Worry, in its simplest form, is projected fear. In other words, we’re thinking about a future event and applying a negative outcome. It could be work related, or just as easily, it could be something in our private life. There might be a particular task we need to undertake at work, and feel unsure of our ability, or we might be meeting someone for the first time, and we’re nervous of how we’ll come across. It is perfectly natural for us to be nervous and worried under such circumstances.
Stretching ourselves, by welcoming in change and challenge, in both personal and professional life, is very important. We can expect a certain amount of stress when stretching. The key, is to seek ways, in which we can reduce the levels of our anxiety.
The Muscle of Mind
It’s true to say, the mind is like a muscle. As with any muscle, when we place it under stress, the effect is to build its strength. In this respect, how we respond to stress and worry, is determined by the strength of our minds. Having said this, the coping strategies we’ve perfected, need to be of a positive nature. Our strength must be of a certain type.
How we deal with worry is determined by our thinking, and most importantly, by the resources we have available to us at this time. Some might think these resources include things that are easily to hand. In fact vast numbers of us turn to those things – to include drink and drugs. In the long term though, these things ultimately only add, to our problems.
Allow me to give you a simple example of how it’s possible to amplify stress and worry through lack of resources. It’s often the case that when seeking to better our circumstances, there’s a tendency, to just focus on the financial aspects. A manager I’m aware of did such a thing when applying for a job she now has. The unfortunate reality – that her area manager has now begun to realise – is she lacks sufficient resources to be properly effective in this new role.
You might now think the answer would be for her to undergo the necessary training to raise her skills level. Although this is the obvious answer, going back to the blackboard, as it where, doesn’t suit everyone. What if a person’s defence and coping strategies have become irreversible and unnavigable? When this is the case, any training given, is likely met with such incredulity, condescension and contradiction, that it becomes completely ineffective.
As you might have already guessed, this is the case, and so we now have a business that’s declining, and a manager that’s becoming increasingly stressed, as a result. Neither the staff around her, or the area manager, seem able to do anything about it. They’re left staring open-mouthed, innocently witnessing her progressive and inevitable, melt-down. Sad but true. You can read a slightly tongue in cheek account of a staff members views here.
Defence Mechanism and Coping Strategies
We all have them and it’s important to recognise how they might be affecting our performance and well-being. Our defence can be to completely ignore advice and guidance – blindly believing we can manage without it. Our coping strategy might be the pills. It might be an addiction to sugar or perhaps we’re over eating and drinking too much. As odd as it might sound, the manager mentioned above, copes through gambling. It’s a means of distraction and route to the melt-down she’s unconsciously seeking. More stress? You bet; excuse for the pun.
So the questions we must ask ourselves are these:
- What are my coping strategies?
- Am I up to the job?
- In what way is my mind (ego) defending me?
- Do I believe I’m capable?
Personal Development is the way and the means to raising our self-awareness. There is a way to reduce our need for coping strategies and defence mechanisms. You can find your application form here.