Anxiety In The Workplace
Anxiety at work could be caused by difficulties at home: An argument with your spouse, financial concerns, or simply being overtired can contribute to our level of stress and anxiety. Performance anxiety can be particularly challenging in a workplace because it is directly relevant.
The anxiety that we experience about our abilities to accomplish specific tasks related to our jobs can be made worse by tougher consequences for failure, less social support, lack of participation and involvement at work, and hectic job demands6. These stressors have an additive effect: The longer you are exposed to them, the worse the outcomes will be.
How Does Anxiety Affect People In The Workplace
According to a survey conducted by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, many people with anxiety disorders find it hard to deal with tasks and responsibilities at the office.
Having an anxiety disorder can make it hard for people with a job to work efficiently. This can also affect a person’s chances of being promoted or accepted for a new role. Put together, this information can put a lot of pressure on employees with work anxiety, which can then make the issue worse.
Here are some of the many consequences of anxiety in the workplace:
- Loss of sleep
- A general decline in health
- The development of long-term health issues
- Decrease in quality of workplace culture
- Inability to form or maintain working relationships
- Physical danger if any heavy machinery is involved
- Emotional outbursts and general irritability
As you can tell, this list covers multiple facets of an employees life, which means it can also cover multiple facets of their work too.
How To Manage Workplace Anxiety
Should you recognise any of these symptoms, take steps to reduce job stress by taking care of yourself.
When stress interferes with your ability to perform in your job, manage your personal life or adversely impacts your health, its time to take action. By protecting your physical and emotional health, youll become stronger and more resilient to stress. Essentially, the better you feel, the better equipped you are to manage workplace anxiety.
The good news is that even minor changes can make a difference. Managing stress doesnt mean a total lifestyle overhaul. A range of positive changes will greatly impact your stress levels over time.
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Communicate With A Trusted Coworker Or Manager
If you’re feeling anxious, have an honest talk with a coworker or manager. Transparent and direct communication can provide them insight into your feelings and how anxiety may affect your work habits. This can also give a coworker or manager the ability to empathize with your situation so they can give you helpful advice or feedback to relieve anxious feelings.
How To Eliminate Workplace Anxiety
Eliminating workplace stressors is beneficial to employees and employers. By working to eliminate them, the likelihood of employee absenteeism, organizational dysfunction, and lost work productivity will decrease7. So how do we do this? How can we reduce the anxiety in the workplace? These efforts can come from two places: management and employee.
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Social Anxiety Can Be Managed
As someone with social anxiety, Ive often felt frustrated about being so sensitive around others. But Hendriksen assured me that its this sensitivity that can help me move forward. If we step back and look beyond the fact that those with social anxiety care about what other people think of them, we realize that they simply care about people, she said. There is a great deal of empathy and need for connection there. We can tap into that. The goal is to slowly and at your own pace experiment with new ways of navigating social situations.
Here are some strategies that she recommended.
Adopt A Confidentiality Policy
Once an employee opens up about any concern of theirs, whether physical or mental, it is really important employers ensure any information on the matter is kept strictly confidential. Unless you believe the individual or someone is in danger.
Talking about how we feel can come with challenges for a lot of us, and trust is an important element of this. Ensure all conversations with anyone about their mental health is done in a private and comfortable space and consider the employees well being throughout the entire process.
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What Are Some Common Causes Of Anxiety At Work
While there can be many reasons for a person to experience anxiety, there is hope for solving environmental and circumstantial causes of anxiety at work. Whether youre managing a remote team or in charge of your companys HR projects, you can make an impact by simply understanding the root causes of anxiety at work. The most common factors that impact workplace anxiety include:
1. Unrealistic expectations
Whether its their workload or performance, if an employee feels as if the expectations put upon them are not possible, theyre likely going to get anxious over it. The goal is to make them feel that they are being challenged within their abilities while also being set up for success.
2. Long hours or odd schedules
An extra hour here or there may not have lasting effects on an individual. But repeatedly being asked to stay late or working in a culture where overwork is expected isnt sustainable for most people, let alone those dealing with anxiety. In addition to long hours, odd schedules such as random overnights or time zone adjustments of more than two hours can also take a toll if employees dont have a fair amount of time to adjust.
3. Interpersonal conflict
Interpersonal conflict is often created as a result of office romances or office rivalries . While managers cant stop people from engaging on a personal level, they can keep their fingers on the pulse of employee relationships and work to keep the environment friendly for everyone.
4. Poor communication
Symptoms Of Workplace Stress And Anxiety
The first step to managing stress and anxiety is to be aware of your symptoms:
When we are stressed and anxious we often experience negative automatic thoughts . These are:
NATs can follow certain patterns of unhelpful thinking styles:
Worrying is common when you feel stressed and anxious. It is a thought process in which you predict that an outcome of a future event will be negative because the outcome is currently uncertain. This makes you feel stressed and anxious.
If you are worrying a lot you may:
- Avoid things which are causing you to worry or you may distract yourself.
- Believe that the worry is helpful because you feel as though things are under control when you worry.
- Believe that the worry is making you unwell thus escalating the worry.
- Use a lot of your time and energy worrying whilst other responsibilities build up.
There are two types of worry – practical and hypothetical worries:
Hypothetical worries are usually the most distressing for an individual because there is usually no solution.
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Communicate With The People Around You
When youre struggling with anxiety, its tempting to hide it from those around you especially in the workplace. But its important to communicate with your boss or coworkers when youre feeling anxious.
You dont have to tell anyone you have anxiety if you dont want to. But at the very least, telling people whats causing you stress can help the situation. Sometimes just saying to someone, Im worried I wont get this done before the deadline can help relieve enough pressure to get you through the day. And better yet, someone may have a solution to help get you through it.
For me, being open about my anxiety at work has been both positive and negative. At some jobs, my bosses and coworkers used it against me to make me feel weak or incompetent. But today, Im lucky to have a boss thats both supportive and understanding. Whenever I feel overwhelmingly anxious, I tell her, and we work together to find a solution that helps me get the job done without having a panic attack.
How To Manage Your Anger At Work
Were all a little angrier these days. The sustained level of stress and fear you experience every day when youre under pressure depletes your emotional resources, making you much more likely to get mad, even at minor provocations. While were often told that anger is harmful, irrational, and should be suppressed, there are ways to channel it productively. Research shows that getting mad can spark creativity, motivate you to advocate for yourself, and help you perform better in competitive circumstances. The authors offer six strategies to use anger in more positive ways, including acknowledging that a violation took place, identifying the specific needs behind your emotion, and avoiding excessive venting.
After two years of navigating a global pandemic, tensions are high. While conducting research for our book Big Feelings, we heard from readers who told us that theyd recently lost their cool over all kinds of seemingly small triggers: inconsistent WiFi, an email from their boss that just read ?, or a coworker pinging them at 4:45 pm asking for a quick favor.
When we face chronic stress or trauma, our brain rewires the rage circuits, explains neuroscientist R. Douglas Fields. In other words, the sustained level of stress and fear you experience every day when youre under pressure depletes your emotional resources, making you much more likely to get mad, even at minor provocations.
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Is New Job Anxiety Normal
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a little anxiety is normal. It keeps you focused. However, too much worry can prevent you from doing a good job.2
Its normal to be concerned about job security along with job-related issues like childcare, finances, work/life balance, managing your schedule, and even whether the company is viable.3
Many firms offer onboarding to ensure that you:4
- Feel welcome, valued, and accepted
- Understand and are prepared to meet the job requirements
- Get the training and support you need to be productive
Boost Your Time Away From Work
Strive to create a life filled with relationships, events, and activities outside of work that bring you joy, peace, and happiness, Kerfoot recommends. She goes on to explain that a fulfilling life outside of work can:
- minimize the impact of that work-related stress
- build up your resilience in times of stress
- crowd out work-related thoughts
To get started, consider the people, places, and pastimes that bring you joy and calm. How can you add them to your days?
If youre dealing with workplace anxiety, professional support can be incredibly helpful.
How do you know when help from a therapist might have benefit?
Theres no right or wrong time to connect with a therapist, Palacios says, so this decision will be unique to everyone.
In general, however, she recommends seeking professional help when you want your life to be different but you havent found it possible to make changes on your own.
Specifically, Palacios says, this could mean you:
- worry so much you cant function, meet deadlines, or complete tasks
- find it difficult to fall or stay asleep
- feel nervous, edgy, and unlike yourself
- find your usual coping strategies no longer help
- need to take more time off than usual and begin planning your next days off as soon as you return to work
A therapist can offer support with:
- pinpointing triggers
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How To Overcome Work Anxiety
Work anxiety is never just work anxiety. It often bleeds into your home and personal life, and if it continues without management for too long, you may also develop anxiety that often lasts long after you leave your job.
While all of these characteristics might not apply to you, the information should still provide you with tips of how to properly manage your anxiety at work. For the purpose of this article, we will make a few assumptions, which include the following:
- You are currently at a job you cannot leave, because you have not obtained a new job or you need to stay for family reasons.
- You are employed for a company that utilizes cubicles or offices. Despite not fitting the mold exactly, retail, restaurant, and work-from-home jobs should still relate and be relevant based on the suggestions below but how you integrate them may change.
- You are good at your career. Having high career aspirations is still a very important aspect of overcoming anxiety. If you fail to even try to succeed at work, it can impact your anxiety negatively.
- You are not anxious about finances this kind of work anxiety is related to a different kind of anxiety in general. Financial anxiety can be overcome by changing priorities and properly budgeting. We understand that some of you are not paid what you are worth, which can incite anxiety. However, for the sake of this article, we will assume your finances are stable or not a cause of anxiousness.
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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.
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