Many people report having work-related anxiety. It may be fear of being judged by their boss or co-workers or could be a specific phobia. The number one fear is public speaking (whether in formal presentations or in office meetings/discussion). The fear is one of being judged and found lacking. “I won’t be good enough” or “I will do something stupid” or “I will be humiliated”. Another common fear or anxiety at work is that of confrontation- the fear that “I won’t be liked if I confront someone”.
Most effective ways of combating work-related fear or anxiety:
1. Over-Energy Correction Technique for Stress Reduction: This is a quick technique we give in our books that takes 2 minutes or less to do and rapidly calms fear or anxiety when you are feeling stressed, confused, or overwhelmed. Cross the left ankle over the right ankle; extend arms with backs of hands facing each other, bring right hand over left, clasp fingers together, fold arms and hands inward and rest the hands on the chest under the chin; place your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth, breathe deeply for 1-2 minutes. It is very calming for most individuals and can be used to promote sleep as well as to reduce acute anxiety.
2. Rhythmic Breathing Exercise for Stress Reduction:
Rhythmic (or Box) Breathing is a helpful technique for rapidly decreasing stress, anxiety, heart rate or blood pressure. It also is centering and prepares you for a meditation or a peaceful night’s sleep.
Think of your breathing pattern as if it were a box or square drawn on a piece of paper with the breathing in being the left upward drawn line, holding your in-breath as the line on the top of the square from left to right, breathing out as the line going downward on the right side, and then the holding of the out-breath being the line from right to left on the bottom side of the square.
You slowly count the length of your breath going in, being held, or going out that is right for you. The length of your in-breath and out-breath should be the same count; just as the length of the held breath at top and bottom should be the same number of counts. As you practice your breathing, you might find that your square is actually a rectangle. Each person may find they have a different count from another person; and that is fine as we are all unique individuals. Just make certain that you are not strained in your breathing in or out or with the breath holds at top or bottom; if you find you are strained, then change the length of your counts for different sides of your “box” of breathing.
Once you find the pattern of your square or rectangular box that works best for you, go through 4 to 5 complete rounds of the rhythmic breathing and notice how your body and mind respond.
3. Activating Your Natural Joyful Energies:
Our bodies have a natural joyful energy flow that we can tap into to experience peace and joyfulness. However our chaotic, stressful lifestyles and the high pressures we often experience in Western society has contributed to us shutting down these joyful energetic circuits. The good news is that we can intentionally reactivate them at any time we choose. Certain body motions can readily open these channels once more. These simple movements can assist you with reawakening your inner natural joyfulness.
a. Figure Eights: Any body movement that creates figure eights will create joyful flows in the body’s circuitry. Dance around the room while moving your arms in front of you, either tracing a figure eight or an infinity sign with your body or your arms. Put on your favorite music, relax, and sway your body to the rhythm as you do your figure eights.
Another approach is to trace figure eights on your body or doodle them on paper. When you are feeling stressed out at the office or in a meeting and can’t get up to dance, this is a simple solution. Not much equipment is necessary to accomplish this, just the desire to feel joy.
b. Stretching and Energetic Crossover: Any body movement that contributes to stretching can also assist with activating your joyful flows. Recall how delicious it feels to do a complete body stretch when you first wake up in the morning. Movements that cause your energies to cross over your body’s mid-line in addition to stretching, such as tai chi, yoga, swimming, running or walking, also help make space in the body’s energy system and open your joyful energetic circuit flows.
The following video shows Marion Ross, PhD teaching the stretching exercise “Connecting Heaven and Earth”:
A person should seek professional help is if their anxiety is severe enough to cause their work productivity or their relationships to be adversely effected. If the level of angst is creating a lack of joy in their life on a daily basis for more than a two week period, then it may be time to seek professional assistance.
Hope this helps!
The Shift Doctors (Tracy Latz MD & Marion Ross PhD)