Tuesday, April 16, 2024

How To Overcome Anxiety At Work

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Ask Colleagues For Help

How to Overcome Anxiety (at Work)

If you have trouble completing a task, ask one of your colleagues to collaborate and help you finish it. This can have several benefits, including:

  • Easing your mind about the current task

  • Learning new skills and tips from your colleague

  • Improving teamwork and morale

Understanding you have a support system among your colleagues can also help you feel more confident in completing tasks since you know you can ask for help if you ever need it.

Listen To Calming Music To Focus Energy

Zoe Thomson blogs about mental health having experienced depression and anxiety for as long as she can remember. After finishing counseling, using her blogs platform has allowed her to find added purpose in life and connect with others.

I struggle terribly with anxiety at work, not helped by the fact I work in an open plan office so its hard to shut myself away. I find when Im stuck at my desk and cant take a walk to a quieter part of the building, I put my headphones in and listening to calming music or a podcast to drown out all the internal and external chatter and focus my energy on one thing.No Light Without Darkness

Limiting Anxietys Impact On Your Leadership

Once you have a better sense of how you experience anxiety and how you can manage it daily, its time to turn to how it affects your leadership and management abilities.

Make good decisions

Anxiety can impair our judgment. It can cause us to focus on the wrong things, distort the facts, or rush to conclusions. Ideally, we could postpone critical decisions until were in a better frame of mind, but thats not always possible.

In anxious times its important to proactively set yourself up to make good choices. Much as you do when separating the possible from the probable, start by acknowledging that your emotions can make you an unreliable narrator and that you will likely be prone to negative thoughts. Lets say youre prepping for a speech and the last time you spoke to a group of a similar size, you felt that you bombed. You may even have a long-held belief that youre a terrible public speaker because a middle school recitation drew snickers. Ask yourself: Are you being objective? If youre not sure, check whether your memory is correct, perhaps by asking a colleague who was in the room for feedback.

Of course, you need to ask the right people. Boyes suggests you find a trusted adviser with a decision-making style that differs from your own. If youre impulsive, consult someone who is methodical and conservative, for example.

Practice healthy communication

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Get Everything Ready The Night Before

Dr.Giuseppe Aragona, General Practitioner, M.D. Prescription Doctor advises, Preparation can always help first day nerves. You want to get everything ready the night before, to ensure in the morning you are not flustered and caught off guard. Do a trial run the day before around the time you are due to startby minimizing all these possibilities that can go wrong, you will feel much more relaxed.

Kerry Heath, LPC-S, NCC, CEDS-S, adds, Practice before your first day on the job. Drive the same route you will take to your new office so that you will know exactly how to get there and how long it will take. If possible, learn where you will park and where to check-in on your first morning. Ask where to arrive and who to check-in with when you get there that first day. Being prepared will alleviate some of those first day jitters.

Evan Lawrence, LMHC, CPT, suggests you Take stock of what you can control and what you cant! For what you can list out your options and for those that you cant, remember the qualities about you that allow you to get through other uncontrollable situations.

Have A Conversation With Your Manager About How Youre Feeling

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Its important to let your boss know how youre feeling if you need changes at work to help your anxiety.

Be open and honest with them. It might feel scary at first, but itll be a weight off of your shoulders, and your boss may be able to decrease your workload, and be more sensitive toward what youre going through.

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Set Goals And Work Towards Them

Its easy to get overwhelmed with how much you need to do every day and then let anxiety at work take over. An effective way to deal with this is by setting goals for what are the most important work objectives and how you will achieve them. Often, just seeing your to-do list and a plan written down can greatly reduce your anxiety at work. Instead of the struggling with a perceived mass of work and no real plan of how to achieve it, you can see what needs to be done. Then you can begin to tick things off. Start straight away. When you achieve a goal, you can reward yourself.

Ways To Deal With Anxiety

Everyone has feelings of anxiety, nervousness, tension, and stress from time to time. Here are 5 ways to help manage them:

  • Become a relaxation expert. We all think we know how to relax. But chilling out in front of the TV or computer isn’t true relaxation. The same is true for alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. They may seem to relieve anxiety or stress, but it’s a false state of relaxation that’s only temporary. What the body really needs is daily practice of a relaxation technique like deep breathing, tai chi, or yoga that has a physical effect on the mind. For example, deep breathing helps to relax a major nerve that runs from the diaphragm to the brain, sending a message to the entire body to let go and loosen up.
  • Get enough sleep, nourishment, and exercise. Want your mind and body to feel peaceful and strong enough to handle life’s ups and downs? Get the right amount of sleep for your needs not too much or too little. Eat well: Choose fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains for long-term energy . And exercise to send oxygen to every cell in the body so your brain and body can operate at their best.
  • Connect with nature. Heading out for a walk in the park or a hike in the woods can help anyone feel peaceful and grounded. Walking, hiking, trail biking, or snowshoeing offer the additional benefit of exercise. Invite a friend or two or a family member along and enjoy feeling connected to people as well.
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    What Causes Social Anxiety

    Like a lot of important questions in life, What causes social anxiety? is a more complicated question than wed like.

    For one thing, different forms of social anxiety are likely to have different causes.

    For example:

    • If you struggle with social anxiety at workparticularly with imposter syndrome and feeling like other people are about to discover how big a fraud you really arethat may be caused primarily by perfectionism and a mental habit of self-criticism and comparing yourself to others.
    • On the other hand, if your social anxiety tends to crop up in the context of romantic relationships and having a hard time being emotionally vulnerable, that might stem from your experiences as a child seeing how poorly one of your parents was treated when they expressed emotion in the context of a relationship.

    I bring this up because its unwise to hang onto the idea that theres one cause of social anxiety. And that if you just figure that out, youll be able to crack the code and end your struggle with it.

    More than likely your social anxiety has very different causes than your mothers social anxiety, which has different causes than your bosss social anxiety.

    Of course, that doesnt mean there arent common factors in what causes social anxiety that many people share. There are! But the point is theres no way to shortcut the hard work of identifying the unique causes of your social anxiety.

    Focus On The Facts Of Your Work

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    Performance anxiety often has little to do with your actual work. By focusing on the facts of your work and your workplace, you can help build your confidence. For instance, maybe a project you created resulted in a sales increase for the quarter. Regardless of how you felt about the actual work, focusing on the fact of its success can remind you of what you do, how well you do it and the value you bring to the organization.

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    Create A Script And Rehearse It

    Remember how we mentioned to jot down your answers as a reference point? Well, its time to expand on that. Create a script in bullet-point form that includes the key points you want to hit during the phone conversation.

    For example, you might want to include:

    • A brief introduction
    • Your questions for the other person
    • Your solution to their problem
    • Your wrap-up/schedule a meeting

    Of course, you want to have a natural flow in the conversationreading your notes word from word and sounding rehearsed wont exactly win anybody over. Thats why its important to rehearse your script and only use it as a reference point in case you get stuck. You could even try practicing with a coworker, friend, or recording yourself with your phone.

    Related: Phone Etiquette at Work – How to Answer the Phone Professionally

    Remember: It Gets Better

    If youre struggling with anxiety or another mental illness, its easy to feel like its never going to end. You think youre always going to feel this overwhelming sense of panic or anxiousness, and its easy to want to give up.

    But heres what you need to remember: it will get better, and you arent going to feel like this forever.

    Its important to keep fighting even when you dont feel like you have much more to give. Because your best days are ahead of you. Just take it day by day. Hour by hour. Step by step. You can do this. I know you can.

    Feelings of depression or anxiety can lead to suicidal thinking. If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts or tendencies, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at .

    Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

    View oureditorial policy or viewour research.

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    Sometimes Its The Job

    Sometimes, the best thing to do for yourself is start fresh. If youre truly unhappy in your job and nothing youve done has improved the situation, it may be time to look for a new job. No job is worth more than your mental health and well-being.

    If youre working in a toxic environment, hate your job, or feel intense anxiety no matter what you try, its OK to give yourself permission to move on.

    You could even channel your anxiety into envisioning what kind of workplace, lifestyle, or job might be less anxiety-provoking for you. Try using that as a starting point when you explore other opportunities.

    Find Someone You Can Trust


    Being able to confide in someone you can trust enough to speak openly with can help ease anxiety. Consider finding someone intimately familiar with your work life, such as:

    • A colleague

    • A business partner

    • An in-house work therapist

    These people can give you feedback on your job and advice specific to you and your work environment. If they work in proximity to you, they can also help you throughout the day with affirmation and encouragement, as their schedule allows.

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    Where To Get Support

    Getting help now over the phone or online

    If you or someone close to you needs help now, there are several phonelines and websites available.

    For immediate help in a crisis:

    For general mental health support:

    Seeing your GP

    Your GP can assess you, prescribe some medications, and refer you to a mental health professional if necessary. They can put you on a mental health plan, and this means Medicare may help pay for up to 10 sessions with a mental health professional. You can learn more about the different types of mental health professionals at Healthdirect Australia.

    Take Time To Fill Your Tank

    Meditation, yoga, quiet time, exercise, breaks, breathing, quality sleep, good nutrition, and hydrationjust to name a feware all scientifically proven ways to reduce our internal stress and better manage our energy. On top of good self-care habits, taking the time to do whatever it is that fills your individual tank is crucial to feeling less overwhelmed with work anxiety. I frequently ask my clients which car will make it on a cross-country trip: the car you stop and put gas in, checking the oil and tires intermittently, or the car that you just keep driving?

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    What Is Phone Anxiety

    Phone anxiety is a common fear that is typically seen in those suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder , and it can extend as far as an actual phone phobia at work. However, there are those who dont have SAD, but still deal with this mental health issue each time the phone rings.

    There are a number of reasons and past traumas that may contribute to phone call anxiety. When youre face to face, you can pick up on the other persons expressions and body language, while over the phone, there is a greater chance of coming off the wrong way.

    One in thirteen people experience a form of anxiety. It affects people across all different job types, personalities, and backgrounds. Its no secret that millennials hate answering their phones, because talking on the phone takes up too much time.

    Phone calls are interruptive, involves confrontation, and the possibility of being judgednot to mention, the fear of rejection. Anxiety talking on the phone also has to do with the indifference towards speaking on the phone in place of texting or emailing which has become the forefront of how we communicate today.

    What Organizations Can Do About It

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    As we mentioned earlier, this problem of being overwhelmed with work anxiety is not one-dimensional. Much of the onus falls on the system itself. Not ready to make the full commitment necessary, many organizations encourage their employees to take care of themselves or prioritize work-life balance while, at the same time, covertly/overtly making unrealistic demands in workload and time.

    The positive side is that there are companies who have truly taken the task of supporting their employees as people with personal and professional lives to heart. These organizations stand at the forefront with fair wages, employing enough staff, and setting realistic work expectations, boundaries, and goals. Some top organizations employ life coaches, psychologists, and other support staff, offer employee wellness programs, encourage good nutrition through free healthy meals at work, provide access to fitness and game rooms, and provide unlimited paid time off, flexible schedules, the ability to work remotely, as well as resources to assist with daycare, legal issues, and in-home care to name a few.

    Lastly, solid training for managers and HR in addressing employees as whole people and taking some of the onus off of the employee to find their own solutions to problems that stem from the workplace is another critical component to successfully supporting employees.

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    Taking Action To Manage Your Anxiety

    Once you make your way through these three steps, you can start to manage your anxiety daily in ways that allow you to grow as a leader and be more resourceful and productive.

    The following tactics can help ground you.

    Control what you can

    Many faith traditions teach us to accept what we cannot control, without preoccupation or panic. But in the middle of an anxiety attack at work, you probably dont have time for philosophy. So heres what to do when things feel completely off the rails.

    Structure your time. A solid body of research shows that improved time management disposition meaning your attitude toward how you organize and value your time has a positive impact on mental health. And its especially crucial when youre gripped by anxiety.

    First thing in the morning, create a to-do list and a detailed schedule for your day. I like to do it while having my coffee. You might use 30-minute increments to spell out when youll shower, take a lunch break, make a phone call, or tackle that report that needs to get done. This is what many experts call timeboxing. While youre at it, try to avoid what cognitive behavioral therapy terms cognitive distortions. These are the catastrophic thoughts, self-judgments, and all-or-nothing ideas that often accompany anxiety.

    Be careful not to overschedule or overestimate your productivity instead focus on the critical work and leave time to take care of yourself.

    Develop techniques for situations you cant control

    Set Boundaries And Visualize Calm

    Anni is uniquely qualified to help you create your best life, not because she managed to make her own life perfect in every possible way, but because she managed to screw it up in every possible way and then figure out how to turn things around.

    My motto is to try everything! At the same time! Different things work for different people and the more tools you have in your anti-anxiety arsenal, the more likely you are to succeed. Here are a few of my favorite tools for starters:A) Monitor your body for tension and shallow breathingB) Balance work stress with self careC) Establish healthy boundariesD) Do your best to remain objective and avoid catastrophizing whatever is going onE) Visualize yourself as a calm and confident person With that being said, I have to say that what has made the BIGGEST difference for me has been changing jobs. Battling anxiety while performing tasks that youre not into, with people you dont click with, and under pressure to give more than is healthy is a giant suck-fest. But facing your fears so that you can pursue your passion and purpose is a battle thats actually worth fighting!Solutions to All Your Problems

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