The anxiety of unemployment: how it arises and what to do?

The existence of anxiety related to unemployment shows how much mental health is linked to social phenomena happening around us.

In this article, we will see why this happens frequently and what can be done in such cases.

    Causes of unemployment anxiety

    Unemployment is one of the social phenomena with the greatest psychological implications: its effects are felt in a wide variety of areas of life, for two reasons.

    First of all, a purely material aspect: most people of working age spend a large part of the week working on their professional side.So the absence of this element of everyday life is a big change that requires us to position ourselves in the face of the question of how to manage this time.

    Second, the field of labor is one of the main elements that constitute the existence of civilizations, existence is possible thanks to the social division of labor (that is, not everyone has to taking care of livelihood tasks, but providing goods and services to others), so that practically all areas of life in society are linked to working life.

    This means that in most cases the more we stay on the sidelines of this reality, the more problems will arise for us.

    But … what are, precisely, the psychological consequences of not having a job, where does the anxiety of unemployment come from? Let’s see which are the most important.

    1. Introduce a sense of urgency into everyday life

    Anxiety is a predisposition to the state of activation to be able to react quickly to warning signals, All based on pessimistic or worrying thoughts about what will happen in the near future.

    This logic fits perfectly into the attitude that the unemployed are supposed to have: always be attentive to the slightest sign of looking for a job shortage to be occupied with the same workforce, so that they can integrate into the workplace. faster. of the society.

    On the other hand, given the lack of information on what the labor market will bring, it is very easy to have catastrophic ideas about how we will end up living or working: The ambiguity of an increasingly diverse and changing economy makes fear and anxiety what we fill this knowledge gap with.

    2. It affects self-esteem

    In a society where money has a strong emotional charge and it is associated with certain lifestyles and social labeling conceptsIt is common for not having paid work to erode the self-esteem of those who do not have a job. In fact, it is not uncommon for this to happen even to those who, due to their privileged economic situation, do not even feel obligated to work to maintain a good standard of living.

    In addition, this phenomenon interacts with gender roles. Usually, beyond the economics of lack of work, it is men who suffer most from not having paid work, seeing that they do not fit into the male role of self-sufficiency or providing support. to the family.

      3. It changes future plans downwards

      Much of people’s emotional stability it is linked to future projects that they propose; projects that allow you to perceive a sense of continuity in terms of: studying a career, saving to buy a house, learning an art, etc.

      Therefore, unemployment is often associated with problems when it comes to setting meaningful goals, because until there is a stable way to have support, it is unrealistic to assume that in a few months we can be in a much better situation than in the present. Which brings us to the section

      4. It is difficult to find sources of motivation

      By having less choice because of the sense of urgency to find a grip, people suffering from unemployment anxiety they have a harder time letting their imaginations run wild about what they can accomplish if they do the right thing.

      5. Influence family dynamics

      For all of the above, unemployment it very easily worsens the conflicts that are already latent in the daily life of families (Distribution of tasks, professional expectations, stress due to lack of resources, etc.) or gives rise to new sources of conflict.

      What to do?

      Here are some tips to keep in mind when dealing with unemployment anxiety.

      1. Establish a clear and sequential action plan

      Starting to sort through your ideas on what to do is the first step, and one of the most important.

      Focus on these specific and simple goals, leaving the rest for another time, this will allow you to progress without feeling that you are striving without achieving anything specific. Once you see that you are moving forward, anxiety will surely be reduced, knowing that your physical and psychological efforts can be channeled through a series of tasks that are useful to you.

      2. Structure your daily life well

      Create clear schedules and make the most of time on two fronts: working times to end this unsatisfactory situation for your professional career, on the one hand, and times for you, on the other. The latter should not be underestimated, because if you are psychologically ill due to lack of rest it will impact your performance, In your personal relationships and in everything else.

      And of course, getting enough sleep is essential. Failure to do so will create a snowball effect with problems and unattended responsibilities due to your physical inability to deal with them.

      3. Learn relaxation techniques

      Incorporate small relaxation or mindfulness exercises into your daily routine, even if it’s only a five or ten minute session before bed. It will help you get rid of recurring anxious thoughts and adopt a more constructive mindset. and focus on what you need to do.

      4. Don’t blame yourself for how you feel

      Anxiety always has a component of self-fulfilling prophecy: negative feelings make it more likely to have negative experiences, which in turn generate more negative feelings.

      So don’t feel bad for feeling what you are feeling; limit yourself to accept that for a while you will feel a certain level of discomfort, which you should not give more importance than it has try to remove it from your awareness or frustrate yourself for not understanding it. Just make objective changes in your material reality, don’t try to fully control everything that goes through your mind.

      5. Seek psychotherapeutic help

      If you find that the situation is overwhelming and you are unable to handle it on your own, don’t blame yourself: it is normal for unemployment to have a strong psychological impact that is difficult to manage without a point of support. Seek psychological help for professional and personalized help.

      Are you looking for psychological support?

      If you are interested in psychological therapy to learn how to manage anxiety problems or to overcome any other type of emotional or behavioral disorder, we invite you to contact our team of professionals.

      Fr Psychomaster we have a full team of psychologists specializing in various areas of wellness, and we offer therapies in person at our facilities in central Madrid and online by video call. If you would like to know more about us or view our contact details, please visit this page.

      Bibliographical references:

      • American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing. pages 189 to 195.
      • Welcome, JO; Ginsburg, GS (2007). Prevention of anxiety disorders. International Journal of Psychiatry. 19 (6): pages 647 to 654.
      • Gu, R .; Huang, YX; Luo, YJ (2010). The anxiety and negativity of the feedback. Psychophysiology. 47 (5): 961-967.
      • Otte, C. (2011). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Anxiety Disorders: Current State of Evidence. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 13 (4): pages 413-421.
      • Phillips, AC; Carroll, D .; Der, G. (2015). Negative life events and symptoms of depression and anxiety: causing stress and / or generating stress. Anxiety, stress and adaptation, 28 (4): pages 357-371.
      • Torpy, JM; Burke, AE; Golub, RM (2011). Generalized anxiety disorder. JAMA. 305 (5): 522.

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