On many occasions just trying to blog makes me anxious.
I am anxious that I won’t get the blog out in time, that it won’t be of sufficient interest and that I won’t have a sufficient number of blogs by the end of the month to fill my newsletter!
And when one is dealing with a largely silent (virtual) readership, it’s really tricky to gauge just exactly what impact you are having? Yet the social media gurus would have us believe that you need to keep pumping these posts out, else you’ll be ‘left behind’…which just causes more anxiety!
So last time ,I spoke of how a valued friend and I started a Parent Support Group at our local primary school some 4 years back, with the purpose of raising awareness around learning disorders and helping parents/educators better cope with them. The last talk I organised was the second we’d hosted on anxiety in as many years, and was entitled
“Making Warriors of our Worriers” (courtesy of Pam Tudin)
I appreciated Pam’s explanation to anxious children, which frankly serves me in explaining it to adults; “Anxiety is something that lots of people get but it feels different for everyone. Adults get it too.
It happens because there’s a part of your brain that thinks there’s something it needs to protect you from.
The part of the brain is called the amygdala. It’s not very big and it’s shaped like an almond.”
Truth is that age-old fight/flight reflex is showing up, but there’s no tiger chasing after us. Yet our ‘tigers’ look like bosses, public speaking, clients, parents or even teachers.
Our brain is tricking us into believing that the same response is necessary
and hence my sweaty-palmed delegates on presentation skills courses or my light-headedness when I’m about to go onto a dance competition floor.
“It switches on when it thinks you’re in danger, so really it’s like your own fierce warrior, there to protect you. Its job is to get you ready to run away from the danger or fight it.”
So where is it showing up in 2018? Tudin speaks of social media heightening the anxiety in our teens, since the FOMO of not being part of a group or included at a party is on show for all to see 24/7. I think that is prevalent in adults too; with the biggest facebook users being women in their 40s. It’s the common need for connection that ironically is sabotaged by social media itself, fuelled by the dopamine hit of every ‘like’ we might receive.
And two of the prime defence mechanisms for anxiety are procrastination and perfectionism.
I see these two showing up in most of my coaching clients and certainly in my own life. For if I don’t do something, at least I am spared the fear of failure. And if I control something 100%, then there is really very little chance for failure to enter in, with the downside that delegation becomes almost impossible for these managers.
Next time we take a look at some of the potential strategies to deal with ‘anxietea’..