who or what creates stress and anxiety in your workplace?
We have a massive problem in our work environments.
There is much out there to tackle work related stress and anxiety; wellbeing services, strategies of prevention and support and therapy, which is so greatly needed, but the problem isn’t going away.
THE WORKPLACE for many are places of anxiety and fear, especially now with Covid-19 changing how we work. There is fear and anxiety even in environments where wellbeing and positive work ethos is valued and practised.
There are still fear based environments, blame cultures, bullying; where people are frightened to go to work. Such behaviour causes stress and anxiety for those suffering it and for those witnessing it, and has a serious impact upon the morale of a company when it is not addressed. Statistics show 13% of cases reported violence, threats or bullying as the cause of work-related stress, anxiety and depression. (hse.gov/statistics) However, many cases go unreported due to fear of repercussions, or because of the shame felt, especially by men.
There is also the fear created by our own thoughts; Our negative 'self talk' which crushes our confidence and self esteem. The 'Inner Worrier' with self doubt and the 'what if's' creating worst case scenario's in our mind, the 'Inner Critic' who criticises what we do, the 'Inner Judge' who judges us harshly as a person, all of which we believe and project onto our work environment, onto the people we work with. The vulnerability may be because of our workload (44%) or due to lack of support (14%) or because of change (8%) or for some other reason (21%) but we begin to worry and the problem gets bigger and we spiral down into work-related stress and anxiety. Many hard working, conscientious people go to work in fear, even when the environment is a positive one, because of 'old programming'; and old negative beliefs about themselves that are still affecting their thoughts and behaviours.
When I use the word ‘fear’, a person often says, ‘I’m not fearful, work
just makes me anxious’, BUT when we investigate their thought processes and behaviours fear is there; fear of what others might think of them, fear of not belonging, not being liked, fear that they might get something wrong, might lose control, might get into serious trouble, might be found out for being a fraud, fear that they might be sacked.
And there is the fear of something happening again; a repetition of something that happened in the past; in their life, a previous workplace, a previous relationship, at school, in their family. Such fears can make a workplace feel dangerous. And now because of Covid-19 many people are terrified to go to work. Old fears merging with what is happening today.
And also there are people who fear being seen.
People who stay in mundane, unfulfilling jobs or roles, who are intelligent, have amazing ideas, have so much potential and much to give to the world, but don’t, because of what they believe about
themselves based upon their history.
In all work environments there are psychological dynamics: which get unconsciously played out because of our history and what is happening at that time; 'old programmes' affecting how we function in the workplace, how we think about ourselves and others, how we behave and how we work. This is what causes stress and anxiety in the workplace
Often at the core of work-related stress and anxiety is our history; what we experienced in the past. So, a question to ask yourself is, WHAT DO YOU TAKE TO WORK WITH YOU?