Communication and Anxiety

Some Thoughts About Communication and Anxiety

By Dr. Jody Hagen, Clinical Psychologist

  • When feeling nervous in a situation that “feels” like a confrontation, try to remember that feedback and constructive criticism are normal processes in employment. Try to focus on truly listening and “find the truth” in whatever is being said. If you notice that you are becoming stressed internally and are being asked for a response, don’t be afraid to just politely ask to be excused for a moment and then go to the ladies room, or where-ever to “regroup”.
  • Try to be mindful of boundaries with regard to work versus personal. While you may develop some friendships at the workplace, essentially, we don’t look to our places of employment to meet our social needs, as this can lead to problems.
  • See if you can find the book: “Difficult Conversations” written by Douglas Stone on audio
  • Reframe the meaning of “counseling statement” from something horrible to a mechanism for feedback and an opportunity to make a correction and move forward. Hopefully avoiding the same pitfall again.
  • Be mindful of your thoughts. Just because you think something, does not make it true. Hopefully, this can help slow down the process of any reaction based upon “internal” triggers versus the reality of what is happening in the present moment, externally.
  • Also, be mindful of “preaching” or offering unsolicited spiritual correction, as this tends to be more accepted between 2 people who have agreed to be accountability partners, etc. or who have an ongoing, reciprocal relationship with one another…… not between a supervisor and his/her subordinate. (our bosses don’t usually take well to this)….
  • Don’t ever be afraid to just say, “you know, that’s a great question. I’m going to need to get back with you on that.” You can respond in this way to almost anything (within reason) when you are afraid you might say something you don’t really need, are feeling anxious, etc. There are very few situations where we absolutely HAVE to give an immediate response…. Thus, buy yourself some time and delay the response so you have time to really think about it, seek counsel, or whatever you may need to do to ensure that you aren’t responding impulsively, in anger, in defensiveness, etc.
  • Guilt and condemnation are not from God. Yes, He will convict us of sin, and He always provides a way out by pointing us toward the grace of Jesus. So, when you are feeling a sense of condemnation or guilt,,,,,, use the weapon of your faith, which is the Word of God, just like Jesus did when being tempted in the desert. Recognize that it is the enemy, or man, bringing this against you and do what James tells us, “Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee.”All of these ideas were from my own head based upon what I’ve learned/applied over the years.

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