How to control anxiety in the workplace
3 June 2019 | beando_admin
Most of us are anxious at one time or another; some of us are anxious all of the time. There is often a good reason for it.
Maybe you are overwhelmed with too much information, or you have too much to think about, and when you try to take control, it doesn’t make sense – in fact, It gets worse.
Maybe you are forced to meet impossible deadlines, cut costs, do more for less. Certainly my own profession, architecture, is having to be in that world. It might be some of your colleagues are working to undermine you. It happens. Perhaps your mind is filled with the fear that you may lose your job, you are being ignored or overlooked and under-appreciated. You feel you can’t cope, meet expectation or just doubt yourself. The list is endless.
Then there are other more personal anxieties promoting mindsets too, such as: I am brilliant, I deserve more, I want more! This is the tyranny of I, Me and Mine. We know those guys well, and they bully and disappoint everyone.
All of this comes with a never-ending, sometimes debilitating, cycle of feelings in the mind and body leading to stress, panic and depression. And it doesn’t stop. And then you are frightened of being found out that you are anxious. You feel it’s a sign of weakness. It doesn’t go with the person you think you project to others. And then you spend your time covering it up, coping, appearing to be okay and on top of your game.
You can change
However, feeling like that is an option. You don’t need to suffer. You can change. You can manage that anxiety. Meditation is the key because it takes us out of our anxiety-inducing mindsets and into a more purposeful, centred and fruitful collaboration with the world you are in.
“Meditation… it’s the bliss that comes with experiencing not mere happiness but complete satisfaction with the way things are. These are our moments of supreme quiet, total acceptance, and non-judgment. The wondrous intervals when we know we are in the right place doing precisely what we’re supposed to be doing”.
From Essential Wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita. Ancient truths for our Modern World, Jack Hawley (2006)
A better mindset
Firstly, get a better mindset if only for a moment or two. Turn those feelings around. It’s hard, but think about your anxiety as an invitation, a message if you like. Accept rather than expect and then maybe they are not obstructions you are experiencing but opportunities. They show you care, you are aware and you feel.
That is a great start to being a fully-functioning human being regardless of what else is happening.
It may not feel like it right now but suffering is optional. Resilience is the key. It’s the HR buzzword of choice in these extraordinary times of change. Resilience is our capacity to meet this challenge.
But it’s not so much about changing the workplace, although that will help. There are two types of wellbeing. There is the wellbeing associated with being in a nice place but there is also a deeper wellbeing that meditation practice will reveal to you. And with practice it nourishes, cultivates and grows. We can learn to carry with us into every moment whatever we are feeling, whatever challenges we are facing, a deeper core wellbeing. A certain quality of joy that is never anxious, never stressed, never doubts and knows exactly what to do moment-to-moment.
So by practising our modern meditation, which is designed to make happy work, you can build for yourself an inner resilience in spite of external conditions. You can learn to be a point of readiness and steadiness in a world of flux and change – and not just in the workplace. Imagine having that resource in your everyday life.
Your workplace probably invests regularly in the latest software. Why not invest in human software too? It might need debugging from time-to-time but it’s so much more effective than Microsoft Office.