Overworking is far too often considered to be a positive and highly recommended trait. It’s positioned as a factor related to values and ethics. However, it can be a very dangerous trend steeped in both perfectionism and anxiety.
Because of our general perception, someone with anxiety-caused overwork syndrome may not seek help. The connection is just not obvious enough. They’re driving themselves too hard but still getting praise. Society honors them as dedicated and conscientious. Meanwhile, anxiety drives them to fulfill this inaccurate viewpoint. Understanding how overworking is linked to anxiety is a giant step toward healing.
How Your Overworking Is Linked to Anxiety
The Perfectionism Link
Perfectionism is actually a fear of failure. Fear of failure is created by anxiety. This can create a cycle that is virtually invisible in the work sphere. Anxiety tells you lies. It pushes you to do more because, after all, nothing is good enough for you. Unless and until you can allow yourself to feel satisfied, you risk becoming a workaholic — without recognizing it.
The Thought-Work Link
Anxiety fills your mind with endless thoughts. You may feel as if you can’t “turn your brain off.” Quite often, someone with an anxiety disorder unknowingly channels this trend into overwork. You believe you can quiet the thoughts by tackling your never-ending to-do list. What you may not factor in is the reality that the more you work, the more anxious thoughts accelerate. You set an overworking standard for yourself and then have to strive to top each and every day.
Why does this happen? One theory involves stress hormones. When a person is stressed, their body releases more adrenaline and cortisol. These chemicals can become addictive. So, you subconsciously put yourself in situations that provoke stress in order to get your “fix.”
The Fear Link
It’s very hard to stay present when anxiety strikes. You may ruminate on the past. Even more likely, you fear the future. Anxiety causes you to construct looming worst-case scenarios. As result, you trick yourself into believing that if you work hard enough, you can stave off these perceived fears. Over time anxiety gets you stuck on a non-stop treadmill of dread.
The Frustration Link
Overworking wears you down. It inevitably leads to burnout. In turn, burnout increases your likelihood of failing. Failing fuels frustration and therefore, more overwork. You simply will not allow yourself to accept that pacing yourself and taking breaks is a more practical path toward success.
Dealing With the Anxiety-Overwork Connection
Learn More About It
When you understand how your brain works, you can better develop strategies that create balance. It may not be obvious right now but you can work less but accomplish more.
Take the First Step
Once you have learned more, pick one part of your day to actively do less. Take a break and reassess. When this little change demonstrates its value, you can slowly add to it.
Create a Support System
Let loved ones know that you are struggling. Anxiety is very common. The people around you likely have similar issues in some regard. Seek support in managing your mental struggles well as with the actual tasks at hand.
Choose a very specific amount of time you will dedicate toward whatever work you’re doing. By definition, this creates a counter time period. This time is set aside for other pursuits that provide you with the balance everyone needs.
Finally, anxiety is best addressed with the guidance of a skilled professional. Working with a therapist is a proven path toward recovery. Regular anxiety therapy sessions can provide you with a helpful space where you can parse out your thought patterns and behaviors. I’m here to support you. Please contact me for an appointment. Together, we can reimagine your future with less fear.