Starting a new job would be considered a milestone for most people. For me, living with an anxiety disorder has hindered me from enjoying the attainment of many milestones in the past. With the help of medication and therapy, my ability to cope with anxiety in a new environment has decreased exponentially. Through breathing, rationalizing, and accepting my situation I have become the master of my ship, and I intend to dock at any harbor without fear.
When anxiety hits you it’s a panic like no other. Many of us have experienced anxiety in some shape or form. The most important first step when dealing with a triggering situation is to make sure you’re breathing. It sounds silly to have to check that you’re still breathing, but it is necessary. Forgetting to breathe or hyperventilating aggravates symptoms of anxiety. Breathing normally determines your resting heart rate. If you’re taking short and shallow breaths or not taking enough breaths your heart begins to work harder to compensate for the deficiency. Reaching homeostasis in your breathing, taking deep breaths through your nose, holding them for a moment, and then exhaling through the mouth has always been my go-to method for calming myself in an anxious situation.
After you have gotten your breathing under control, rationalizing the anxiety inducing situation at hand is the next step. When I was hired to work as an intern in the marketing department of an IT company I was both elated and anxious. This would be the first time that I would be in a professional setting, in an office environment, and I knew that it would demand more from me than any other job I had held before. Naturally, the intimidation factor of becoming acquainted with my new team and meeting and exceeding their expectations weighed on me from the moment I heard I had landed the gig. I asked my father for advice, knowing that his experience in a professional setting would give me some perspective. He told me that I had to rationalize my fears. Being an intern is like being an apprentice. I’m here to learn all I can from those who have come before me. I am here to assist anyone and everyone I can to become the most efficient asset possible. I have rationalized that this internship is an opportunity to mold myself into an integral part of the team. That realization enabled me to dispel my fears in favor of a more positive mindset.
After checking your breathing and rationalizing the situation, the last thing that you must come to terms with is the acceptance of the situation at hand. Worrying about things that are ultimately out of your control is essentially wasted energy. In my case, fretting about how people would perceive me to the point of nausea was not in my best interest. Through the process of rationalization, I came to terms with my present. I was hired onto the marketing team as someone to aid in their endeavors but also as a source of new perspective. Accepting my role on the team was integral to overcoming the anxiety of beginning my work. I am an asset, an impressionable pupil who can bring his own experiences and talents to the table. Worrying about what might happen or picturing the worst-case scenario doesn’t help me or the team to grow. Through the acceptance of the situation at hand I have become more comfortable and capable of displaying what I am capable of.
Breathing, rationalization, and acceptance of the situation collectively helped me to overcome my anxiety around starting a new job in a totally new and professional environment. This opportunity to work in marketing is a milestone in my life. Fear and anxiety can be overcome. The motivation and ability to do so comes from within.