Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Understanding Fears & Anxieties

People often ask me what's the largest barrier that my clients and students face in overcoming barriers to professional growth. Instantaneously, I say fear - fear of pain stemming from rejection, or failure.

Ironically, while studying psychoneuroimmunology, I discovered that fear actually increases one's pain threshold. So the fear of not being able to find the right job, makes the pain of staying in the job you hate more tolerable; enabling you to put up with it longer...and longer. 

Anxiety is a type of fear that is characterized by uncertainty. Fear is characterized by a feeling of being in a situation of imminent danger. Anxiety actually decreases the pain threshhold once you begin to search for the right job (or simply another job that is not as wrong for you), as you are no longer fearful of losing your job, but become anxious about leaving it. Anxiety is a feeling that you may be approaching a threatening situation.

Evolutionary psychologists tell us that anxiety serves as an early warning to us that something is wrong. If you ever feel "anxious" about being in the presence of someone else (such as your boss), take heed and investigate those emotions. If you wake up feeling anxious about going to work, pay attention to those emotions as well. They are both cause for concern, and serve as an indicator that action needs to be taken to remedy it. If not, general anxiety disorder (GAD), which is explained below, may occur.

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