Tag Archive for: mentalhealth

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In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environment, anxiety has become an all-too-common quiet companion for many working adults. However, what often goes unnoticed are the subtle, hidden anxiety behaviours that can silently wreak havoc on our mental well-being and job performance. In this article, we’ll delve into how anxiety behaviours manifest in the workplace, their impact on our lives, and most importantly, how to overcome them to lead a more balanced and fulfilling professional life.

The Veiled Anxiety Behaviours

Anxiety behaviours may not always be as overt as nail-biting or nervous fidgeting. Instead, they often masquerade as seemingly innocuous habits or traits. Some common hidden anxiety behaviours include perfectionism, people-pleasing, overworking, avoidance of conflict, and constant self-doubt. These behaviours may be mistaken for dedication, teamwork, or even a strong work ethic, but beneath the surface, anxiety is the driving force.

Anxiety behaviours may be mistaken for dedication, teamwork, or even a strong work ethic, but beneath the surface, anxiety is the driving force.

Manifestations of Anxiety Behaviours in the Workplace

  1. Perfectionism: While striving for excellence is admirable, perfectionism takes it to an extreme level, setting unrealistic expectations and causing excessive stress when things don’t go exactly as planned.
  2. People-Pleasing: Constantly seeking approval and avoiding any form of disapproval can lead to burnout and a lack of authenticity in one’s interactions with colleagues.
  3. Overworking: Pouring in excessive hours and neglecting personal life might be seen as commitment, but it often results in decreased productivity and diminished creativity.
  4. Avoidance of Conflict: Fear of confrontation can lead to suppressed emotions and unresolved issues, negatively impacting teamwork and hindering professional growth.
  5. Constant Self-Doubt: Chronic self-doubt undermines confidence, stifles decision-making, and prevents individuals from taking necessary risks.

Overcoming Hidden Anxiety Behaviours

  1. Recognize the Patterns: Self-awareness is the first step. Pay attention to your thoughts, emotions, and reactions to situations. Identify the patterns of behaviour that might be driven by anxiety.
  2. Challenge Negative Thoughts: Challenge those negative thoughts that fuel anxiety behaviours. Replace them with more balanced and realistic perspectives.
  3. Set Realistic Goals: Embrace the idea that perfection is unattainable. Set achievable goals, acknowledge your efforts, and celebrate progress.
  4. Establish Boundaries: Learn to say no when necessary and prioritize self-care. Set boundaries to protect your well-being and personal time.
  5. Seek Support: Talk to a trusted colleague, friend, or professional counselor. Having a support system can make a significant difference in managing anxiety.

The Perils of Untreated Anxiety Over the Long Run

Ignoring hidden anxiety behaviours can have severe consequences:

  1. Physical Health: Chronic anxiety can lead to various health issues like insomnia, digestive problems, and weakened immunity.
  2. Mental Health: Prolonged anxiety may develop into more serious mental health conditions, such as generalized anxiety disorder or depression.
  3. Work Performance: Unaddressed anxiety can hinder job performance, creativity, and decision-making abilities.
  4. Interpersonal Relationships: Anxiety behaviors may strain relationships with colleagues, friends, and family members.

Creating a Workplace Culture that Supports Mental Health

Employers wield considerable influence in cultivating a nurturing work ecosystem:

  1. Open Communication: Foster a safe space for mental health discussions, free from judgment.
  2. Flexible Work Policies: Extend flexibility to bolster work-life equilibrium and alleviate stress.
  3. Training and Education: Illuminate the impact of mental health through workshops and training sessions.
  4. Resource Accessibility: Provide unhindered access to mental health resources like counseling or Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).

Hidden anxiety behaviours can quietly undermine our well-being and job satisfaction. By identifying and addressing these patterns, we can take control of our mental health, leading to a more productive and fulfilling work life. Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Together, we can create a workplace culture that prioritizes mental health, helping each other thrive both professionally and personally.


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Back in 1978, Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes, both renowned American psychologists first described impostor syndrome as an “internal experience of intellectual phoniness”.

What does that mean and what exactly is impostor syndrome? Impostor syndrome, also known as perceived fraudulence which involves feelings of self-deprecation, self-doubt and personal incompetence that persists despite achieving stellar results in terms of education, work experience and life accomplishments.

In other words, people suffering from impostor syndrome will constantly doubt their intelligence and capabilities despite evidence of high achievements thus having this irrational fear that they may come off as a fraud, undeserving of their positions in life although they have earned it through hard work and competence.

Studies have shown that impostor syndrome is extremely common among Asian adolescents to young adults and this is mainly due to their upbringing and culture.

Impostor syndrome is often comorbid with anxiety and depression and it is associated with impaired job satisfaction, performance and burnout in employees. The only way to stop feeling like an imposter is to stop thinking like an imposter. It is indeed a psychological condition, as the experts put it, “Mind over matter represents the triumph of will over physical hindrance. Our thoughts are our weapon against the world”.

Researchers have found that impostor syndrome are associated with psychological distress through interpersonal shame, for instance, shame arising from worries that a person will be evaluated negatively and thus bring dishonor and disrespect to the family due to their own incompetency and inadequacy.

Young Asians who have impostor syndrome often feel anxious and worried about not being able to maintain their success. They are pressured by their parents, relatives, teachers, peers and the society, having an immense urge to live up to unrealistically high level of expectations and standards, upholding their reputation in fear that others will discover their unworthiness and incompetence if they reveal minor weaknesses.

In addition, those with impostor syndrome are reluctant to attribute their success to their own personal ability and they also find it difficult to internalize their achievements due to the irrational fear of not being able to replicate their success. They are most likely to attribute their success due to external factors such as luck or error.

Impostor syndrome is often associated with individuals who exercise perfectionism. Perfectionists have the tendency to strive toward personal improvement and set extremely high standards for themselves. If they have accomplished 95% of their objectives, they will still feel like something is lacking and any minor mistakes will make them question their own capability. Perfectionistic issues are predominantly associated with rumination.

Furthermore, impostor syndrome can also be seen in individuals who have deep-rooted hunger in knowing every piece of information, researching materials and concepts prior to the start of a project, constantly on the lookout for new trainings and certifications to hone their skills. They cannot bring themselves to apply for a position if they do not meet all of the criteria in the job description, they are also hesitant to raise their hands to ask questions in class or speak up in a meeting because they are afraid of judgments and the fear of looking unintelligent.

One must take action before impostor syndrome goes out of hand and there is an urgency to snap out of it before more individuals experience this unwanted phenomenon.

One of the first steps to combating impostor syndrome is to acknowledge these negative thoughts and put them into perspective. Rather than engaging that thought, one can just observe it and not let it affect their psychological state. Position yourself in a comfortable situation, take a few deep breaths, and encourage yourself to ask this question, “Would this thought actually help me or hamper me emotionally and psychologically?”

Secondly, understand that perfectionism only feeds into an individual’s impostor syndrome, for instance, achieving great results might seem like a great accomplishment for many others but an individual suffering from impostor syndrome may feel like they are a fraud, it is solely because they are making comparisons to an unrealistic perfect outcome. Nobody in this world can do everything perfectly, but constantly holding an extremely high standard can be counterproductive.

Another step that can be taken would be to develop a healthy response in making mistake and facing failures. Henry Ford once stated that “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Instead of beating ourselves up for making mistakes or falling short, take it as a valuable lesson, learn from it and move on from the loss.

In the Asian culture, respect and love is predicated on an individual’s achievement, education and performance. Unconditional love seems like a foreign concept in a traditional Asian family. For many generations, one’s reputation is nestled in the Asian family name.

If an individual is from a renowned family within the society, they will be bestowed with respect and acceptance. However, if one were to tarnish the family’s reputation from conducting misdeeds, this legacy will be in jeopardy. Hence, living with such rigid beliefs and principles will ultimately lead to imposter syndrome.

Therefore, it is vital to remember that failure does not make an individual an impostor. No one is perfect in everything they do; people make mistakes, we fall and we get up. Do not let failures in life define and dictate your next move. Learn from these mistakes and move forward and that is how humanity can advance as a whole.




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Mental wellbeing is becoming a top priority for many employees. A survey conducted by the Conference Board found that 59% of employees named stress and burnout as their top concern for wellbeing in the workplace. Employees are not enticed to work in an organization where mental health is not prioritized as they do not want to sacrifice their mental wellbeing in exchange for the financial goals of an organization.

Even at an endemic stage, there is an immense sense of anxiety in individuals that are stemmed from the prolonged uncertainties before, further inducing workplace stress which can lead to burnout, regardless of going to the office to work or working in hybrid mode.

How we cope with emotions and stress can truly affect our well-being, our community, our performance in the workplace, and with the people that we care about. It is crucial that we recognize what stress looks like, what are the steps that we should take to manage workplace stress and our emotions, and when to go to a professional to seek help if required.

Poor mental health can negatively affect an individual, which can lead to unnecessary stress, thus aggravating symptoms of anxiety and depression. An employee suffering from poor mental health will see a decline in job performance and productivity, a lack of engagement and communication with their co-workers, and a decrease in physical capability and daily functioning.

Furthermore, studies have shown that anxiety and depression are associated with higher rates of unemployment. Depression interferes with a person’s ability to complete physical jobs and reduces cognitive performance, only 57% of employees report moderate depression, and 40% of those with severe anxiety and depression actually receive professional treatment to control their symptoms.

How do we know if we are suffering from anxiety and depression? Here are some known common symptoms:

  • Getting tired easily and feeling fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating on daily tasks
  • Easily irritated by the smallest gesture
  • Difficulty in falling or staying asleep, feeling restless
  • Constant, irrational fear and worrying
  • Rapid heartbeats, hot flashes, sweaty palms
  • Changes in diet (eating too much or too little)
  • Persistent feelings of sadness or worthlessness
  • Inability to relax
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and general activities

What can an employer do if they encounter an employee that requires mental support in the workplace? Employers can promote awareness about the significance of mental health and stress management. Health programs in the workplace have proven to be successful, especially if one merges mental and physical health interventions together.

For instance, an employer can always be vulnerable with their team members by being open and honest about their mental health struggles. When a leader creates a platform that is safe for employees to confide in them, employees will feel comfortable to bring up mental health challenges of their own. The universality of this experience will translate into a massive decline, if people, especially those in power, share their experiences by normalizing mental health stigma within the society.

Furthermore, an employer can also model healthy behaviors in the workplace. When a leader preaches about supporting mental health, their actions should follow suit. Employers have an obligation to do so, so that their employees can prioritize self-care and boundaries.

Generally, employers are too focused on their teams’ well-being that they forget to take good care of themselves. A simple sharing about them taking a break when needed, or turning off email notifications, or prioritizing a weekend getaway will encourage employees to do the same so that burnout can be avoided.

There is only so much an employer can do to support an employee’s mental health, and the rest are within the employee’s own grasp to get better from their current circumstances. Here are some highly effective methods to combat stress, anxiety, and depression in the long run.

  • Adopting cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT is a treatment approach that has been proven to help individuals recognize negative or unhelpful thought and behavior patterns with the use of psychotherapy by a certified health professional. CBT helps to identify and explore the ways of an individual’s emotions and thoughts that are affecting their actions. Once the patterns have been identified, they can learn to reframe their thoughts in a positive manner.

  • Exercising

Getting enough exercise in our daily routine can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression through the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and endorphins, these chemicals help to enhance an individual’s wellbeing. It also assists in alleviating worries, fears and negative thoughts.

  • Utilizing relaxation techniques

Mindfulness meditation is a method to slow down an individual’s racing mind and palpitating heart by letting go of negative thoughts. It aims to re-shift an individual’s  mind to focus on the present state. This exercise usually requires an individual to sit in an upright position in a quiet room and focus on their breathing – it has been proven to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression therefore improving the quality of life

  • Consult a psychiatrist to prescribe medication

If an individual is suffering from severe anxiety and depression and the above methods might not work for now, it is best that they seek help from a mental health practitioner and if necessary, have antidepressants prescribed to help reduce worsening symptoms.

In a nutshell, even though mental health issues are quite widely known around the globe, there are still rampant misconceptions about mental health within the community. Concerns are rising as there is a prolonged delay towards individuals who are seeking help or are currently receiving treatment, this is due to various kinds of mental health stigmas such as misconceptions or little acceptance in the society, social and cultural beliefs. Hence, overcoming stigma might be a challenge as there needs to be a constant effort in increasing public confidence to seek mental health support when needed.