GUEST POST “Triggers in the Workplace” by Nikki Opara

Hi everyone! My name is Nikki Opara. I own a mental health/lifestyle blog called HerDaringThoughts. I am excited to be writing for you all today. I reached out to Cat Davis and we both decided to touch on the topic of some triggers that can come up, whether in the workplace or at school. When you are done reading here, head over to my blog to read Cat’s knowledge on the topic as well.

I am going to be opening up to you about the three triggers I have learned come up for me at work and how I discovered them and deal with them on a daily basis…

Staff Gossip: Speak Up. Listen To Your Mind And Body. I used to think that I did not care much about what people think of me. Boy was I wrong. When I found out one of my coworkers was gossiping about me I thought I could easily shake it off until I found out I couldn’t. When driving home I would ask myself a million questions.. “What did I do?” “I thought we were cool?” “Maybe it was because of this…” “Maybe it started when I said that”. I would be in class and remember I had to work with the same person and my stomach would go into a knot. It is okay if you are not someone that can just brush people’s words about you off easily.

  1. Take note about the hurtful thing that was said about you and really listen to your mind and body in how it is making you feel. By mouth you may be saying “It’s okay, I don’t care” but your mind and body are telling you something different and want you to address it. Maybe addressing it means going to your supervisor, or if the issue escalates just moving on with another job position because dealing with any type of gossip and/or bullying is never okay.

Staff Meetings: Always Feeling Judged. What Lies Are You Telling Yourself? I’m an extravert. I love being around people, EXCEPT in a office with 5 to 6 staff members during transition/meeting. I get intimidated, I start feeling judged and really want to shrink and hide in a hole. I cannot really explain why it is usually in that scene that I feel that way but it happens. I am very quiet during the meetings, I do not make eye contact with anyone and I do not speak unless spoken to. Which is abnormal for me, because in my workplace you have to be outspoken, outgoing with staff and the clients.

2. I think this fear where we think we are being judged which leads to intimidation comes from years and years of negative self talk. I am starting to be more aware of the things my mind naturally tells me before I come to a meeting. “I probably did something wrong” “Everyone is probably sick of me” etc… I realized that these thoughts are what make me dread leaving my car to go into work. There are times I have to stay in my car for a minute or two and reverse the negativity I speak to myself, by talking to myself in a rational manner. It is easier said than done; I am still in the process of learning this myself.

I Want To Be Everyone’s Hero: You Are Not Perfect. That’s Okay. I am usually that friend that knows the right words to say, but in my position as a mental health worker I have quickly learned that I do not have all the wisdom in the world and that is okay. A lot of my clients at work struggle with schizophrenia, or have a history with drugs, alcoholism, bipolar disorder etc. Since I have never experienced those things it is difficult for me to fully relate to them. I have noticed that this adds to my anxiety when coming to work.

3. This was going on for awhile, to the point that when my coworker and I would have an intervention with a client I would stay quiet while he did all the talking because I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I noticed this was giving me anxiety because the one thing I love doing, which is giving advice and listening to others, I refrained from dong it and started to dread it. I really feel that is what anxiety is good at doing, a lot of times we have anxiety about the one thing that we actually have power over. You are not perfect, and that is okay but do not let anxiety rob you of the power that you have.

What do you think? What are some things you have noticed that triggers your anxiety at work? How have you come to deal with them?

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