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Overcoming Adversities

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Managing Workplace Anxiety: Triggers Part 5

By

Akindotun Merino

Resilience development can improve our ability to overcome adversity at work.  It improves our relationships, assists in conflict management, and decreases the anxiety and stress related to our careers.  Failure is one of the common adversities that we must overcome.  How we handle our emotions after a failure is key to learning to turn a negative into a positive.

  Recognize mistakes. Failure: the state of lacking success.  Failure is unavoidable.  We have been trained to view failure in a negative light, but we must begin to realize that failure can offer us an opportunity for growth. Recognizing our failures, rather than ignoring, hiding, or blaming others for them, will relieve stress and anxiety and improve our relationships.  It will exhibit a level of honesty, and diminish the appearance of the need for perfection; depicting us as more approachable.

Fix mistakes. Failures open the door to improvements, both in ourselves and at work.   What we learn from our fails is more important than the act itself.  How can we learn from our mistakes?  We can first and most importantly turn the negative failure into a more positive plan for the future.  Here are some examples:

  1. If you make a careless mistake, you need to seek out more support or training.
  2. If you did not receive the promotion; you may need to seek out a different career path
  3. If you raised your voice to a co-worker; you may need to reduce your work load or slow down.

Taking the time to evaluate your changes and improvements will help you determine if they were effective.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Develop Positive Relationship

As an example: for the past three quarters you have worked on several projects. During each quarter, there was one project you missed the deadline on so you requested an extension. You’ve decided that missing deadlines is not acceptable, and have created a plan so that this is no longer your norm.

Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to determine whether or not your plan is effective.

  1. Have I managed my time well so that I didn’t have to ask for anymore extensions?
  2. Is the quality of my project as good as it was when I had to ask for extensions?

Avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Learning from mistakes should not be just a one-time thing. If you have in fact learned something, it becomes a part of you; meaning that you will carry it forward with you.

What are some steps to help you avoid the same pit-holes in the future?

  • Give your complete attention to what you are working on
  • Take breaks to give your brain a chance to re-group
  • Don’t get easily distracted
  • Keep track of your progress
  • Think ahead
  • Consult with your network

Stress management helps you overcome adversity. How can you be mentally resilient if you are physically worn out? You can’t. Good habits outside of the workplace will affect your ability to manage stress in the workplace, which will in turn help increase your resilience.

 Exercising: You either love it or hate it. For those of you who hate it, exercise is that dreaded thing to be avoided at all costs. For the people who love it, it’s a euphoric experience that makes you feel good and look good. Loving exercise can be learned. Once you start, it has an addictive property. It makes you feel physically and mentally better. It may take a while to get to this point, but if you commit to exercising, you will soon feel the benefits.

Ways to stay motivated to exercise on a regular basis include changing your perspective on exercise, setting goal, creating a regular workout time and endeavor to make it fun and varied. Benefits of exercising include fitness, feeling of well being, sleeping better, feeling alert, being relaxed, weight management and appearance.

You can exercise as much as you want, but you truly will not be a healthy person without eating well. Eating well is what gives us energy throughout the day and keeps our minds and bodies functioning properly. How many calories you should consume each day is dependent on your sex, age, and activity level. This can be determined by a doctor, if needed. Whenever you can, try to eat healthy. Make healthy food decisions and remember that the better you eat, the better you will feel. It is important to set yourself up for success. Make it easy on yourself to follow a healthy diet. Ways to do this include:

  • Prepare your own meals
  • Make the right changes
  • Simplify your meals
  • Read product labels
  • Drink lots of water
  • Focus on how you feel after eating certain foods

Sleep is the thing we all wish we had more of. Sleep is so incredibly important to our health. Getting proper sleep keeps us mentally aware and physically healthy. As an adult, 7 to 9 hours is considered the ideal amount of sleep. This may seem impossible to some, but if you put in the effort, you can accomplish this. Sleep provides the body with so many benefits. It is not something that should be skimped on.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Transparent Communication

Consequences of not enough sleep include memory problems, depression, weakened immune system, increase in perception of pain and increased risk of chronic diseases. Here are some habits to improve your sleep health:

  • Be consistent going to bed the same time each night
  • Be consistent eating at the same time each morning
  • Keep the bedroom quiet and dark
  • Avoid large meals and caffeine before going to bed
  • Exercise

An important aspect of taking your health into your own hands is working at your own pace. You never want to jump right in and over work yourself. It will only cause you to become exhausted and discouraged. Working too slow, on the other hand, can leave you with minimal results. It is important to find a pace that fits your body and your needs. Through trial-and-error, you will discover the correct pace for you. Once you find that pace, increase it gradually. There is no need to go from 0 to 100, but once your body becomes content with a routine it is time to move forward.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. She is the President of Jars Institute.  Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof.  Akindotun Merino

Jars Education Group

info@akinmerino.com

YouTube.com/akinmerino

Instagram: @drakinmerino:    Twitter: @drakindotun

 

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Mental Health

Managing Workplace Anxiety: Triggers Part 5

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Managing Workplace Anxiety: Triggers Part 5

By

Akindotun Merino

An anxiety trigger is something that sets off our feelings of anxiety. Sometimes recognizing the trigger is not so easy, since a trigger can come on suddenly while others are well known and expected. If we can identify our own anxiety triggers, we can avoid them or even stop them from happening. But other times, if the trigger is unknown or not as obvious, we may have to find ways to just adapt around it.

Fear is a big cause of many anxiety triggers and symptoms. One of the biggest fears associated with anxiety is uncertainty or the fear of the unknown. Not knowing how a situation will result can make some people simply shut down. The fear of not knowing how a project went over or not knowing how well or poor a speech will be delivered can make some people simply avoid the situation, causing a lot of missed opportunities. Others may try to find out as much information as they can so that they can feel more informed, but if it doesn’t satisfy the ‘need’ to know, then they may just quit altogether.

Questions that make us anxious:

  • “What will happen if I do __________?”
  • “What will happen if I don’t do ____________?”
  • “Will this change anything?”
  • “Will something bad happen?”

When we hold in our feelings, we are not allowing our body to express how it naturally feels. This forces our brain to hold in our negative thoughts or emotions and creates a large storage bin for them to brew. Often times we suppress our feelings because we become anxious about how others may perceive them or react to them. But if we keep them inside, they cause more anxiety since we have to keep more control over them – which then leads us to continue to think about them and dwell on them. While we cannot always say whatever we want, when we want, there are ways of coping with our feelings and keeping them from attacking us on the inside.

Sample ways to express feelings:

  • Keep a journal.
  • Talk with a friend or counselor.
  • Start a blog.

READ ALSO: Dealing With Mental Illness In The Family

When it comes to speaking in front of others, we are allowing them to hear what we have to say and possibly pass judgment on it, which can cause us to take these feelings of judgment or rejection personally and cause anxiety. When speaking in public or in front of a group, we become anxious because we feel as though we are in the hot seat and cannot escape if we start to feel uncomfortable. We begin to fear making a mistake or having someone not like us. When we fear speaking up, such as to a manager or a coworker, we are second guessing ourselves and fear repercussions if we do not agree with them or like what they have to say. Although most of these fears are generally unfounded, they can be a strong cause in many cases of anxiety.

Some people strive to be perfect; and some come pretty close. Others want to be perfect in many areas, such as our work and personal lives, but feel anxious in the process or when we fail to do so. When we make a mistake, we don’t feel as though we did a perfect job, and can make us feel as though everyone is watching us (which leads to more anxiety!). Not being perfect, or not even being the best at something, makes us feel as though we are not good enough and that others may be passing judgment on us. This can cause further anxiety since we are obsessing about what other people think of us.

Remember:

  • The age-old saying -“No one is perfect.”
  • Perfection won’t make others happy.
  • Perfection will not make you happy.
  • Imperfection is how we learn and adapt.

Sometimes our anxiety can be too overwhelming to settle by ourselves. We have to learn what our limit is and how must we handle our on our own. Self-help methods and techniques are a great way to try and manage your anxiety and anxiety symptoms, but sometimes we have to realize when we need help from others and when to seek extra guidance in order to help ourselves.

Anxiety symptoms can be exhausting and can take a toll on us mentally and physically. While managing our anxiety is no easy task, it should not feel so overwhelming that we cannot function in our everyday lives. Anxiety can grow and grow if not handled properly, which can only make us begin to feel worse about our problems rather than seeking help for them. Sometimes the help from family and friends may not be enough to ease our symptoms and will need to be handled by a professional.

When to seek help:

  • If symptoms are too big to solve yourself.
  • If there are too many issues to deal with at once.
  • If anxiety is keeping you from functioning as normal.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Develop Positive Relationship

Words from the Wise

  • John Kenneth Galbraith: All the great leaders have had one characteristic in common; it was their willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
  • Robert Albert Bloch: Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
  • Susan Jeffers: We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures.
  • S. Lewis: Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don’t agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins.

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. She is the President of Jars Institute.  Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof.  Akindotun Merino

Jars Education Group

info@akinmerino.com

YouTube.com/akinmerino

Instagram: @drakinmerino:    Twitter: @drakindotun

 

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Mental Health

Trust Building At Work: Develop Positive Relationship

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Managing Workplace Anxiety: Triggers Part 5

By

Akindotun Merino

As humans, we are not designed to be completely alone. Whether at home or work, for your mental health and to build resiliency, it is important to develop positive, non-toxic relationships with others.

Getting to know colleagues is vital to developing positive relationships. When at work, do you ever feel like the world is sitting on your shoulders? There is no need to let this happen. Building and maintaining a support network will benefit you extensively. It will change your life for the better and make dealing with uncomfortable situations, and accomplishing new tasks easier.  When we think of a support network, it’s usually family and friends that come to mind, but getting to know your colleagues and building a network at work can be just as beneficial.

Before building a support network of your colleagues you must get to know them as individuals.

Here are some tips for getting to know them:

  • Use an icebreaker
  • Remember names
  • Find common interests
  • Spend time together outside of work

Establishing new relationships or strengthening old ones doesn’t mean anything goes. You want these relationships to be positive for you and the other party. Part of having a positive relationship is having and managing boundaries. For some, talking about boundaries is addressing the elephant in the room, but you want to be honest and upfront about them so no one gets hurt.

How can I set boundaries?

  • Recognize your limits
  • Clearly communicate your boundaries
  • Be aware of your feelings
  • Let your actions speak louder than your words
  • Address any breach of boundaries set

It goes without saying, that in order to develop relationships, you have to collaborate at some point. Whether it be working on a particular project together, or working in the same department.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Transparent Communication

Collaborating with others can be a valuable experience, but can also be stressful if you don’t understand the concept of working with others. Each person is different and has a different personality. Learn how to work with different personality types. Some of these include:

  • Extroverted and playful: These people require more attention and verbal approval than some other personalities.
  • Assertive leaders: This type of personality requires loyalty and recognition of achievements.
  • Meticulous planners: Meticulous people need the space to complete the tasks, and their perfectionist habits require understanding.
  • Peacemakers: Peacemakers work to avoid and settle conflict. They require a calm work environment and appreciation for their efforts.

Thanking others for their help is not hard to do. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. A simple, “Thank you”, goes further than you know. Whether you are thanking someone for volunteering to help with something that is not part of their required duties, or thanking them for what they get paid to do, it is always appreciated, and can build morale.

While the words, “thank you” are sufficient, it’s understandable that sometimes you want to do a little more. Below are some ideas on things you can do.

  • Free lunch
  • Opportunities of career advancement
  • Peer recognition program
  • Give employee extra time off
  • Bonus
  • Company branded merchandise
  • Gift card
  • Movie passes

READ ALSO: Change: Acceptance And Management

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. She is the President of Jars Institute.  Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof.  Akindotun Merino

Jars Education Group

info@akinmerino.com

YouTube.com/akinmerino

Instagram: @drakinmerino:    Twitter: @drakindotun

 

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Mental Health

Trust Building At Work: Transparent Communication

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Managing Workplace Anxiety: Triggers Part 5

By

Akindotun Merino

Transparent communication is open and honest. This is an essential aspect of any successful relationship. All communication with employees should be transparent in order to build trust.

Transparent communication is the act of both good and bad information being shared upward, downward, and laterally in a way that allows all to see the why behind the words. … Additionally, transparent communication encourages others to communicate openly and increases the sharing of ideas (Hutchison, 2020, April 8).

According to one Gallup report, consistent, open communication — like holding regular one-on-one meetings with employees — can nearly triple engagement levels. It’s not all about frequency, either: Communication about performance should include open, vulnerable conversations about challenges the organization faces. Trace Lawrence of Chewse stated that the average business fails to welcome emotions to the table. Worse, many companies have tacitly banned emotion from the office altogether. But if you stick to only facts and neglect feelings, you prevent employees from speaking up — or from feeling heard. Conversely, when leaders and managers express how they’re feeling, they’re not just creating connections in the workplace. They’re also telling employees who may be frustrated or unhappy: “We hear you, we feel it too, and here’s how we’re fixing it.”

READ ALSO: Workplace Harassment

Verbal communication is using words to express yourself. When speaking, most people hear what you say, but perhaps not your intention behind it. It’s important to get it right the first time, otherwise, you may have to do damage control. Speaking comes easily for some, and not so easily for others. If you fall into the latter category there are ways you can improve this. For example: practice what you are going to say before saying it. Granted, it’s not reasonable to practice everything you say, but there are those times when what you say will have a major impact, and you don’t want to leave any room for misinterpretation.

Keep employees in the loop of the status of the company or of any upcoming changes that may affect them directly. Make employees aware of important changes as they happen. Some people will be forgiving if you get it wrong the first time, but for others, this means starting from scratch in the trust-building department.

Here are some tips to help ensure your verbal communication is sending the right message:

  • Speak with confidence
  • Use a natural tone
  • Speak clearly and succinctly
  • Make sure your body language isn’t saying the opposite of your words
  • Be an active listener

Communication can also be non-verbal. For many, non-verbal communication can be difficult to master, because you are not consciously aware of what you are “saying”. However, it is important for you to be mindful of your non-verbal communication and ensure it supports your intended message. Again, not doing so can give the impression that you are not being transparent, or are an untrustworthy individual.

READ ALSO: Change: Acceptance And Management

Here are some non-verbal communication cues to consider:

  • Eye contact
  • Handshake
  • Posture
  • Body movements
  • Facial expressions
  • Aspects of speech (tone and speed)
  • Silence

Providing honest, constructive feedback strengthens the professional relationship.  When giving feedback, it may be tempting to say what you believe the other person wants to hear, but doing so is a disservice to that person and non-beneficial to you. The purpose of feedback is to highlight strengths and make the person aware of potential areas for improvement. No matter how great a job one is doing, there is always something that can be done better or more effectively. Don’t rob that employee of an opportunity to grow. On the other hand, if all you focus on are areas for improvement without commending the employee for what they are doing well, you are robbing them of a chance to shine.

When giving feedback that requires change on the part of the employee, make sure you are specifically focusing on the behavior that needs to be changed, not something that can’t be changed, such as the employee’s personality. Also, be timely in your feedback, and set clear expectations of change and gain the employee’s commitment to do so.

Finally, gossip is not appropriate for the workplace, or any place, for that matter. It is designed to tear down, not to build up. So why would you want that as a part of your company? Besides, if one person shares gossip with you, chances are they will be sharing gossip about you.

Gossip is the opposite of transparent communication. It tells secrets to one party, while keeping the other party in the dark. This typically means the whole truth isn’t being exposed. Truth is what honesty is based on. Promoting an environment where gossip is not tolerated is promoting a workplace where trust thrives.

Here are some suggestions for ridding your workplace of gossip:

  1. Institute a zero-tolerance policy.
  2. Address the gossiper.
  3. Set a positive example.

READ ALSO: Trust Building At Work: Keep Promises And Respect

Dr. Akindotun Merino is a Professor of Psychology and a Mental Health Commissioner in California. She is the President of Jars Institute.  Feel free to share your successes and challenges:

Prof.  Akindotun Merino

Jars Education Group

info@akinmerino.com

YouTube.com/akinmerino

Instagram: @drakinmerino:    Twitter: @drakindotun

 

Read more authentic news on our social media platforms 

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