How Does Your Body React To Work Stress
Imagine for a moment that your boss has emailed you about an unfinished assignment . Your body and mind instantly respond, activating a physical reaction called the fight-or-flight response. Your heart beats faster, your breath quickens, and your muscles tense. At the same time you might say to yourself, Im going to get fired if I dont finish this. Then to manage your anxiety and negative self-talk, you work late into the night to complete the task.
Over the course of our evolutionary history, humans developed this coordinated fear response to protect against dangers in our environment. For example, a faster heart rate and tense muscles would help us escape from predators. In the modern era, fear continues to serve an important function. After all, the fight-or-flight response can provide the necessary energy to pull an all-nighter and keep your job.
But what happens if you encounter stressful experiences at work every day? Over time, chronic work stress can lead to a psychological syndrome known as burnout. Warning signs of burnout are overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism, and a sense of inefficacy. Certain work-related stressors are closely linked with burnout. Examples are having too much work or too little independence, inadequate pay, lack of community between coworkers, unfairness or disrespect, and a mismatch between workplace and personal values.
Be Curious About The Other Person
Whether youre making a sales call or trying to get a new client on the hook, the goal is to create a relationship with the person on the other end of the line. Therefore, you must get to know them.
The truth is, most people really enjoy talking about themselves. So, rather than focusing on your own paranoia, focus on what you can learn from the other person without the nonverbal cues youd pick up on during a face to face conversation. Ask them questions about their day, or themselves. Not only will creating a good business relationship help put you at ease, but its also good form in terms of best practices for customer relations and sales.
Tips For Overcoming New Job Anxiety
If you get butterflies in your stomach before starting a new job, youre not alone. New job anxiety is common. Many firms offer new hire orientation and onboarding to alleviate the anxiety thats natural when starting a new job. Check out our experts advice and 12 tips to manage new hire anxiety those first nerve-wracking days on the job.
If a new job is triggering feelings of anxiety that are distracting or overwhelming, speak with a therapist who specializes in stress and anxiety. Work with an anxiety specialist to develop healthy coping skills and strategies so feelings of anxiousness dont control you and your life.
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How To Find A Therapist For New Job Anxiety
If youre interested in finding a therapist to address new job anxiety, you could explore options from an online therapist directory, ask someone you know and trust if they have any recommendations, or seek a referral from a nearby doctors office. Today, most therapists offer online sessions which means you dont have to commute to-and-from an office. In fact, you can attend therapy sessions from the comfort of your own home before or after work, use an empty conference room or find a park bench to do therapy on a lunch break at work. Therapist fees will vary, with session rates often between $80 and $150 without insurance. With insurance coverage, the out-of-pocket costs per session could be very low.
A More Advanced Technique For Handling A Panic Attack At Work: Tip
Talkspace therapist Jessica Gilpert recommended people handle panic attacks using a technique called TIP. Here is how it works :
T = Cold Temperature
If you apply something cold to your body, it will help you calm down during a panic attack. When having a panic attack at work, try finding a bathroom so you can run cold water on your wrists or place a cold towel on your neck. If its cold outside, try going out for a bit.
I = Intense Exercise
Exercise will also help you calm down before and during a panic attack. Gilpert recommended running really fast in place, doing some jumping jacks and stretching the chest. Make sure you know where you can do these exercises without disturbing co-workers.
Therapist Laura L. Ryan recommended running, a tactic that has helped several of her clients deal with panic attacks at work.
I had a client in the past who was having up to 20 panic attacks per day and I suggested she carry running shoes in her purse so she could be prepared when she started to feel the panic coming on, Ryan said. She would step outside during her workday to speed walk/run for several minutes when she felt panicked and then return to the office when she was feeling normal again.
P = Progressive Breathing
Use the breathing techniques mentioned earlier. Remember to inhale through your nose, take deep breaths and allow your stomach to expand.
You can practice these techniques as part of TIP or separately.
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What Causes Workplace Anxiety
You may feel anxiety at work for a variety of reasons. These may be directly related to your job, especially if you:
- Are experiencing interpersonal conflicts with your co-workers
- Don’t feel like you have the ability to control your work
- Lack of job security
- Often face deadlines that are too short
- Regularly have days that are unpredictable
- Work in a particularly fast-paced and competitive environment
- Work on daily tasks that are too difficult or ambiguous
Workplace anxiety can also occur due to someone’s individual characteristics or circumstances. For example, you may experience anxiety at work if you:
- Are distracted by other concerns, like problems at home
- Don’t feel motivated to achieve your goals at work
- Feel like you lack the skills or knowledge needed to do your job
- Have an anxiety disorder or another mental health condition
- Have difficulty understanding and managing your emotions
Learn To Identify Signs Of Stress
You might not even know youâre feeling stressed. Sounds strange, but itâs possible. Even if you donât know the true level of stress youâre feeling, your body does. The damage that stress does happens whether you are aware itâs bad or not.
There are several signs that stress might be affecting you:
- Feeling anxious, grumpy, or depressed.
- Feeling apathy or disinterest in your job.
- Feeling overwhelming dread about your job.
- Difficulty getting a good nightâs sleep.
- General fatigue and tiredness.
- Socially withdrawing from others .
- Using alcohol, drugs, or other destructive coping mechanisms.
If you see a pattern like this list in your life, you need to take action.
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When You Can’t Cope
Are you still finding that you can’t cope with anxiety at work? If so, you have additional options to get help.
Your first option is to seek treatment from a mental health professional. If you only have a vague notion that something is wrong but haven’t seen a doctor, now may be the time.
Obtaining a diagnosis and treatmentlike in-person or online therapy or medicationshould always be your first step if severe anxiety is interfering with your life, including your ability to work.
Getting a diagnosis may also help if you are considering applying for disability benefits.You may also be eligible for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act . Disability benefits or unpaid leave can offer you the time you need to work on your anxiety and then re-enter the workforce from a stronger position.
A Lack Of Career Progress Can Cause People To Get Bored And Leave
Without direction and career progress, your team can start to feel anxiety if left unaddressed. They may begin to wonder what their future is with your company.
That’s because the urge to make progress is one of our most important driving forces.
Your employees want to know the direction they’re heading and that there’s a path forward for them at your company. A 2019 study by InsideOut Development has shown more than 75% of Gen Zers believe they should be promoted within their first year on the job.
While it may be unreasonable to promote someone that quickly, if you don’t manage their expectations and help them understand what a real path looks like, that’s what they’ll expect.
Keep in mind that it’s not just Gen Z that wants career growth it applies to all generations.
According to Universum Global’s Generations series 2017 study, the majority of each generation want the same thing – to grow in their career and become a leader.
If you don’t help your team make long-term career plans with actionable steps, they are likely to feel like they’re stalling out…which leads to them thinking about seeking growth at another company and leaving yours.
Recommended Reading: How Can I Calm My Anxiety Naturally
Focus On Something Else
Social anxiety usually isn’t a small, lingering feeling in the back of your mind it’s all-present. The more you think about your work anxiety, the more power it seems to have. If you want to get a handle on your nervous thoughts, try to focus your attention elsewhere. You can’t think about two things at once, right? So replace the stream of anxious thoughts with something else.
Do you get panicky when you enter a room of people? “When walking into a room, look for all the colors of the rainbow in the room,” says Andrea Dindinger, LMFT, a marriage and family therapist in San Francisco. “Give your brain a task to focus on instead of the anxiety and fear creeping up. Tell your anxiety that you’re putting it on hold while you look for red, orange, and yellow. This lets your anxiety know that you’re in charge.”
Another way to take your mind off of those social pressures is to implement a daily box breathing practice. “Inhale up the side of an imaginary box for three to five seconds, hold your breath for three to five seconds across the top of the box, then exhale for three to five seconds down the side of the box and hold your breath for three to five seconds across the bottom of the box,” she explains. “Repeat as many times as you can until you can be present with all four sides of the breathing box.”
Whether you’re playing rainbow “I Spy” or working on your breathing, focusing on something else will give your social anxiety less power.
How To Manage Anxiety At Work
- 8th October
If you struggle with anxiety, there is a good chance that these feelings have a detrimental impact on your day-to-day working life. Managing anxiety can be difficult enough at the best of times, let alone when you are also having to contend with the pressures that a professional environment can place on you.
For many years, anxiety and mental health issues have been somewhat overlooked as a workplace concern, but in more recent times, businesses and their workers have become more aware of just how serious a problem it can be. Labour Force Survey data from 2017-18 revealed that 595,000 workers across the UK suffer from some kind of work-related anxiety, depression or stress, resulting in the loss of 15.4 million working days.
At Lanes Group, we are dedicated to fostering more open conversations about mental health in the workplace, and have won a Water Industry Achievement Award and an Institute of Water South East Region Innovation Award for our pioneering workplace wellbeing programmes. As such, were keen to share our expertise, which is why weve put together a few tips on how to deal with anxiety at work when it all starts to feel too much.
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Give Yourself A Pep Talk
Work anxiety is often rooted in fear the fear that you’ll mess up, embarrass yourself, or bother your coworkers. Though it can be easy to let those thoughts dominate your time in the office, Wind challenges you to kick any negativity to the curb. “Don’t fixate on thoughts that you’re going to fail your interview or bomb the presentation,” he explains. “Don’t let your inner critic tell you that you’re the only problem in this situation. The workplace is a stressful setting for everyone.”
Instead of worrying about that big presentation, remind yourself that you’re thoroughly prepared and know what you’re talking about. Or, if you’re nervous about meeting new coworkers, remember that all you have to do is be yourself .
If you want to keep that positivity going all day long, recite a mantra when you’re feeling a little tense. Not only can a mantra put your mind at ease, but it can also let you hit the fresh button on any anxious thoughts.
Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
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Managing Stress During The Interview
Job interviews are stressful for most people. Even if you’ve interviewed a lot, it can still be challenging to stay calm and collected. You’re meeting new people in a new environment, and you’re trying to sell your credentials to someone who might be your next boss.
A big part of handling stress is preparation. Be sure to research the company in advance and practice answering common interview questions. The more you practice, the more comfortable youll feel in the interview.
You can also reduce stress by avoiding negative thinking . Instead, visualize having a successful interview . Do this visualization in the hours right before the interview.
Use these relaxation techniques. If you start to feel stressed just before the interview, try taking a deep breath or two to relax. During the interview, feel free to take a breath or a sip of water before answering a question. This will give you some time to compose yourself and prepare your answer.
Watch your body language. Your body language during the interview can also help convey that you’re relaxed. Try to avoid fidgeting too much. Stand up straight and look the interviewer in the eye . By appearing calm and confident, you are more likely to feel calm and confident.
Being able to effectively handle a stressful job interview will indicate to employers that you’ll also be able to handle workplace stress.