Summary: Setbacks are very common in life and especially so at workplace. As Christians we have a definite advantage over others in overcoming such setbacks

Thriving through setbacks and Anxiety @ Workplace

Today’s workplace is in a constant flux. The phrase, “change is the only constant”, though clichéd, is very much applicable in the workplace. The sad part of this is that not all that change is constructive as far as the employee is concerned. As corporate consultant Gary Hamel has observed, “The world is becoming turbulent faster than organizations are becoming resilient.” The chaos of change in today’s world is beyond the ability of most organizations to handle well”. Changes in the workplace occur so often now that very few employees have up-to-date job descriptions. And it isn’t just frequent, disruptive change that must be handled. Morale suffers when friendships with co-workers are disrupted by reorganization, downsizing, and layoffs. Pride in one’s work can be hard to maintain when a system you developed for doing things is tossed out and a new system that doesn’t work as well is imposed on you.

So, setbacks are for real. Workplace anxiety is a common phenomena. All negative emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety, distress, helplessness, and hopelessness decrease our ability to solve the problems we face, and they weaken your resiliency, our ability to bounce back. Constant fears and worries weaken your immune system and increase your vulnerability to illnesses.

The situation is serious. At the present time, one out of six Americans uses tranquilizers regularly. According to current US Food and Drug Administration figures, approximately 1.5 million adults are tranquilizer addicts, and tranquilizer misusers currently outnumber abusers of illicit drugs. Is taking tranquilizers or alcohol the right solution?

How do you respond to extreme setbacks? In my studies I have found that there are three key aspects to the fight against anxiety. As explained in slide 2 , all the three needs to be mastered for us to have stability.

The three aspects are

1. Understanding

2. Release

3. Prevention

Let us see these three aspects separately, and when we put them together, we will have the complete picture, a holistic view of anxiety Management.

1. Understanding

We need to able to understand what causes us anxiety, and how we react to anxiety. My focus will be more on understanding how we react to anxiety, for the simple reason that the causes are most of the time out of our control. There are going to be setbacks and we cannot avoid them, there are going to be failures in our projects, we are very likely to miss that promotion that we were hoping to get. The salary increase that we were banking on might not come, we might not win that important business deal that we put our heart and sweat in, we might be placed under a horrible boss, or worst still we might be laid off from work altogether. We know our Bibles well, and we know that the bible tells us that we will have trials and tribulation in this life. We cannot control them. What we can however do, is to seek divine help in influencing our reaction to the situations and that is what we will try and do in the short time that we have.

Let us look at slide no 3

Anxiety is triggered when a disruptive change takes place. This could be a set back or a failure or communication of a bad news, reorganization, location change, etc etc. This disruptive change is a rough blow to many people (or, should I say, to all?) People react to life’s rough blows in many different ways. Some emotionally explode. They become enraged and flail around. They have emotional tantrums in which they may want to hurt someone. A few become physically violent.

Others do the opposite. They implode. They go numb. They feel so helpless and overwhelmed they can’t even try to cope with what has happened. Some people portray themselves as victims. They blame others for ruining their lives. They spiral downward, mired in unhappy thoughts and feelings. “This isn’t fair,” they complain over and over. “Look at what they’ve done to me now.”

Sadly, some people get stuck in the victim/blaming mode when their lives are disrupted. They reject all suggestions on how to cope with what happened. They won’t take steps to overcome their difficulties even after the crisis is over. Getting stuck in this frame of mind is like tying a rope around your feet and then trying to run a race—it’s a major handicap. Victim thinking keeps people feeling helpless, and by blaming others for their bad situations, they place responsibility on others for making their lives better.

Blaming others for ruining the life you had will block you from bouncing back. Blaming an organization’s executives, “the government,” self-serving politicians, administrators who lack emotional intelligence, cheap foreign labor, stock market managers, taxpayers, or any person or group for ruining your life keeps you in a non-resilient victim state in which you do not take resiliency actions.

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