Author Topic: Work Anxiety  (Read 7867 times)

Vicster

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Work Anxiety
« on: June 05, 2017, 08:28:26 AM »
Hello

I've been doing low paid jobs for a number of years now, mainly due to the reduced anxiety and stress levels that come with them.

I was just wondering if anyone else has had anxiety issues around work and has managed to overcome them successful and any tips/strategies.

I think fears that come up for me when I think of work are:

- bullying / shouting from bosses (have had a lot of bad experiences with bosses in the past)
- the sense of powerlessness and feeling trapped, lack of holidays, being tied to desk all day
- the fear of not being good enough, not being able to complete task or making mistakes

I've had better paid jobs in between, but I find I often leave at some point due to stress and feeling unable to cope. I've started doing more exercise and have ordered the book 'Feeling Good - The New Mood Therapy' as it was recommended on another post on here on anxiety (few years ago).  I've also found a yoga you tube video for anxiety which looks good. 

In the past I've been on medication which has helped with holding down jobs, but I'm reluctant to return to that as I feel it just treats the symptoms and not the cause.

Any advice, experience would be much appreciated, thanks in advance
Vicky




WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2017, 08:36:06 AM »
I would recommend getting a book called "Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel By Changing The Way You Think". It's a cognitive behavioral therapy workbook that you can purchase used off Amazon for $2-$4 and it helps people learn to manage anxiety without the need for a therapist. The way CBT works is you learn strategies for evaluating your feelings based on logical reasoning. You retrain your brain to really consider whether the anxiety you feel is based on actual danger or if it's something you are creating within yourself.

The workbook has "homework" built into it which you can do each day until you internalize the strategies. I've found it to be very effective in my own life for managing the stress from the "fight or flight" response I have left over from childhood.

SingleMomDebt

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2017, 08:36:34 AM »
P2F. I am on my way to work. So will respond later. But know that while the meds may treat the symptoms, it gives you the time and ability to strengthen what you need and work on managing the anxiety in other ways.

NorthernBlitz

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2017, 09:17:29 AM »
I'm not sure if it helps, but I like doing this 2 minute exercise about trying to feel grateful for something that Tony Robbins shared on the Tim Ferriss podcast.

http://tim.blog/2016/09/18/how-to-resolve-internal-conflict/

But, I haven't had to deal with a situation like the one you are describing.

scottish

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2017, 06:11:31 PM »
I liked the book "The Mindfulness Solution".    It has similarities to Mind over Mood but was better suited to my personality.

Also, building up a good investment portfolio reduces anxiety about work.   I remember when the kids were pre-teens & the company I worked for was slowly collapsing in a heap over a period of 7 years.    That wouldn't bother me at all now. 

CheapScholar

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2017, 06:20:53 PM »
I've had some minor anxiety issues but nothing major and they don't stem from work.  I've found walking helps.  I'm lucky that I work on a university campus and if I walk from noon til one no one notices or cares.

Like the above comment, I agree that an investment portfolio helps.  I don't have enough to retire right now, but unlike most Americans I could easily go years without working or take a 50% pay reduction and be just fine.

big_slacker

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2017, 06:29:03 PM »
Hello

I've been doing low paid jobs for a number of years now, mainly due to the reduced anxiety and stress levels that come with them.

I was just wondering if anyone else has had anxiety issues around work and has managed to overcome them successful and any tips/strategies.

I think fears that come up for me when I think of work are:

- bullying / shouting from bosses (have had a lot of bad experiences with bosses in the past)
- the sense of powerlessness and feeling trapped, lack of holidays, being tied to desk all day
- the fear of not being good enough, not being able to complete task or making mistakes

I've had better paid jobs in between, but I find I often leave at some point due to stress and feeling unable to cope. I've started doing more exercise and have ordered the book 'Feeling Good - The New Mood Therapy' as it was recommended on another post on here on anxiety (few years ago).  I've also found a yoga you tube video for anxiety which looks good. 

In the past I've been on medication which has helped with holding down jobs, but I'm reluctant to return to that as I feel it just treats the symptoms and not the cause.

Any advice, experience would be much appreciated, thanks in advance
Vicky

I would start by reading "The Power of Now" by Tolle. There is a bit of woo woo in the book, but it also has really good, bonehead simple advice on how to recognize that you probably don't often have any actual problems in the immediate moment. Anxiety is all about your brain getting ahead of itself.

In addition to that book, I highly, highly recommend the 'Headspace' meditation app. Particularly in your case the anxiety pack. It's actual TRAINING in both noticing thought patterns, seeing them as normal and letting them pass rather than dwelling on or feeding them. This has had a HUGE impact on my life, I have been on SSRI's in the past and am no longer. It has helped me with anger, anxiety and depression.

Bosses yelling. They should not be. If this is occurring you tell them it's not ok. If that doesn't work you go to HR. If that doesn't work you find another job.
Powerlessness. Wrong field maybe? There are things to do that pay well that aren't desk jobs and that allow flex schedules.
Imposter syndrome. No one has it figured out. I work at a high level position at a top 5 tech company and.... no one has it figured out. At some point you just recognize this and get about your day. :D

Good luck!
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 06:33:37 PM by big_slacker »

SC93

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2017, 07:40:14 PM »
Back when I had a large house cleaning business I had anxiety BAD!! I always did most of the estimates because I loved doing them but once I got in the car to drive there I'd have really bad anxiety. Walking up to the door and ringing the door bell was HELL!! But then they would answer the door..... I would take control of the estimate, we were in THEIR house but I'd be in control and my anxiety went away. Every now and then when I would be talking to them and looking in their eyes I'd get a bid anxious but I'd quickly gather it back up and regain control.

As for having anxiety at a 'job'. My daddy taught me to tell my boss that if he fired me, "I was looking for a job when I found this one". I never cared about a 'job'. I used to tell them that if they was going to fire me to please do it in the morning so I can go back home and go back to sleep. Jobs are for workers.... <<< hey, maybe I just made a new t-shirt :)

Gone_Hiking

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2017, 08:21:13 PM »
I feel for you.  Five years ago, I had a boss who drove me to the verge of clinical depression.  Once, I had a home AC service coming in and IM'd him to let him know that I would work from home for the rest of the day due to the service.  He forced me to call them back and cancel - I was not allowed to leave because, in his mind, my IM disrespected him.  Epic douche, that one.

I started meditating and survived.  Looks like I'm seconding advice of a couple of more posters here, between meditation and mindfullness.  Get into it, practice, vent if you have to.   I'll keep you in warm thoughts.

SC93

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2017, 09:02:26 PM »
I feel for you.  Five years ago, I had a boss who drove me to the verge of clinical depression.  Once, I had a home AC service coming in and IM'd him to let him know that I would work from home for the rest of the day due to the service.  He forced me to call them back and cancel - I was not allowed to leave because, in his mind, my IM disrespected him.  Epic douche, that one.

I started meditating and survived.  Looks like I'm seconding advice of a couple of more posters here, between meditation and mindfullness.  Get into it, practice, vent if you have to.   I'll keep you in warm thoughts.

It would be a comedy show if I worked for that boss. He would quickly learn some words he might not want his kids to hear. I just don't get why people take crap from their boss. I never did, but that is why I had to start my own business..... that way I could take crap from all my customers. lmao
« Last Edit: June 05, 2017, 10:00:15 PM by SC93 »

spokey doke

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2017, 09:58:44 AM »
Tons of great resources, most commonly framed in terms of mindfulness these days, or happiness...much of it either stems from, is inspired by, or is consistent with basic elements of Buddhist thought and practice.

For understanding why our brain does what it does (esp. for anxiety), I like: Buddha's Brain (Hanson).

For cultivating a practice of meditation: Mindfulness in Plain English (Gunaratana).

For dealing with negative thoughts which can lead to anxiety, and many of the issues that anxiety sufferers often have:  Loving-Kindness (Salzberg)

If you want to check out Buddhism, most anything by Thick Nhat Hanh - Being Peace, or The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching.

Treat yourself well and best of luck...

VoteCthulu

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2017, 10:59:09 AM »
I've never had my boss yell at me, but I did have an epiphany a few years back that greatly reduced my anxiety when dealing with bosses. Simply put: Don't argue or try to convince them of anything.

Instead, I just give my opinion or assessment in as emotionally detached way possible, respond to any questions, and when they decide how to proceed I just say "ok, will do". If anything goes wrong I make it a point not lay any blame or revisit past decisions, I just treat it as a fresh problem and give a new assessment.

The funny thing is that I feel like after about a year of doing this that my opinion is more respected than when I used to more aggressively champion my point of view.

2microsNH

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2017, 11:24:27 AM »
So many thoughtful suggestions here. A book that has helped me make sense and get control of my anxiety is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van de Kolk. He summarizes the extensive research about how trauma is manifest in the body long after the trauma is past, and various ways to re-wire our brains that interrupt the hard-wired anxiety response (e.g., yoga, mindfulness practice, biofeedback, etc.). The book really helped me to understand that my anxiety was hard-wired into my brain and body during my childhood, and that as an adult I can re-train my brain to respond appropriately to my current circumstances. Obviously controlling anxiety is a lifelong process, but regular, targeted practices can help.

As spokey doke suggests, down-to-Earth writings in Buddhism can be a very powerful antidote to anxiety if they resonate with you. Essays by Buddhist nun Pema Chodron have carried me through some very dark times. My favorite book by her is When Things Fall Apart.

Also, as another posted upthread, there's absolutely no shame in using anti-anxiety medication if you really need it to function. I have used amitriptyline and wellbutrin (not together) to good effect, but neither worked for me in the long run for various reasons. You may consider talking with your doctor about a medication that could work for you, and then start trying meds to see if anything can allay your anxiety with tolerable side effects.

Good luck, OP, and take good care.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 11:27:52 AM by 2microsNH »

semiretired31

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2017, 12:02:53 PM »
I feel for you.  Five years ago, I had a boss who drove me to the verge of clinical depression.  Once, I had a home AC service coming in and IM'd him to let him know that I would work from home for the rest of the day due to the service.  He forced me to call them back and cancel - I was not allowed to leave because, in his mind, my IM disrespected him.  Epic douche, that one.

I started meditating and survived.  Looks like I'm seconding advice of a couple of more posters here, between meditation and mindfullness.  Get into it, practice, vent if you have to.   I'll keep you in warm thoughts.

Been there.  What a sucky life experience that was.  Wouldn't wish it on anyone.

o2bfree

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2017, 01:30:28 PM »
Another vote for meditation.

Perhaps the worst part about stressful situations is that we let them affect us when we're away from the situation. Learning how to relax the hand of thought can help. Also, meditation makes your mind more limber and resilient, which better prepares you to handle stress as it happens. When your mind is more open and free, it's easier to diffuse stressful situations because your empathy for others naturally grows, making it easier and in fact pleasant to react in ways that uplift those who are stressed out themselves.

Polish_Hammer

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2017, 02:16:31 PM »
Work Anxiety is no joke. Went through a bad spell last year. See my post  [url]https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/job-stress-mental-health-a[url]  I came back to work last November and what has helped me besides "lexapro" which I will be weaning off shortly is meditation and Stoicism.  Take a look at the daily stoic to get a daily quote to ponder.  It's mostly control what you can control and get a perspective on things by looking outside in.  We all have our demons: addictions, Anxiety.  They never go away we just learned to tame them.

Lmoot

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2017, 04:45:17 PM »
The best thing I did for work anxiety is pad my emergency fund. You'd be amazed at how much that anxiety may come from fear of losing the job. If you aren't afraid to walk away if things get bad enough, and be confident you'll have the time to look for something better, can cause a lot of anxiety.

I will also second what someone above said about being as dispassionate as possible. Just simply don't argue. "Will do" is my go to response. There is no point arguing about it or going behind their back especially if it's a minor thing. Every single person I know who has done either of those things end up losing their job, or eventually quitting because they caused such stress for themselves.  If your boss yells at you, let them yell. Although it does help that I don't really love my job. I like that it is easy and frees up my mind for other things. But I am not trying to climb the corporate ladder, because like you I don't want the stress of it, or frankly the extra responsibility. I am not passionate about the field I work in, therefore I am not passionate about the job. It is more important that I work up to my bosses expectations, and not that I get to put my own stamp on it or create a reputation for myself.

It may sound like a sad existence, but I have other plans going on, and a part-time job I hope to transition to as a full-time career one day. I don't plan on being at this job for more than a few more years.

golden1

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2017, 06:19:49 PM »
I struggle with the third on your list, particularly right now as I just started a job a month ago.  I am suffering from big time imposter syndrome.  I got a 15% raise for moving jobs, and this job is very, very different from my old one, and I currently feel incredibly useless. I like feeling helpful and productive, and I feel like I am constantly bugging people with questions.  I hate it.  I have to keep repeating the mantra that my job currently is to learn, and that is totally okay right now. 


TaxChick

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2017, 06:37:39 PM »
Have you considered EMDR therapy?  It sounds a bit unusual, but I have had a couple of friends who had great results with this therapy. 

MVal

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2017, 06:42:30 PM »
I struggle with feeling anxiety at work too, mostly because I feel demoralized and inept at work due to a lack of being able to focus. I'm lucky to have a great boss and a good work environment, really, but I feel like I am really bad at my job even though it is so simple. I struggle with adult ADD and depression and used to be on meds and have considered going back on them again. Finding MMM has helped, because now I have something to work towards and a light at the end of the tunnel. Just knowing it is within my power to end the need to do work I don't enjoy and that feels like trying to pedal a bicycle through mud when I try to focus on it helps me get through the day sometimes.

I feel like I am just hiding how lazy I am from my boss and coworkers and that I have to save as much money as possible before they find me out and the jig is up.

nara

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2017, 08:02:11 PM »
I had work anxiety after having been fired from my first "real" job after graduating college. It was unexpected and without warning and it made me realize that employers can do whatever they want. I always worried constantly about my job performance after that... always anxious that I wasn't doing a good enough job and that my employer was going to fire me at any moment.  I was fired from another job a few years later when the supervisor who had hired me was replaced with a very inept supervisor. I made a mistake of disapproving of something she had done and she really disliked me after that and fired me soon after. I have never been a good kiss asser type like most people. But it turned out to be a life changing moment for me because I realized that I do not want a "boss" who is capable of having that much power over me. I collected unemployment and went on food stamps while starting up my own business. I ended up not going back to work for another company and have been happily and successfully self employed for the past 5 years. Now my "bosses" are my clients--and if one of them decides to fire me, it isn't that big of a deal. The work anxiety is gone... at least the part of it that caused me the most anxiety. Work anxiety may just be social anxiety--but for me everything changed for the better when I discovered that I could be self-employed successfully. As an entrepreneur the sky is the limit on my income potential whereas as a worker bee all I could hope for was a small annual pay increase [/i]]if my boss felt me worthy. I can't imagine ever going back and hopefully I can reach FI and have plenty of FU money so that I never have to!

MVal

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2017, 09:47:02 PM »
I had work anxiety after having been fired from my first "real" job after graduating college. It was unexpected and without warning and it made me realize that employers can do whatever they want. I always worried constantly about my job performance after that... always anxious that I wasn't doing a good enough job and that my employer was going to fire me at any moment.  I was fired from another job a few years later when the supervisor who had hired me was replaced with a very inept supervisor. I made a mistake of disapproving of something she had done and she really disliked me after that and fired me soon after. I have never been a good kiss asser type like most people. But it turned out to be a life changing moment for me because I realized that I do not want a "boss" who is capable of having that much power over me. I collected unemployment and went on food stamps while starting up my own business. I ended up not going back to work for another company and have been happily and successfully self employed for the past 5 years. Now my "bosses" are my clients--and if one of them decides to fire me, it isn't that big of a deal. The work anxiety is gone... at least the part of it that caused me the most anxiety. Work anxiety may just be social anxiety--but for me everything changed for the better when I discovered that I could be self-employed successfully. As an entrepreneur the sky is the limit on my income potential whereas as a worker bee all I could hope for was a small annual pay increase [/i]]if my boss felt me worthy. I can't imagine ever going back and hopefully I can reach FI and have plenty of FU money so that I never have to!

Wow, that is great! Would you mind sharing what sort of business you're in? Being self employed intrigues me, but I've always wondered if I'd have the discipline to actually run a business.

PDXTabs

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2017, 09:51:47 PM »
- bullying / shouting from bosses (have had a lot of bad experiences with bosses in the past)

Don't put up with this, keep moving around until you get a decent boss.

For the rest of that stuff, I find both cardiovascular exercise (ride a bike to work?) as well as yoga to help. Also, if possible, cut out alcohol and coffee.

milliemchi

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2017, 10:50:51 AM »
+1 for medication, especially if it helps your employment history

For me, things turned around when I changed my outlook on life. Until I changed the outlook, the meds weren't working. Until I started meds though, the outlook change wasn't happening. It's a circle of positive changes that you just have to get into somehow. The easiest way is to take medication to free time and energy to work on the skills that will solve the problems and not just the symptoms.

Inaya

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2017, 10:55:26 AM »
PTF


Lots of anxiety, and medications have never worked for me. Also I have really, really strong Imposter Syndrome. I tend to follow a "fake it 'til you make it" philosophy. I pretend I'm a capable, functional adult human being, and I've fooled all my coworkers into thinking I'm actually good at my job. And I live in mortal fear of the day they realize that I'm actually not and I've never deserved this job in the first place.

MrsPete

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2017, 11:39:06 AM »
- bullying / shouting from bosses (have had a lot of bad experiences with bosses in the past)
- the sense of powerlessness and feeling trapped, lack of holidays, being tied to desk all day
- the fear of not being good enough, not being able to complete task or making mistakes
You say you've been at low-paying jobs.  My high school students, who are in low-paying jobs, complain about similar problems in their jobs, and I've heard it often enough to believe that -- in their case, not talking about you at all -- part of it is immaturity and lack of understanding of good work ethic ... but another part of it is that people in low-paying jobs (which tend to be low-skilled jobs) are easily replace and thus not valued by their bosses.  So they get pushed around when it comes to working five Saturday nights in a row or 'til after midnight during exam week, coming in for meetings off the clock, charged for broken dishes or required company polo shirts. 

What I tell them:  This is why you want to further your education and become qualified for a professional job.  Not only is the pay better, but people don't treat you like you're disposable ... because you're harder to replace. 

So my advice to you -- an adult -- is similar:  Figure out how to qualify yourself for something other than a low-paying job, and you'll likely be treated better.  Sad, but true.


MVal

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2017, 11:51:36 AM »
PTF


Lots of anxiety, and medications have never worked for me. Also I have really, really strong Imposter Syndrome. I tend to follow a "fake it 'til you make it" philosophy. I pretend I'm a capable, functional adult human being, and I've fooled all my coworkers into thinking I'm actually good at my job. And I live in mortal fear of the day they realize that I'm actually not and I've never deserved this job in the first place.

+1 - I'm the same way. I relate my FIRE goals to a literal fire...I picture myself being inside a burning building filled with money, and I'm furiously trying to stuff as much money as I can into a bag before I absolutely have to escape. That is what saving as much money as possible before they find me out feels like in my mind. :)

Inaya

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2017, 12:04:48 PM »
PTF

Lots of anxiety, and medications have never worked for me. Also I have really, really strong Imposter Syndrome. I tend to follow a "fake it 'til you make it" philosophy. I pretend I'm a capable, functional adult human being, and I've fooled all my coworkers into thinking I'm actually good at my job. And I live in mortal fear of the day they realize that I'm actually not and I've never deserved this job in the first place.

+1 - I'm the same way. I relate my FIRE goals to a literal fire...I picture myself being inside a burning building filled with money, and I'm furiously trying to stuff as much money as I can into a bag before I absolutely have to escape. That is what saving as much money as possible before they find me out feels like in my mind. :)
Oh my gosh, I love this so much! Well I mean I love the image because it's so accurate--I don't love that you feel like that.

o2bfree

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2017, 02:22:43 PM »
PTF

Lots of anxiety, and medications have never worked for me. Also I have really, really strong Imposter Syndrome. I tend to follow a "fake it 'til you make it" philosophy. I pretend I'm a capable, functional adult human being, and I've fooled all my coworkers into thinking I'm actually good at my job. And I live in mortal fear of the day they realize that I'm actually not and I've never deserved this job in the first place.

+1 - I'm the same way. I relate my FIRE goals to a literal fire...I picture myself being inside a burning building filled with money, and I'm furiously trying to stuff as much money as I can into a bag before I absolutely have to escape. That is what saving as much money as possible before they find me out feels like in my mind. :)

Mindfulness and meditation can help a lot with anxiety, though it takes persistent application to make progress. Anxiety is a downward spiral where the feedback system of thought and brain chemistry gets stuck in a harmful cycle.

Mindfulness/meditation can help you break that cycle. Here's an interesting article about this topic:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/debbie-hampton/how-your-thoughts-change-your-brain-cells-and-genes_b_9516176.html

"Research has also proven the numerous benefits of meditation for your brain and shown that meditation produces measurable results, from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions.

A thought is an electrochemical event taking place in your nerve cells producing a cascade of physiological changes. The article “How Your Thoughts Program Your Cells” explains it this way:

There are thousands upon thousands of receptors on each cell in our body. Each receptor is specific to one peptide, or protein. When we have feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, excitement, happiness or nervousness, each separate emotion releases its own flurry of neuropeptides. Those peptides surge through the body and connect with those receptors which change the structure of each cell as a whole. Where this gets interesting is when the cells actually divide. If a cell has been exposed to a certain peptide more than others, the new cell that is produced through its division will have more of the receptor that matches with that specific peptide. Likewise, the cell will also have less receptors for peptides that its mother/sister cell was not exposed to as often.
So, if you have been bombarding your cells with peptides from negative thoughts, you are literally programming your cells to receive more of the same negative peptides in the future. What’s even worse is that you’re lessening the number of receptors of positive peptides on the cells, making yourself more inclined towards negativity.

Every cell in your body is replaced about every two months. So, the good news is, you can reprogram your pessimistic cells to be more optimistic by adopting positive thinking practices, like mindfulness and gratitude, for permanent results."


« Last Edit: June 07, 2017, 02:24:51 PM by o2bfree »

nara

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2017, 08:31:53 PM »
I had work anxiety after having been fired from my first "real" job after graduating college. It was unexpected and without warning and it made me realize that employers can do whatever they want. I always worried constantly about my job performance after that... always anxious that I wasn't doing a good enough job and that my employer was going to fire me at any moment.  I was fired from another job a few years later when the supervisor who had hired me was replaced with a very inept supervisor. I made a mistake of disapproving of something she had done and she really disliked me after that and fired me soon after. I have never been a good kiss asser type like most people. But it turned out to be a life changing moment for me because I realized that I do not want a "boss" who is capable of having that much power over me. I collected unemployment and went on food stamps while starting up my own business. I ended up not going back to work for another company and have been happily and successfully self employed for the past 5 years. Now my "bosses" are my clients--and if one of them decides to fire me, it isn't that big of a deal. The work anxiety is gone... at least the part of it that caused me the most anxiety. Work anxiety may just be social anxiety--but for me everything changed for the better when I discovered that I could be self-employed successfully. As an entrepreneur the sky is the limit on my income potential whereas as a worker bee all I could hope for was a small annual pay increase [/i]]if my boss felt me worthy. I can't imagine ever going back and hopefully I can reach FI and have plenty of FU money so that I never have to!

Wow, that is great! Would you mind sharing what sort of business you're in? Being self employed intrigues me, but I've always wondered if I'd have the discipline to actually run a business.

Yes. It's actually a professional business (autism therapy). It employs my husband (a former teacher) and 2 full-time employees. I had previously done the same type of work for companies that burned me out. After deciding to go out on my own, I worked as an independent contractor for several years until I was able to build up enough of my own clientele to be on my own. It's still a work in progress and I don't know what the future holds--but so far so good!

MVal

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2017, 09:22:57 AM »
I had work anxiety after having been fired from my first "real" job after graduating college. It was unexpected and without warning and it made me realize that employers can do whatever they want. I always worried constantly about my job performance after that... always anxious that I wasn't doing a good enough job and that my employer was going to fire me at any moment.  I was fired from another job a few years later when the supervisor who had hired me was replaced with a very inept supervisor. I made a mistake of disapproving of something she had done and she really disliked me after that and fired me soon after. I have never been a good kiss asser type like most people. But it turned out to be a life changing moment for me because I realized that I do not want a "boss" who is capable of having that much power over me. I collected unemployment and went on food stamps while starting up my own business. I ended up not going back to work for another company and have been happily and successfully self employed for the past 5 years. Now my "bosses" are my clients--and if one of them decides to fire me, it isn't that big of a deal. The work anxiety is gone... at least the part of it that caused me the most anxiety. Work anxiety may just be social anxiety--but for me everything changed for the better when I discovered that I could be self-employed successfully. As an entrepreneur the sky is the limit on my income potential whereas as a worker bee all I could hope for was a small annual pay increase [/i]]if my boss felt me worthy. I can't imagine ever going back and hopefully I can reach FI and have plenty of FU money so that I never have to!

Wow, that is great! Would you mind sharing what sort of business you're in? Being self employed intrigues me, but I've always wondered if I'd have the discipline to actually run a business.

Yes. It's actually a professional business (autism therapy). It employs my husband (a former teacher) and 2 full-time employees. I had previously done the same type of work for companies that burned me out. After deciding to go out on my own, I worked as an independent contractor for several years until I was able to build up enough of my own clientele to be on my own. It's still a work in progress and I don't know what the future holds--but so far so good!

Wow, that is so great! Sounds like work you can really be passionate about. I have a couple of friends on the spectrum and I sometimes wonder if I am on it myself since I've struggled all my life with ADHD. I would love to someday be involved in some type of therapy--the idea of helping people one on one feels so rewarding.

retired?

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2017, 09:53:11 AM »
Work Anxiety is no joke. Went through a bad spell last year. See my post  [url]https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/job-stress-mental-health-a[url]  I came back to work last November and what has helped me besides "lexapro" which I will be weaning off shortly is meditation and Stoicism.  Take a look at the daily stoic to get a daily quote to ponder.  It's mostly control what you can control and get a perspective on things by looking outside in.  We all have our demons: addictions, Anxiety.  They never go away we just learned to tame them.

Daily Stoic is very nice to receive each morning.  Short email with a good reminder on how to think and react during your upcoming day.

I'm reading more and more on stoicism.  It's great stuff.  One mistaken belief I had about it was that stoics are apathetic.  Not true - do what you can under your control and be apathetic about those things you cannot impact.  Agrees with one person suggesting to not argue or try to convince a 'tough' boss about anything.  Be unbiased and just do your job whatever that may be.  Knowing you are doing what is asked and ignoring the noise should let you feel good about it and may reduce some anxiety.  If you get fired for doing your job, well.......that's a place you don't want to work and it should be rare.

Wise Virgin

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #32 on: June 10, 2017, 02:57:07 PM »
Hello

I've been doing low paid jobs for a number of years now, mainly due to the reduced anxiety and stress levels that come with them.

I was just wondering if anyone else has had anxiety issues around work and has managed to overcome them successful and any tips/strategies.

I think fears that come up for me when I think of work are:

- bullying / shouting from bosses (have had a lot of bad experiences with bosses in the past)
- the sense of powerlessness and feeling trapped, lack of holidays, being tied to desk all day
- the fear of not being good enough, not being able to complete task or making mistakes

I've had better paid jobs in between, but I find I often leave at some point due to stress and feeling unable to cope. I've started doing more exercise and have ordered the book 'Feeling Good - The New Mood Therapy' as it was recommended on another post on here on anxiety (few years ago).  I've also found a yoga you tube video for anxiety which looks good. 

In the past I've been on medication which has helped with holding down jobs, but I'm reluctant to return to that as I feel it just treats the symptoms and not the cause.

Any advice, experience would be much appreciated, thanks in advance
Vicky
Work anxiety, yes, always. The three fears you mention (yelling bosses; unable to leave or take needed and earned rest; fear of not doing the job perfectly enough) are mine too.

Anxiety made me a super-dependable employee who always put my own needs last. Others could slack, but not I. This was noticed and the bosses got the idea they could let several people go and give their work to me along with my own. This happened to me often in my career. I would bitterly complain but they knew in the end I would buckle down and get it done at any cost to myself.

I was made very sick eventually with panic attacks and intestinal issues, but of course I still grimly worked.

What changed and allowed me to take a stand for myself was that I found something I was not willing to compromise on under any circumstances - and when the boss demanded it, I said NO.

That thing for me was not working on Sunday. They did NOT like it when I said, "I will work 12 hours a day, six days a week. I will come in at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning and work. I will stay until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday. But I will no longer work Sundays, that is the Lord's day and I am done."

Yes I did come in at 12:01 a.m. Monday mornings. They never stopped trying to break me down or guilt me. I came to realize that if there were an 8th day of the week, they would have wanted that too. This is an office job we are talking about, not nursing or police!

I don't know what your "thing" is that will make you say No - maybe it is being there for your child's baseball game, or something necessary to wellness like your yoga class. It will be individual to you. But when you find it, and stand on it, you may be shaking with dread, but that thing will become your firm place. You will have set limits to their permission to hurt you.

Don't expect them to give up easily. They are used to squeezing you like a sponge and will keep trying. Stand on your firm place and never waver.

Macintosh

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2017, 06:35:28 AM »
I want to encourage you to continue to pursue exercise as a powerful tool to deal with anxiety, stress, and depression. I use and I recommend Daily Burn 365 because it is only 30 minutes, develops many skills, and includes enough heart pounding cardio to release the necessary endorphins. I don't think walking alone or yoga alone is sufficient. I don't think meditation is sufficient. Helpful, but not sufficient. You need to get good and sweaty every day for at least 30 minutes. And you must get out of breath and dripping with sweat to achieve the mental boost!! Stress and anxiety become a physical problem and you need to deal with it physically. Try it every day (early in your day, morning is great) for three months and I know your anxiety will lessen and your confidence will increase.  It takes time to re-set your brain and intense exercise can do it. I also like Daily Burn because the coaches are very positive and supportive. It has transformed my life (I am naturally sooo anxious). Please try it! It takes discipline but regular exercise really is a magic bullet.
Best wishes.

o2bfree

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2017, 08:33:34 AM »
I want to encourage you to continue to pursue exercise as a powerful tool to deal with anxiety, stress, and depression. I use and I recommend Daily Burn 365 because it is only 30 minutes, develops many skills, and includes enough heart pounding cardio to release the necessary endorphins. I don't think walking alone or yoga alone is sufficient. I don't think meditation is sufficient. Helpful, but not sufficient.

One thing about meditation is that most people don't do it long enough or intently enough to get into samadhi. Exercise is indeed a good treatment for anxiety and depression, but samadhi and what lies beyond it are many levels above the mental states attained through exercise.

Macintosh

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #35 on: June 11, 2017, 09:38:37 AM »
since I don't think anyone has mentioned it - furry animals that sit on your lap and purr or run to greet with you happy jumps really do help with life stress :)

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2017, 01:53:12 AM »
Thank you for all your interesting posts....

I have to say now that the weather has improved I'm finding exercise is really good for anxiety and feeling better about myself.  I've discovered a great route to work that is mostly traffic free and I'm trying to increase the number of days I cycle into work (good for car and wallet too!).  It's 12 miles each way, so managing a couple of days at the moment slowly increasing mileage.  The route is mostly off road and through some beautiful countryside which I find is a great tonic, being in nature.   Want to try and maintain it in the winter and may look into an electric bike at some point so I can cycle every day the long distance.

Signed up for daily stoic...have heard small bits about Stoicism through Tim Ferris podcast and does sound very interesting.

Meditation - I used to do the head space app and found it very good, but I only seem to last about a month, the habit then seems to slip...especially when I'm more busy or stressed, I find making time for it difficult, not something I feel like doing.

I've started doing some yoga and I find that relaxing, especially some of poses.

Also learning new skills (for fixing push bike) helps with confidence....

So feeling a lot better right now, probably also helps that work is very quiet at the mo and weather is nice. Good point about getting skills to make yourself more valuable and valued...going to look for better paid jobs

Thank you all

mlejw6

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Re: Work Anxiety
« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2017, 05:52:00 AM »
I definitely know where you're coming from. I graduated college and did not get a job and actually waited tables with a bachelor's degree (and it wasn't Philosophy or History, it was engineering!). I found out years later I suffer from social anxiety. I was terrible at interviews and I knew I didn't want a desk job, so I got the jobs that were easy to get. But, even then, I always felt like an imposter, like someday the boss would come to me and ask me into his office and fire me. But, they weren't doing that. They actually really liked me for the most part, but I wouldn't listen to any of the praise, only the criticism that I (mostly) imagined.

I went from job to job until I found one that was bearable. I agree with the person who said the low paying jobs treat you like crap because they can. The only jobs I've been treated like crap have been the jobs that were easy to get and didn't require a college degree. The higher up you climb the career ladder, the more respect you will get and the better you will be treated.

Ever since I found my bearable job, I've been able to stay in a similar industry, moving up and sideways and up and sideways a bit more, and up to a master's degree and now I'm here. I wouldn't say it's my favorite job, but it's the first actual engineering position I've had, which makes me feel so good. And in the back of my mind, I still have that fear that people are talking behind my back about how terrible I am, but I don't listen. And, I make sure to hear the people that are praising my work and know deep down that I will not be fired for not doing a good job.

For me, the best thing has been meditation. It is hard, and I don't do it as regularly as I should. But, keep at it and you will see a difference. I find I'm less cranky, have more energy, and am able to socialize easier when I've been meditating. BTW, I learned to meditate in yoga. If you have a good yoga instructor, they will incorporate it into class. Good luck!