Why Talk About Anxiety?
You might be thinking, "we're talking about anxiety again?"
Why does this matter? Maybe you don't struggle with anxiety or depression. If you do, what does it have to do with your leadership or creativity?
Leadership involves people. If there were no people to lead, serve, or teach, there would be no leadership. If you are a leader or if you want to be a leader, your life is going to involve and revolve around people.
18.1% of Americans experience anxiety, and this is just the diagnosed. Many believe the number is actually much higher because most people never receive a diagnosis. But even if we use this diagnosed number, this means that about one of every five people in America struggle with anxiety and often depression.
Your mom might struggle with depression. Your neighbor might be bipolar. Your professor might have anxiety. Your best friend might be OCD. These are the people you are serving and leading, and they struggle with anxiety.
Most people who experience anxiety never look for or receive treatment. However, it's been seen that treating, and even just talking about, anxiety is effective in controlling or improving its affect on its victims.
You may not be a psychologist and may feel unable to help those who struggle with anxiety, but you can create room for conversation about it.
Most people with anxiety feel unable to talk about it, feel unsupported, and feel like if they say something, people will think there is something wrong with them. Many feel that if they say something, they will be dismissed, downplayed, or condescended.
As one of every five of your friends, and usually more, are dealing with anxiety today, it's important to be aware of its presence and to be able to talk about it.
To support your team, you need to be able to see when someone is struggling and be able to speak to it or just listen. As they begin to open up about it, studies show they are very likely to experience an improvement in symptoms and overall function.
Perhaps as a topic such as anxiety is discussed more, people will begin to feel more supported in the issue and seek help. Perhaps we will see a decline in those with debilitating anxiety, instead of the rise we are currently seeing.
As long as our society is fast paced, goal driven, and demanding, there will be anxiety. What can you do to serve that need?
Listen. Talk. Offer support. Raise your awareness of the issue.
Do you struggle with anxiety? If so, you've most likely seen it affect your work and day-to-day life. Are you seeking help? If not, how can you do that?
To best lead your team, you have to be healthy, or at least working at being healthy.
Maybe you see your anxiety as a disadvantage in the world of leadership. On the contrary, it may be a great benefit. If you have or are battling anxiety, you can empathize with those on your team who are also battling it. You can help them in a way a person without the experience never could.
But we have to talk about it. Anxiety affects people and too many people feel alone in their battle.
How can you create a conversation on anxiety in your team? Could you have a team meeting? Could you have individual meeting? Could you provide resources?
How would your team benefit from a discussion on anxiety? You may see an improvement in the lives of those your working with and those you serve. You may give support to someone who has always felt alone in the issue.
This week, ask yourself how you can meet your team where they're at, either with their own anxiety or in their ability to relate with those who do experience anxiety.