Embracing Stress and Emotions in the Workplace Constructively

Using Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) to Optimize Performance


Sara Keshavarz-moqadam, Ph.D.
Clinical, Health, Organizational Psychologist, Posted on Mar 26, 2024

All employees may experience chronic fatigue for a long time, which leads to working with minimum energy and productivity. You may not even know what the reason is or what this tiredness tells you! By relying on our rich psychological background in organizational, clinical, and health psychology, we are here to show you the underlying reason for your chronic fatigue and lack of mental and physical energy. We stay with you to discover where your energy leakage is, helping you reach your actual potential and maximum productivity to make your ideal self-image real!

“We aim to bring productivity both to yourself and your business.”
  • How does it feel to be in a stressful situation for a long time?
  • How often do you keep going despite the fact that something is not right?
  • How often do you keep going the extra mile until you are either sick or the results are a failure?
  • How often do you reflect and notice you lied to yourself to justify your destructive behavior?
  • How often, without any clear reason, do you feel exhausted from doing something, and you feel tired all the time?
  • How often do you see an email from work you get a negative feeling seeing a message from work?

In the current era, due to a hectic lifestyle, there is a lack of self-awareness of our emotions, feelings, and physical signs and symptoms of anxiety. We don’t consciously know when we are angry, stressed, or frustrated until we react based on these emotions and worsen the situation! Therefore, it is essential to recognize our anxiety and feelings to be able to manage them before letting them manage us.

How to Manage Anxiety by Identifying, Clarifying, and Seeing the Costs

To prevent a reactive act, be able to use our emotions wisely, and constructively respond to the situation, we need first to recognize our anxiety and experience it in our bodies instead of ignoring it. The process of anxiety and emotion regulation is broken down into the following steps:

Step 1. Identifying: Listen to your Body; It Never Lies

The first step is identifying self-ignorance defense mechanisms that lead to ignoring somatic symptoms of anxiety, which cause chronic fatigue, pain, or exhaustion in the long run. To do this, it is essential to see how your chest, shoulders, jaw, etc., are tense during the day or even overnight without your intention. It is the first step that you can see how your anxiety controls your body, mood, performance, and many more, and how it can build a long wall, hiding your actual self, which covers all your talents, innovations, and capabilities. Therefore, it is vital to pay careful attention to your physical feelings. For example, how is difficult for you to take a deep breath; what headache, caused by chronic neck and shoulder tension is telling you; what your digestion problems, rooted in gastrointestinal tensions, are sending messages to you; or what is this hypervigilance and poor concentration leading to spending too much time to accomplishing a task!
This step is the most important one because if you cannot identify your anxiety, you cannot manage it, and in turn, your anxiety will manage your behaviors, relationships, performance, and whole life!

Step 2. Clarifying: What These Somatic Symptoms Are Telling You

After identifying the anxiety, it is time to clarify what the fuel is, what caused it, or what has prolonged it. For instance, harsh criticism from a manager, a challenging conversation in a meeting, a warning email, a tight deadline, or heavy workloads can cause frustration, resulting in experiencing rage, but you may not know how to express this rage at work constructively, so you unconsciously ignore it. The direct result of neglecting feelings will be tension and subsequent repercussions, as mentioned in the above paragraph. Imagine that you are working in a position accomplishing multiple tasks with no assistant and a demanding manager; therefore, chronic frustration, rage, and tensions will be the consequences, depleting your physical and mental energy and leading to exhaustion!
Considering the fact that our body never lies to us, it will be so beneficial to pay compassionate attention to underlying feelings of our anxiety to discover the fuel. Simply put, after paying mindful attention to your anxiety and regulating it, you may realize that you are full of anger, which is an apparent sign of rage! Here is the moment that your mindful decision-making significantly helps you to effectively channel this rage to constructive pathways, bringing the most productivity to your performance, relationships, work, etc., without being hidden behind the long wall of anxiety!

Therefore, by recognizing the underlying feelings of your anxiety, you can consider it a positive alarm to make constructive changes in your life and turn your challenges into strengths.

Step 3. Cost: Seeing the Cost of Not Paying Attention

In this stage, you are entirely aware of your anxiety, underlying feelings, and the pros and cons of recognizing or ignoring it. In fact, you can explicitly see the cost of not paying attention to your anxiety symptoms and letting them ruin your function, productivity, and whole life! In other words, when you become aware of your tension and underlying feelings, you cannot easily dismiss the expensive cost you have paid during your lifetime to avoid confronting your unconscious feelings caused by challenging situations. For example, you may see how you became dysfunctional as a well-educated, intelligent, and capable person in difficult periods of your life!

Step 4. Taking Action

The choice is on you; you are free to compassionately pay attention to what your body is telling you and take care of yourself, or select the repetitive self-ignorance pattern you have chosen unconsciously many years ago! Just keep in mind that you are not the victim of your past environment or forced selections. In fact, as a human being, you have the authority to fulfill your dreams by taking down-to-earth actions and achieving your actual self regardless of age.

We understand it is not easy to take action. Therefore, here at Jalapeño, our expert psychologists help you remove the self-destructive barriers to achieve your maximum performance with the lowest cost and effort, saving your time, life, relationships, and business!

Stay tuned for our next blog, in which we will delve into how ISTDP can facilitate relationships among employees within and between teams.

About the Author: Sara Keshavarz-moqadam believes that the effect of environmental stressors on individual performance is by no means negligible. After studying for a B.A. Clinical, an M.A. General, and a Ph.D. Health Psychology from the University of Tehran and working for many years in these fields, Sara became curious about how to help individuals reach their actual potential. To answer this question, Sara returned to school again and studied for an M.A. Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Adler University to create a novel and holistic approach relying on the principles of clinical, health, and organizational psychology to recognize and address the root causes of problems by focusing on organizational culture, leadership, communication skills, and support system. She is on a mission to improve employees' well-being, happiness, and psychological and physical health to enhance both individual and organizational success.