End of Financial Year Stress and How to Deal with It

The Downward Arrow Technique is a tool from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to deal with stress and worry. The problem with stressful periods like EOFY is that thinking becomes increasingly fear-based where worrying thoughts feel more and more true. This technique helps us to uncover the core fear that is driving the worry. Once we see it, it’s much easier to realise that the core fear is incredibly unlikely to occur and hence we tend to ignore fearful thoughts more easily.

Here are the steps:

  1. Write down a thought that has been bothering you.

  2. Ask yourself “What is the worst thing that could happen?”

  3. Keep going until you get to the underlying core fear.

For example:

My thought: My boss is angry with me for not having my EOFY reports ready to her standard.

What is the worst thing that could happen? She might fire me.

What is the worst thing that could happen? I would be unemployed.

What is the worst thing that could happen? I might not be able to find another job for a long time

What is the worst thing that could happen? I wouldn’t be able to pay my mortgage.

What is the worst thing that could happen? I wouldn’t have anywhere to live. I might become homeless.

Core Fear: I will become homeless

How To Challenge Core Beliefs and Core Fears.

Sometimes it will be immediately clear to you that the core belief/fear is illogical. For example, you might immediately understand the chance of homelessness from unemployment is very low. So you might not be so concerned about it because you understand the unconscious fear, like the picture below…

eofy.png

If you are looking at your core fear and it still seems very true to you then you might want to consider using some resources for cognitive restructuring. With half of us experiencing a mental health issue at some time, uncontrollable worry and stress is unfortunately a very normal occurrence. So if you’re still stuck, don’t despair yet: Medicare will subsidise 10 sessions with a psychologist per year to help you get through whatever you’re facing so go talk to your GP for a referral.


Uprise is a preventative employee assistance program (EAP) provider that improves employee engagement, retention and performance by enhancing psychological wellbeing. Learn more about how our program solves employee stress.

Charlotte Owen