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More Than Just Stress: How to Deal with Anxiety in the Workplace

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Anxiety disorders are characterized by intense, irrational fear and various physical symptoms. These conditions can impair daily functionality. Around 40 million American adults suffer from an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety can make going to work difficult, especially if work is the cause. Continue reading to learn how to deal with anxiety in the workplace.

1. Invite Your Anxiety In

Pushing away your anxiety makes it impossible to deal with it. Let in your anxiety. Use it to gain confidence rather than debilitate it.

When you’re in a situation that triggers anxiety, fight against it as much as you can. Force yourself to speak up when you’re afraid to, and you’ll become more and more confident in your abilities.

Getting out of your comfort zone is the first step to reducing anxiety in the workplace.

2. Practice Healthy Habits

Put time aside for self-care. Caring for yourself keeps you physically healthy. It also makes it easier to manage anxiety in an appropriate way.

Eat healthy foods, don’t stay inside too much, sleep for 7 to 9 hours a night, and exercise. Walking, hiking, yoga, and sports are ways to get the exercise you need.

Self-care includes paying attention to how you’re feeling. You can’t expect to function at your best 24/7 if you ignore what’s going on inside your mind.

3. Take a Break

No one can constantly work without crashing at some point. If you’ve been working a lot and feel your anxiety rise, take a break.

Take a day off to relax. Read a book, visit friends or family, walk around a park, or do anything that will help you rest.

If you’re at work and find your anxiety taking over, get away for a few minutes if you can. Ask for a quick break. Step into a room you haven’t been in all day or go outside.

A short rest will help you collect your thoughts and feelings.

4. See a Therapist

Even if your anxiety isn’t very severe, it’s uncomfortable. Ease the discomfort and talk a professional about how you’re feeling.

They could be a social worker, psychologist, or psychotherapist. They’ll help you find ways to reduce your anxiety at work.

A professional will be able to tell you if you should see a psychiatrist for medication. Anti-depressants are a popular way of medically treating anxiety disorders. A psychiatrist may also decide to prescribe you anti-anxiety medication to take when your symptoms act up.

People react to therapy and medications differently. If whatever you try doesn’t help you, don’t give up. Try something else.

Check out this interesting article about anxiety and hypnotism.

5. Cut Down on Caffeine

Morning coffee may be what you need to wake up, but it could make your anxiety worse.

Enough caffeine from coffee, tea, or soda can trigger physiological symptoms of anxiety. This includes increased heart rate, racing thoughts, sweating, and trembling. It’s possible to experience a panic attack from caffeine intake.

Drinking caffeinated beverages later in the day is likely to keep you up and disrupt your sleep pattern. You may even suffer from insomnia. A lack of sleep increases the risk of anxiety.

6. Regularly Communicate

Cutting yourself off from society is one of the worst things you can do. You’ll be trapped inside your own mind and overthink everything. You need to communicate with people every day, whether it’s family, friends, or co-workers.

Speaking to co-workers is a great way to reduce your anxiety. It’s likely they feel a lot of the fear you do. If you’re struggling, ask for help.

Know everyone in the workplace by name. If there are any issues with a co-worker or you think there are, talk with them directly. Don’t let it simmer.

Avoid bonding with co-workers by talking about another person behind their back. This builds tension and will only make you more anxious.

Communication outside of work is practice for when you have to talk during work. The more you speak with those around you, the more comfortable you’ll feel around people. This will help bring down your anxiety.

7. Ask Yourself Why

Why are you feeling anxious at a particular moment in the workday?

Figuring this out will not only give you insight about your triggers, but it will show you what you have to work on. Whatever is making you anxious is probably something you care about.

If talking to your boss increases your anxiety, that probably means you don’t want to let him down. Think about it more. You work hard and complete all the tasks the way you should.

So what is there to fear? It’s likely your boss is impressed by you!

8. Talk to a Friend

Don’t be afraid to vent to a friend. A good friend will listen to you and give you their support.

One problem with anxiety disorders is that they make it difficult for people to think logically. They’re likely to overthink everything. This only heightens their fear.

A friend will let you know if you’re being rational or not. Strong friendships can help you manage your anxiety at work.

9. Set Doable Deadlines

People with anxiety are usually distressed about how others view them. They want to do everything they can to not look bad. In the workplace, someone with an anxiety disorder is likely to agree to a deadline even if it’s not manageable for them.

To prevent intense anxiety or a panic attack, let whoever makes the deadlines know if you need more time to finish a task. Deadlines aren’t always flexible, but it’s better to give it a shot than do nothing. 

If your co-workers know you have an anxiety disorder, they should be accommodating.

Learning How to Deal With Anxiety

Anxiety disorders aren’t easy to break free from. People usually require guidance and support from friends, family, or a therapist. Many who are diagnosed need help to manage their anxiety with medication.

It’s okay if you don’t know how to deal with anxiety, and want to try alternative methods. Follow these tips to reduce your anxiety at work.

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