“I’ve been biting my nails since morning for my team meeting, for no apparent reason!”
“I’m panicking about the review of my sales sheet. I’ve checked it so many times by now!”
Anxiety at workplace is no longer an alien concept. We’ve all known people who have gone through, or in some instances, personally experienced it. And while some have had the courage to seek help, others have sought recourse in the form of self-remedy.
But there is one thing that takes a backseat when you’re figuring out how to tackle anxiety at workplace. While you often identify yourself as the victim, the bearer of the “injury”, you rule out that the “insult” often originates from you. That’s right! Being cruel to yourself about suffering from anxiety only adds to your existing struggle.
While outward, visible-to-the-naked eye physical injuries ring a bell to immediately ask for help, mental injuries don’t receive the same treatment. And the key factor that should be common for both is compassion. According to Inc, your struggles with anxiety, stress, and other mental illnesses are no less worthy of a compassionate approach than your struggles with any physical pain, strain, or injury. This holds true if you start by realising that the state of our mental health directly affects our physical well-being.
So here’s an important tip- be compassionate. Often synonymous with empathy, there’s a major factor that distinguishes the two. The heart of compassion lies in taking action, unlike empathy, where you put yourselves in other people’s shoes to understand their struggle.
We often look for love, care, and help from others. Rather, we expect it by default. Why not? After all, we’re a system of interdependent people. We’re also a part of it. But we’re also, in ourselves, a whole, entire system. So start by being kind to yourselves. If it helps, think of yourselves as the person you love the most in the world. And act and tend to yourself the way you would do it for them.
Kristin Neff, Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas, Austin, states three components of self-compassion:
- being kind and caring toward yourself rather than harshly self-critical;
- framing imperfection in terms of the shared human experience; and
- seeing things clearly without ignoring or exaggerating problems.
Self-compassion is crucial when it comes to paving a way for wellness. Trzeciak and Mazzarelli's book contends that compassion is a wonder drug. When doctors display a sense of compassion towards patients, they heal faster and have fewer complications. Look closely, and you’ll realise it’s a win-win situation, because doctors in turn have experience lesser burnout. When you are the doctor and the patient, compassion flows both ways, and you feel better with lesser exertion.
People who exercise self-compassion experience greater socially connectivity, display higher levels of emotional intelligence, feel happier, hold a greater sense of self-worth, and in general feel optimistic. Here are 5 ways to be compassionate to yourself:
- Empty your system. Spill out all that’s bothering you. Be it writing or painting, do what liberates you.
- Acknowledge that just like time, you won’t be stuck forever.
- Consult a counsellor, and if required, a therapist. Know that anxiety is equivalent to physical hurting, and it requires the same amount of attention.
- Celebrate. Even if it’s a minor achievement, know that you accomplished it- a sale, a small profit, or an act of helping someone.
- Learn to let go. While a lot of people focus on the act of letting go, it’s absolutely important to understand that the ‘learning’ aspect is where the real solution resides.
Draft your own story towards victory; and include generous amounts of self-compassion in it. Let the author in you be someone else’s inspiration for overcoming their anxiety.