Fear of fear: anxiety and burnout

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Transcript Fear of fear: anxiety and burnout

Fear of Fear Anxiety and Burnout

Wellness Retreats

Sunday 19 th October

Who am I?

• • • • • Psychotherapist 15 years of experience Private practice at the Robert Street Clinic, Ellerslie Blogger, radio host and commentator NZ Association of Psychotherapists (NZAP) Council Member, Public Issues spokesperson Psychotherapy.org.nz, OvercomingSocialAnxiety.com

As seen on … 2

Burnout and Anxiety


What is Anxiety?

Definition: fear response in the absence of a fearful stimuli, or an actual threat to wellbeing

• • • • Anxiety is an emotional response and is not necessarily “bad” Fear by its very nature “overgeneralises” Fear is “aversive” Fear motivates avoidance behaviours 4

Fear of Fear

• • • • • Anxiety is a natural state Intense anxiety, panic, failure, misery can cause a fear response to anxiety itself This is what we call a “secondary emotion” Fear of fear drives avoidance It is not based in “reality” or the here and now 5

Burnout and Trauma

• • • • Burnout, from an emotional point of view, creates a trauma response to work It is natural to avoid what has become aversive Self employment is no protection “Golden handcuffs” 6


Psychological Space

• • • • • • Stop Breathe Learn to be with yourself Danger of “active relaxing” Generate other interests – but not other “careers” Re-engage with your life that is already there 8

Acceptance and Openness

• • • What are you denying, or ignoring that led you to burnout?

What are you avoiding that makes it hard to STOP!

Future focus, and ambition •

You might already be there …



Definition: Flow, also known as Zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity

• Flow is incompatible with anxiety 10


“The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment”

Jon Kabat-Zinn


Limits and Engagement

• • • There is meaning in burnout Limits and capacity naturally change, day to day, week to week, and across the lifespan Having limits means doing what you are doing, and being where you are • “Digital” holidays 12

Regular Practice and Goals

• • • • • • Stop thinking ‘what’s next?’ Start thinking ‘what is’ Plan and schedule regular breaks Meditate Create space Be fully present, with all that you do 13






37 Robert Street, Ellerslie, Auckland 1051 @kylemacd Facebook/psychotherapy.org.nz

[email protected]

021 708 68