Posts Tagged :

anxiety

Stay Active

How Staying Active Can Benefit Your Work

1024 576 Rachel Le Feuvre, Reset Button

Running

Finding the time to keep fit while doing a busy, sedentary job is something that many find tricky, if not impossible, to do. However, exercise is easier to build into your routine than you may think.

It is all about getting into the habit of doing something every day whether walking/cycling to and from work, jogging or going for a brisk walk around the block during your lunch break, skipping, walking up stairs instead of taking the lift, playing a game of tennis after work ……… it doesn’t matter what you do but try and do something!

Exercise has many proven benefits. Here are ten particularly relevant to the workplace:

1. Improved memory & concentration levels – numerous studies have found that regular exercise helps improve both memory and concentration.

2. Better Sleep Quality – exercise has been proven to help you go to sleep faster, sleep better and wake up feeling properly refreshed.

3. Improved Self-Esteem – helps improve our sense of well-being, personal value and self-esteem.

4. Boost in Energy – regular exercise will help increase your energy level – very helpful when it comes juggling between work, home and everything else a busy life throws at us! Experts have found that low intensity exercise (for example a leisurely walk) will result in a drop in fatigue as well as increasing energy levels by 20%.

5. Stress Reduction – exercising helps to dissipate hormones and other chemicals that build up during stressful periods.

6. Prevention of Cognitive Decline – regular exercise, especially between the age of 25 to 45, helps boost the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus (memory and learning).

7. Greater Brain Power – studies have shown that cardiovasculor exercise can create new brain cells and improve the overall performance of the brain. A tough workout will increase levels of BDNF (a brain derived protein) believed to help with decision making, higher thinking and learning.

exercise

8. Decrease Anxiety & Depression – it is well known that exercise releases endorphins that create feelings of happiness. In fact, in many cases exercise can be as effective at dealing with depression as anti-depressant pills. And, for anyone prone to anxiety it will help them to calm down.

9. Increase in Creativity – a good workout will boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards!

10. Less Long Term Health Issues & Diseases – exercise has been proven to lessen the chances of having long term health issues and diseases. In fact, studies have found it will even help to lengthen your life by as much as 4 years when you do five hours of exercise per week.

Hopefully these ten benefits will encourage you to keep active and enjoy a productive, happy and long life. If you would like more information, advice or help in putting together an exercise plan please get in contact with the fitness experts at The Reset Button via www.theresetbutton.co.uk

Why not try our Mindfulness Mini-Course : ‘Calm Your Mind’ available FREE on itunes: Calm Your Mind

AnxietyTest

The Evolution of Anxiety

800 448 Susan Carr

Anxiety

Life can be stressful (particularly when working in the legal sector) and from time to time we may all feel worried, nervous or tense but when these feelings become prolonged then you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an umbrella term which can cover a number of different conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic, phobia and post traumatic stress disorder. Some of the common symptoms of anxiety are listed below:

Feelings
• Feeling on edge, nervous or panicky
• Feeling irritable or impatient
• Feeling restless and agitated
• Having a heightened sense of awareness
• Feeling like you want to run away
• Feeling apprehensive

My anxiety

Thoughts
• Difficulty concentrating
• Thinking “what if”
• Imagining the worst case scenario
• Having racing thoughts
• Worrying that people are looking at you

Behaviour
• Increased use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs
• Avoidance
• Difficulty relaxing

Physical symptoms
• Increased heart rate
• Perspiration
• “Butterflies” in the stomach
• Needing the toilet more often
• Shortness of breath
• Tremors and twitches
• Muscle tension
• Headaches
• Hot flushes
• Dry mouth
• Tight chest
• Fatigue
• Insomnia

What causes anxiety?
Anxiety stems from the “fight or flight” reaction, which was necessary for the protection of humans in the prehistoric era, by creating automatic responses in the body, such as an increased heart rate and oxygen levels. Fortunately now, most of us will not be placed in danger on a regular basis however our bodies can respond to everyday stress in the same way that they did when a caveman (or woman!) was confronted by a sabre-toothed tiger and this is what causes the physical symptoms of anxiety.

Sometimes there can be an identifiable trigger for anxiety such as moving house, taking exams, going for an interview or experiencing a trauma, however it is not always possible to know what has caused anxious feelings which may have built up over time.

Ways to deal with anxiety
Negative thinking patterns can lead to anxiety such as worrying “what if” or always thinking about the worst case scenario, so challenging these thoughts can help to reduce anxiety. Some helpful questions to challenge negative thoughts are:

Is there any evidence that contradicts the thought?
What would I say to a friend who had this thought?
What are the pros and cons or costs or benefits?
Are there alternative ways of looking at the situation?

Another common feature of anxiety is the tendency to avoid anxiety-provoking situations and whilst this performs a protective function in the short-term it actually increases the anxiety in the long-term. One way to help with this is to gradually expose yourself to the situation that you are avoiding in a series of steps from the easiest to the hardest. For example, if you are avoiding going to the supermarket, the first step may be to go to your local corner shop to buy one item and step ten may be to go to the supermarket to buy ten items with a range of steps in between.

Relaxation, healthy eating and exercise can all help with anxiety as does reducing caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. However, if these self-help strategies do not help then you may need additional support, whether in the form of medication or talking therapies such as counselling or CBT.

If you or someone you know is affected by anxiety or you have any questions about anxiety then please contact me.

 

performance

The Catastrophe Theory And How It Affects Our Performance

1024 683 iPerform

catasrophe

It is a long held theory in the sporting world that that stress and anxiety generally lead to poor performance: and that such stress can occur at the most important moments to adversely affect the performer’s abilities.

In a study conducted at Coventry and Staffordshire universities, the “Catastrophe Theory” was put to the test to see if it really is something that affects performance.

In the research, 18 healthy and physically active young adults were given two completely identical physical tests – the only difference was that one set of tests were simply a practice while the other set of tests were based within a competitive environment.

The results from the study couldn’t be more clear as it was discovered that not only were the participants’ mental anxiety levels heightened during the competitive tests, it was also the case that their CAT (Coincidence Anticipation Timing) was far worse then when performing in the practice tests. In fact, their loss of CAT became more extreme the more physically demanding and competitive the tests became, while at the same time there was no such drop in CAT during the same tests in practice.

These findings not only suggest that stress and anxiety play a role in performance in intense situations but that they are a decisive factor. Dr Michael Duncan, lead author of the study explains:

“Anxiety in a competitive situation, whether sporting or otherwise, is something everyone can relate to. We’re all familiar with what we call ‘somatic’ anxiety, for example butterflies in the tummy which is the body’s response to tension, but this study is chiefly concerned with the effects of cognitive anxieties such as worry or fear of failure. Our research indicates that heightened cognitive anxiety, brought on by the competitive scenario, really does affect performance abilities in physically active people.”

The study is even more conclusive than previous studies as cognitive responses in performance were analysed as they happened rather than after the event. These findings show how stress and anxiety can impact heavily on performance during important moments, something which isn’t restricted to the sporting environment but also occurs in business too. To discover more about how to develop performance improvement at key moments, you can try out the 2 week free trial of the iPerform performance improvement programme here.

 

multitasking

Performance Is Directly Impacted By Your Anxiety At Work, Study Finds

1024 681 iPerform

anxiety

A research team at the University of Toronto have found the exhaustion that can occur due to workplace anxiety can directly lead to poor performance at work. The study, led by John Trougakos, Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour and HR Management at the University, looked at the impact of workplace anxiety among officers in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The RCMP, Canada’s National Police Force, was the perfect candidate for the study as they work constantly in a high stress environment. They have to confront death, violence, murder while they are also under the constant scrutiny from the general public. The pressure to perform while also trying to protect the public at large, means workplace anxiety is very high.

So what happens in a work environment where anxiety levels are at their highest? Every human being can only cope with so much in their jobs. The resources we possess to cope with highly stressful situations is finite. Co-author of the study Professor Julie McCarthy explains further:

“If these resources are depleted then high levels of workplace anxiety will lead to emotional exhaustion and this will ultimately affect job performance.”

The emotional exhaustion among the 267 RCMP officers that were surveyed in the study directly led to a drop in performance levels. Furthermore, it was discovered that the better the relationship the officer had with their colleagues and supervisors, the more able they were to reduce stress. Anxiety therefore had a lower impact on the less stressed officer in performing their job.

It is important to emphasise then that those co-workers and supervisors who can provide better emotional support and show more empathy, will help to reduce anxiety within the workplace. Stronger relationships, built on good interpersonal skills leads to a more positive environment, reducing emotional exhaustion and boosting performance.

So how do you foster better relationships with your colleagues? Strong relationships are based on good levels of trust and understanding where everyone’s needs are met. People have to build resilience, and construct strong social networks to support each other, otherwise anxiety can damage performance levels throughout your team.

iPerform is your One Stop Resource for the strategies, skills and tools you need to feel and perform at your best. It’s the ultimate programme for High Performance and performance support tool that you have 24/7! Get access to over 170 videos, articles, worksheets, tools and extensive reading resources whenever and wherever you need.