Pangs of Anxiety/Burnout During Work


Do pangs of anxiety or burnout, sudden fatigue, physical aches, pains and tension, or feeling foggy or ‘spaced out’ happen while you work? Do they come with heart palpitations or difficulty breathing, feelings of fear or dread, spinning thoughts and catastrophizing?


Do they interrupt your flow, stop you from working or force you to step back from work? Does it cause you to procrastinate? And do you then feel frustration or fear that you aren’t getting enough done?


Are the pangs seemingly random, adding to the frustration and fear because if we don’t know what causes them, we don’t know what the solution is to stop them?


And is there a fear the pangs could be a sign of a worsening problem, which could gradually erode your ability to work, and cause you to lose your job – threatening your career, and therefore your income, wellbeing, and even your ability to make your dreams a reality?


Years ago that’s what I was experiencing. It had snuck up without me realising, and suddenly I was suffering and had no idea where to turn.


If you’re experiencing this too, here’s what you need to know:


All of the symptoms I mentioned above are secondary pain. Secondary pain is defined as pain derived from another source


If you only focus on treating secondary pain, it will not work, and you will remain trapped with that secondary pain. That’s because there’s another source causing it, which you haven’t yet dealt with.


In other words if you only try to treat or manage the pangs of anxiety, the procrastination, the catastrophising itself, you are not treating the underlying source of these problems, and those symptoms will keep happening.


Instead, you must find the primary pain which was causing all that secondary pain. If you find and treat the primary pain, you can stop all that secondary pain at the source. 


Primary pain is, at its root, emotion. It is usually unconscious at first.


For example, in my own therapy I discovered a major piece of my own primary pain was an emotional pain of loss of connection with other people. I had been totally unaware of it until then.


But once I found that emotional pain, I began to treat this at the emotional level. The emotional pain reduced, and along with it various fears reduced too. My nervous system became more settled. Behaviours which used to be triggered by that emotion gradually stopped happening.


My secondary pain reduced and reduced because I found and treated the primary pain underlying it.


If we stop trying to treat the secondary pain, and instead focus on finding and treating the primary pain, we save years and years of going in circles! We make deep, profound healing, personal change and growth possible – instead of suffering in stagnation! We make it possible to stop our burnout and anxiety instead of only managing it.


Have you been treating your secondary pain? Have you been trying to treat and manage those pangs of burnout or anxiety, but found they continue to happen?


Are you ready to change strategy, and find and heal the primary pain underneath your secondary pain instead? 


What do you think your primary pain might be?

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James Cormack | Therapist & Coach

I help people remove their anxiety, burnout and related problems piece by piece – for unprecedented professional and personal growth, and true happiness, freedom and success.

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