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IN THIS SUMMARY
Many people experience anxiety on the job. This problem affects employees at every level of organizations, from entry-level workers to senior executives. Although workplace anxiety can be debilitating, it does not have to be. In Work Makes Me Nervous, Jonathan Berent and Amy Lemley describe a personal coaching system that conquers this problem. Berent developed the program based on his work with thousands of people. This process is designed to help readers diagnose their symptoms, build a map for change, and create a High Performance Mind.

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  • 1.  
  • 2. WORK MAKES ME NERVOUS Overcome Anxiety and Build the Confidence to Succeed AUTHORS: Jonathan Berent, L.C.S.W. and Amy Lemley PUBLISHER: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2010 249 pages
  • 3. FEATURES OF THE BOOK In Work Makes Me Nervous , Jonathan Berent and Amy Lemley describe the challenges associated with workplace anxiety and present techniques to address the problem.
  • 4. THE BIG IDEA In Work Makes Me Nervous , the authors describe a personal coaching system comprised of five major concepts.
  • 5. INTRODUCTION Many people experience anxiety on the job. This problem affects employees at every level of organizations, from the most junior workers to senior executives. Although workplace anxiety can be debilitating at times, it does not always have to be.
  • 6. ADRENALINE, ANXIETY, AND BIOFEEDBACK Adrenaline is at the center of anxiety. Most people experience a rush of adrenaline when they encounter an uncomfortable situation, such as speaking in front of others. However some individuals translate that adrenaline into anxiety, while others accept it and transform the adrenaline into high performance. One way that people can deal more productively with anxiety is to recognize when adrenaline has been released, and to then take steps to control their response. Biofeedback is one of the central concepts in the authors’ system for addressing workplace anxiety. Through biofeedback, individuals connect their internal feelings with objective feedback.
  • 7. ADRENALINE, ANXIETY, AND BIOFEEDBACK
    • The “ Five Step Adrenaline Control Technique ” outlines a process for dealing with adrenaline and reducing anxiety. The authors recommend the following sequence of actions:
    • Start with realistic expectations . People must accept that adrenaline is a fact of life. Instead of getting upset when adrenaline is released, people should view this body chemical as fuel for success.
    • Accept the adrenaline . Adrenaline is the key to high performance. As a result, the authors’ suggest thinking, “Adrenaline is my source of power.”
  • 8. ADRENALINE, ANXIETY, AND BIOFEEDBACK
    • Surf the adrenaline . High performers are able to harness the energy associated with adrenaline. They feel in control, and take advantage of the power that comes from the adrenaline surge.
    • Breathe deeply and fully . Deep breathing helps individuals stay in control of their anxiety. It is the foundation of self-regulation.
    • Say “My hands are warm.” This instruction, in combination with conscious breathing, helps maintain the blood flow in the body, including blood flow to extremities like the hands.
  • 9. CREATING A MAP FOR CHANGE To move from workplace anxiety into a state of greater confidence, individuals must create a map based on their unique anxiety profile. This profile is comprised of four assessments: (1) the physical anxiety profile, (2) the mental anxiety profile, (3) the avoidance profile, and (4) the dependence profile . Each of these profiles evaluates different factors, based on the frequency and severity of symptoms, as well as how much the symptom prevents the individual from succeeding in the workplace. For the profiles to be most effective, individuals must complete them with total honesty.
  • 10. THE FIVE MIND STATES The five mind states are the Nurturing Parent (NP), Critical Parent (CP), Adult (A), Adapted Child (AC), and Natural Child (NC).
  • 11. THE FIVE MIND STATES The Nurturing Parent . The energy associated with the Nurturing Parent is focused on growth, teaching, and providing support. The authors believe that most people need put in work to develop this mind state. The Critical Parent . The energy associated with the Critical Parent is focused on authority and passing judgment. Although the CP helps people control their primitive urges and evaluate how they might perform better, it can also promote perfectionism through a highly critical internal script.
  • 12. THE FIVE MIND STATES The Adult . The energy associated with the Adult is logical and objective. It deals with facts, rather than opinions. The logical Adult mind state promotes the idea that people need a learning process to develop confidence at work and to control anxiety. This process takes time. The Adapted Child . The energy associated with the Adapted Child is mainly centered on four traits: conforming, cooperating, compromising, and manipulating. One positive trait associated with the AC is negotiation skills. However, if the AC becomes too dominant, it can result in avoidant and phobic behaviors.
  • 13. THE FIVE MIND STATES The Natural Child . The energy associated with the Natural Child is spontaneous, creative, and joyful. It represents what individuals really want, rather than what they “should” want. On the positive side, the NC is concerned with openness and the willingness to explore. On the negative side, it is also the home of aggression and primal urges. As a result, it needs to be balanced by the other four mind states.
  • 14. BALANCING THE FIVE MIND STATES Learning through observation is one way to make the Adult mind state stronger. It can also be helpful to use a structured problem solving technique which is described by the authors. This process includes the following steps: (1) identify the problem, (2) identify the cause, (3) identify the choices, (4) set priorities, (5) make a decision, (6) follow through, and (7) continue to follow through . It is essential that people pay attention when the Adult says that performance and identity are two distinct things, and that identity is not determined by performance. This belief is the foundation for controlling social and performance anxiety.
  • 15. TRANSFORMING STRESS INTO A POSITIVE FORCE Adrenaline itself is not what causes avoidant behavior. Instead, avoidance occurs when people associate adrenaline with something uncomfortable. This type of adaptation can result in anxiety, frustration, anger, and feelings of worthlessness. A better alternative is facing situations head on and making decisions. This enables people to transform stress into something more positive. Although individuals may not be able to control their environment or people, they can control how they decide to react to different situations. Another way to turn stress into something positive is to use the energy associated with anxiety as fuel for productive action. The authors note that courage is defined as action in the face of fear.
  • 16. THE ROLE OF THERAPY Many people who suffer from social or performance anxiety avoid therapy due to embarrassment or shame . Those who do seek therapy often do not experience positive results. This may be caused by therapists who do not identify the underlying dynamics or by patients who default to avoidance mode when the therapist raises uncomfortable issues.
  • 17. THE ROLE OF THERAPY To deal effectively with anxiety, people must identify the messages in their internal critical script. In most cases, these messages include anger which must be resolved. Anger may be caused by experiences in childhood, perfectionism, or pressures in everyday life. Unresolved anger can be damaging because it drives repetition and can fuel obsessive thoughts.
  • 18. HABITS FOR A HEALTHY BRAIN Another useful way to control anxiety is to engage in habits that promote brain health. These include exercise, sleep, a nutritious diet, and avoiding certain substances. Aerobic exercise . One proven way to manage anxiety is to increase the amount of blood that flows to the brain. Aerobic exercise is an excellent way to accomplish this. The authors recommend engaging in at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise five to six times each week. An oxygenated brain reduces anxiety while improving mood and brain power.
  • 19. HABITS FOR A HEALTHY BRAIN Sleep . Adequate sleep is a second way to lower one’s anxiety levels. For most adults, seven to eight hours of sleep each night is suggested. Diet . Individuals who follow a healthy diet are less likely to be anxious. One approach is to eat the right amounts of “expansive” and “contractive” foods. If a person’s mood is expansive or “spaced out,” then eating contractive foods is suggested. On the other hand, if a person’s mood is contractive or “uptight,” then eating expansive foods will counterbalance that condition.
  • 20. HABITS FOR A HEALTHY BRAIN Substances to be avoided . Smoking makes it difficult to manage anxiety because it causes dramatic chemical changes in the brain. Alcohol is also not recommended because it constricts the energy that individuals need for high performance and anxiety management. Other substances that affect brain chemistry in negative ways include marijuana and herbal remedies.
  • 21. ADJUSTING ONE’S ATTITUDE The ultimate goal of the authors’ program is to help people change their relationship with anxiety and adrenaline . Many people avoid anxiety, but high performance is dependent on the acceptance of anxiety and stress as facts of life. The keys to success include creating a map for change, investing in mind states balance, maintaining a healthy brain, and using the Five Step Adrenaline Control Technique to transform adrenaline into a source of power.
  • 22. ADJUSTING ONE’S ATTITUDE Although stress is impossible to avoid, the authors’ goal is to provide readers with tools to confront it, attach to the facts, and convert anxiety into positive energy. Embracing one’s emotions is essential. This self-awareness allows individuals to consciously promote their Nurturing Parent, Adult, and Natural Child mind states and to operate with a High Performance Mind. This frame of mind allows people to achieve fulfillment, well-being, and self-expression.
  • 23. Business Book Summaries is a product of EBSCO Publishing. The website is updated weekly with 4 to 5 new summaries chosen from among the top business books printed in the United States. For more information or to sign up for the weekly newsletter, please visit http://www.bizsum.com. ABOUT BIZSUM.COM