weakness?

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Dealing with Workplace Anxiety

  1. 1. Dealing with Workplace Anxiety? Rex Gatto Ph.D., BCC What Causes Anxiety in the Workplace? How often do we stop and think about how much time, effort, energy is given to our performance of fulfilling job responsibilities? That is fulfilling work responsibilities at the office, driving to and from work, and at home. How often do we feel frustrated because we cannot accomplish all that we want, or need to accomplish? How often do we feel held back from doing the level and quality of work that we expect from ourselves? Have you called off work lately because you just can’t take it? Do you feel stressed out but don’t want to see anyone about it because it is a sign of weakness? Do your thoughts become negative such as: • This should not have happened • S/he should not have said that to me, • This is going to be a disaster, • I know this was a success but anyone can do what I do, • It is not rocket science, • Why doesn’t anyone respect the work I do • Everything about this place stinks – nothing goes right on my projects Does your negative voice raise these issues and do you feel your blood pressure rising and tension increase as you worry about getting all of your work done! Then maybe this Blog is for you.
  2. 2. There are two types of anxiety adaptive and maladaptive: Adaptive Anxiety • Adaptive: realistic worry • Realistic fear Maladaptive Anxiety • Unrealistic worry • Excessive worry • Unrealistic fear • Loss of self-esteem • Feelings of depression Life Anxiety Worry, fear and dread about workplace situations. Examples: • Change • Promotion • Presentations • Career • Work life balance • Job loss Statistics About the Workplace • Mental Health Problems affect 19.1million adults (18-54) • Estimated cost to the USA economy $42.3 Billion • $4.3 billion is lost due to workplace anxiety via absenteeism and lack of productivity • 16% of the US workforce suffers from anxiety disorders (cost to employers is $256 per employee) (Psychopathology in the Workplace J Thomas and Michel Hersen) Depression Statistics • 30% of women are depressed. (Men's half that of women, but new estimates are higher) • 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness • 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help • 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment • 92% of depressed African-American males do not seek treatment • 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.
  3. 3. (Bob Murray Ph.D. Alicia Fortinberry, MS) Workplace and Mental Health Statistics Workplace Stress • Two-thirds of both men and women say work has a significant impact on their stress level, and one in four has called in sick or taken a "mental health day" as a result of work stress (American Psychological Association). • One-fourth of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives (Northwestern National Life). • Workplace stress causes approximately one million U.S. employees to miss work each day (American Institute of Stress). • 68% of workers say that their employer should offer a program that helps build resilience to stress (American Psychological Association). • Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than any other life stressor (St. Paul Co.). • Workers who must take time off work because of stress, anxiety, or a related disorder will be off the job for about 21 days (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). Workplace Demands • 62% of American workers said that their workload has increased over the past six months and that they had not use all of their allotted vacation time in the past year (Kronos Inc.). • 70% of employees say you have to work late and work overtime to ahead. 62% of employers agree (Randstad). • More than 80 percent of employees feel that companies are expecting too much work from too few people. (Randstad). • The average workweek has increased since the 1970's while leisure time has decreased by 37%. (Louis Harris Poll, 1999). Employee Growth & Development • Companies with higher revenue growth are better at motivating employees and provide more opportunities for growth and development. Employee engagement levels in these high performing organizations are more than 20% higher than those of their counterparts (Hewett Associates) Signs to Look for Within Yourself or Other Employees • Gloomy • Dejected mood • Diminished interest or pleasure in everyday activities • Weight gain or loss • Insomnia or hyposomnia (too much sleep) • Agitation
  4. 4. • Fatigue • Diminished concentration, thoughts of death Why does all of the Above Occur? • Fired/downsized • Lowered self-esteem • Wants of others • Spousal/family wants • Boss (wants and needs) • Decision making Who do Anxious People tend to be? • High achievers • Perfectionists • People with highly developed consciences Anxious and Depressed Employees’ View Negative view of the present experience — stop taking action — anxious — depression worry Negative view of the future — anxiousness (hopeless suicidal) CYA fear — change Negative view of self — anxiousness, avoidance, worry about competence So, what do we do About This! Stop the Negative Thinking Stop the Gloom and Doom Thinking Examples of negative thinking: • This should not have happened! • This will never work! • I know what the future holds for me and it is all-bad! • It has to be perfect; it has to be right! • I need to know everything about the project! • No one liked the presentation! • The project was a disaster! • Things have gone well today; so therefore, tomorrow is going to be a disaster (just wait for the others shoe to drop) Begin to Change your Thinking
  5. 5. • Is there any evidence (reality) for a negative belief? • What is the evidence against this belief? • What is the worst that can happen? • What is the best that can happen? (You were looking for a job when you found the one you have) • Have confidence in what you do and have done • Celebrate and feel good about accomplishments • Talk with a confidant and friend and resonate with positive thoughts • Write your thoughts in a journal (present situation, emotions, and possible outcomes – be factual) • Write the journal to start and end the day (keep a pad by your bed if needed) Techniques to Become Focused in a Positive Way • Seek Professional help with a mental health provider (EAP or private practitioner) • Set Realistic life and work goals for yourself • Give yourself credit for what you accomplish • Finish the day with an I Did List of accomplishments (include meetings, calls, emails, and work completion) • Stop reflecting on all you have not done • Focus on the positive – challenge the negative thoughts • Quit focusing on what you do not have and focus on what you do have • Worry, in a positive way, as to what you can control • Write a Journal of accomplishments • Stop looking in the review mirror and look out the front window of your car (the past is over realign and drive to your future)
  6. 6. Questions to Right your Thinking • What do you think about that …? • What does this mean to you …? • What are your thoughts about that …? • How else could you interpret this …? • What do you think his/her intentions were …? • If this is a fact, what will that mean for you …? • What are the advantages and disadvantages for taking action …? • How does this sound to you … If you took out a dollar bill ($1.00) and stepped on it, crushed it, spit on it, and ran over it with your car its value does not change. Sometimes people feel like the dollar bill. Your value has not changed. Don’t associate with people that do not support your true value. Remember your real value to yourself and others does not change. If you help yourself and others to overcome worry and depressed mood you will become a valued resource to yourself and others. Celebrate what you have and feel good about it!
  7. 7. Rex Gatto Ph.D., BCC President Gatto Associates LLC. 412 344-2277 (Office) www.rexgatto.com rex@rexgatto.com

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