How to Overcome Anxiety, Worry, and Fear in a Job Search… and in Life.

Originally Published on Portland’s Mac’s List – May 13, 2013

Looking for work takes much time and effort, but once you’ve spent a part of your day networking and applying for jobs, you may still have hours left to fill. With all that dead time, it’s common for anxiety and worry to take over.

And all that worry is no good!

Feelings of fear and anxiety can have a constricting effect on the brain, shutting down the ability to feel optimistic and creative. In fact, worrying is like the imagination’s bad brother. It involves the act of fantasizing, but it does so in a pessimistic manner, spinning notions about a negative future that can take hold and run rampant: “I’ll never find work… I’ll never have a life that I used to dream about.”

It’s important, for your health and well being, to keep these feelings in check and out of the driver’s seat.

How do you counter anxiety, worry and fear while on the job hunt?

Get creative. Literally. Engage your positive imagination to keep the negative fantasies from taking hold.

Make a Schedule

In addition to a structured period every day to find job openings and submit well-crafted applications, include time on your daily schedule for creative activities. Do things that reflect your imagination and creative self. Work on your writing, or improve your cooking skills. Play your fiddle. Practice juggling. Go dancing!

Allowing your imagination to roam has tremendous healing power.

Find the Spark

By continuing to engage in activities that trigger your creativity during the job hunt, you will not only keep your spirits up, but you will also ensure that you’re a more attractive candidate when you land interviews. People are drawn to other people who have the spark of life (that’s as true on a first date as it is in a first interview). If being unemployed destroys your spirit, it will show when you meet an employer.

Follow Your Inclinations

If you struggle to know what can give you that creative spark, reading a wonderful novel can help—the more fanciful, the better. Spend time laughing with friends. Turn on music and dance around your living room. Or, if you’re like me, you may find that writing down your dreams and reliving those images can provide a wellspring of support. The unconscious is constantly engaging in the imaginative space.

Be Intentional

Be intentional about engaging your creative self. Invest in helping your imagination to flourish. It can provide you with the strength and joy you need to pursue the search for employment, and help you land the position that’s right for you.

Originally Published on Portland’s Mac’s List – May 13, 2013

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