He hated the weekly team meeting. He knew it was ridiculous, but speaking to the group filled Pete with anxiety, which was getting worse over time. Usually one of the most dedicated and conscientious members of staff, he had pulled a sicky two weeks ago when he was scheduled to chair the meeting. Panic not pride had accompanied his boss's recent suggestion that he go for a promotion.
Although Pete is a fictional character, this story is one I see all the time as a hypnotherapist.
Situations such as:
- speaking up in team meetings,
- giving presentations and
- having conversations with your boss
Unfortunately, as well as being a horrible way to feel, it can really hold you back in your career. Time and time again I meet people who avoided promotions because they didn't want to present to groups.
Thankfully this is treatable. A very beneficial technique is Systematic Desensitization.
You can do this yourself as follows:
- Get yourself into a lovely relaxed state by lying on your bed, closing your eyes and breathing slowly and deeply.
- When you are very relaxed, imagine yourself in your team meeting. Really imagine it as vividly as possible, engaging all of your senses.
- As you imagine yourself coping in a very calm, relaxed way, hold onto that level of physical relaxation.
- Imagine confidently delivering your talk.
- As you continue to focus on maintaining that relaxation, imagine through to the end of the meeting, when you all leave the room.
- Repeat as often as possible.
This techniques works by making a new association in your mind between relaxation and team meetings. You can't be very relaxed and very anxious at the same time. It's physically impossible due to the neurotransmitters which are released in each state. So by pairing the team meeting situation with relaxation, you remove the anxiety.