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Monday, 6 October 2008

Getting Back to Work - Coping with Anxiety

Ian, who works for a mental health charity and is currently involved in a project helping people who have experienced mental health difficulties to get back into employment or onto training courses, has emailed me a question for my life coaching blog asking for any suggested strategies to help individuals who are in this situation to cope with anxieties or negative feelings as they approach an interview or training course or a first day back at work.

I guess my first suggestion would be to try to encourage people who are nervous or anxious about the step they are taking to try to adopt a mental attitude of ‘trying things out’, i.e. not to put pressure on themselves to be perfect or 100% successful but to think of the situations they are going into as chances to try out and see what they can do, with the view that if they do succeed then that’s great but that if they don’t manage perfectly then to see if there is anything they can learn from what has happened with a view to trying to improve next time.

In some cases it may also be helpful for people in this situation to keep a record at the end of each interview or course or day at work, listing what they think they have achieved in the day and those things that they feel they need to work on more before they can do them as well as they would like. If you yourself are in this situation and tend to focus on the things you can’t yet do, then be sure to highlight some achievements too even if they only seem small – getting through the day may in itself be a significant achievement.

For those involved in supporting people in this kind of situation, you can help to encourage them to recognise the achievements they have made and work with them to help think how about how they might do things differently next time, or fill learning or skills gaps, in respect of those areas where some further development is needed.

Blog Item Written by Life Coach David

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