Anxiety is a significant obstacle standing in the way of many in the workplace. It can hold us down, keep us from seeking advancement, even prevent us from communicating effectively with our peers. Generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and other well-known types affect millions of Americans across the country every day, both at home and in the workplace. You can be successful despite the anxiety, even though it doesn’t feel this way at the time. Read on to learn practical methods for helping you cope.
(If you’re dealing with anxiety in the workplace and wondering if you should seek a diagnosis, visit https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/blog/anxiety for more information.)
Stress and Anxiety are Different
Everyone gets a little stressed by work from time to time. Some people get stressed much of the time! That’s expected but different than anxiety. All forms of anxiety involve persistent dread or worry that can become very challenging to ignore. Sometimes the fear and worry become overwhelming, direct interfering with your ability to do your job effectively.
Don’t Be Ashamed
Living with anxiety can present challenges, but you are not alone. People all around you live with anxiety, too. Unfortunately, the stigma around mental illness is so pervasive; many people hide their fear and worry from others — the exact opposite of what they should be doing. To cope effectively with anxiety, you must feel comfortable talking about it. It could be one person or a close-knit group of support you share with. As long as you talk about it, you’ll start finding others who can relate 100% with you.
Understand what You’re Dealing With
If you started having severe pain in your leg, you wouldn’t go on forever without addressing it? You’d take a sick day from work and see the doctor, as you should also do with anxiety. If you don’t have a diagnosis and haven’t taken the time to understand what anxiety is all about, then you’re not taking care of your body and mind.
Understanding your anxiety is the key to coping with it effectively, particularly at work. You may see that anxiety is an underlying factor in more decisions you make than you initially thought.
Using Coping Strategies
Just because you’re living with anxiety doesn’t mean you can’t excel, communicate, or be productive at work, at the very least. Understand precisely how fear and worry shapes your work behavior and plan accordingly.
Planning for future projects or events can help ease anxiety around it, such as learning as much as you can about an upcoming conference and meeting some prior attendees so you can become more comfortable attending on your own in the future. Or, if the boss has chosen you to head an upcoming meeting, you can plan by mapping out all of the discussion points.
Share Your Struggle with a Coworker
If there is someone at work you trust, tell them about the anxiety you live with. That coworker can provide a shoulder of support for you and help you feel less alone in the workplace. They may also know someone else who has similar struggles and can relate.
Give Yourself Breaks
It’s okay to walk away for a few minutes to get some fresh air, so your mind has a chance to reset. Sometimes workplace environments can become pretty intense. If you feel your anxiety peaking, take a break. Practice breathing, meditation, or mindfulness to get back to a good space.
If you’re battling feelings of fear and worry, the thing that’s serving as a catalyst for that anxiety can easily find its way to the back burner. It may feel good to put that task away, so you don’t have to deal with the anxiety associated with it. Guaranteed, the anxiety will come back tenfold when you’ve waited until the last minute to get it done, especially once coworkers start asking why it isn’t done yet.