As a rule, people with a positive assessment of themselves and their experiences and who are fairly resistant to uncertainty successfully cope with anxiety. Permanent anxiety is more common among people who tend to have negative outlooks and devalue themselves, their skills, and their resources.
Productive and Nonproductive Anxiety
Emotions are the regulator of human behavior. Emotional experiences allow us to recognize needs and desires, mobilize when necessary, and adjust strategies for interacting with the world. Anxiety is no exception. In the “healthy”, productive version, the feeling helps to solve a problem, to better prepare for a meeting, to calculate the risks.
The distinctive feature of productive anxiety is the presence of a real case, event or problem.
Nonproductive anxiety does not disappear with the completion of cases, moreover, it is often unrelated to them. Anxiety has a negative effect on health and performance.
Anxious people are indecisive, doubt themselves and their actions, are set on avoiding failure at work, are not willing to take responsibility and often refuse lucrative offers. They experience stress when interacting with co-workers and management, panic with negative projections, get sick more often than others, and take advantage of time off work.
The Anxiety Cycle
In most cases, anxiety arises from the thought of “what if…”. The thought may involve a real event, where the outcome is unknown but assessed as negative, or it may be a fantasy with no basis in fact. For example, a person’s “anxious brain” may focus on the thought of “what if I lose while betting via a 22Bet app” or “if I don’t do this job, then…”
Anxious thoughts involve uncertainty about something, vagueness, blind spots. If a person finds uncertainty difficult to bear, he will try by all means to get rid of it, collecting more and more information. Unfortunately, collecting this information is one-sided. The individual will notice points that confirm “disaster” and completely ignore the opposite.
Generating Terrible Results
The more negative information that comes into view, the more horrible the options that seem to rock the anxiety. At this point, work can be paralyzed. Every step the employee takes seems to bring him or her closer to the unpleasant finish line of “I will be criticized, I will be fired, I won’t be able to find a job.”
The horror of such prospects pushes the person to look for solutions. Anxious people try to work harder, but the constant emotional tension reduces concentration. Mistakes and failures are common companions in this process; they become confirmation that a negative outcome is near.
The person continues to be anxious with even greater intensity as, on the one hand, the initial problem and the thoughts connected with it are not solved, uncertainty remains, and on the other hand, the worker has received confirmation of his or her own insolvency. Thus, the drama is often played out in the head, it has nothing in common with reality, but is experienced heavily by the person.
Hidden Meanings and Benefits of Anxiety
Anxiety is an exhausting feeling, it’s difficult to cope with it because a person gives it positive meanings or draws hidden benefits.
Anxiety as a Motivation for Development
One has the illusion that without anxiety one will do nothing. He attributes his well-being and development in his career to heightened anxiety and the activities stemming from it.
Anxiety as a Marker of Responsibility and/or Depth of Personality
Anxiety, rumination, and negative predictions can be evaluated as a positive characteristic equated with foresight, adult stance, and wisdom.
Anxiety as a Defense Against More Complex and Intense Experiences
Often people worry about problems at work so that they don’t have to think about difficulties in their personal lives. It’s not uncommon for anxiety about small tasks to keep you from fixating on global projects.
How to Deal With Anxiety at Work
Learn to Distinguish Between Productive and Nonproductive Anxiety
Productive anxiety is related to a real problem to be solved. When a negative experience arises, simply answer yourself the question, “What task do I have to solve now?” If there is such a task, move as quickly as possible to solve it. Delay tends to increase anxiety.
Examine your Unproductive Anxiety
To do this, it’s convenient to keep a diary – over time to record situations in which you experience anxiety, your thoughts and emotions. With this information in mind, you can identify “weaknesses.” These can be irrational negative beliefs about yourself or others, low self-esteem or automatic patterns of emotional response, difficulties in interpersonal communication, and more. This is what you need to work with, because anxiety is a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself.
Allocate Yourself a Fixed Time to Worry
It’s necessary to carefully analyze all the negative thoughts of the day. If unproductive anxiety increases during the workday, move it to a fixed “anxiety window.” Typically, using this practice will result in the anxiety becoming controlled and not paralyzing the person during important work moments.
Check Your Predictions
Record any negative consequences of events and work processes that you think are bound to happen. Check your notes from time to time. The technique allows you to correct your tendency to make negative predictions.