One quarter of Australians will experience anxiety in their lifetime – it’s our most common mental health condition. If you’re looking for a job, it can be incredibly difficult at times to push past your anxiety and move forward enough to find a job and submit that application.

Often, job search anxiety can feel like a recording on repeat. Sometimes we might hear or think things like ‘Why would someone hire me?’ or ‘They know I was fired from my last job’. You may have excessive fear or worry, or catastrophise situations. These thoughts can be really hard to manage.

You may also experience physical symptoms like a racing heartbeat or tight chest, quick breathing, hot and cold flushes or restlessness. You might start to avoid certain situations that make you feel anxious too.

The Worry Tree is an exercise designed to help you move past your anxiety and achieve your goals. It’s a great self-check tool that you can run through in your mind whenever you feel you’re worried or anxious.

The Worry Tree helps you focus on what you can control. Here’s a short summary of how it works:

Step 1
Ask yourself – what are you worried about?

Step 2
Then ask yourself – is there something I can do about this problem?

Step 3
If the answer is no, then you have to let this worry go. This might take some practice. Try to change your focus on to something else or practice a phrase that works for you such as ‘I can’t control that’ or ‘that is not going to happen’.

If there’s something that you can do about the worry, get the details of what, where, how and when, then either put an action plan in place to sort it now, or schedule to deal with it later. Once you do either, change your focus to something else.

Following these three steps can help you manage your anxiety so you can move through the challenges of looking for work, like preparing for an interview. In addition to the Worry Tree, you could try some meditation, writing your worries down or talking to someone.

The Worry Tree exercise is just one of the tools we use to help you find the right job for you.

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