It’s perfectly normal to experience some stress or anxiety at work. At times it can even be a good thing. For example, when you have a pressing deadline, those anxious feelings can motivate you to work harder and be more productive.
However, anxiety in the workplace is a problem if it becomes constant and affects your ability to do your job. At that point, what you’re dealing with is an anxiety disorder. It may affect your concentration, cause you to dread stepping into the office every morning, and seep into other aspects of your life outside of work.
So if you are struggling with anxiety on the job, here’s what you need to know.
When Anxiety at Work Becomes a Problem
If you’re not sure if you are dealing with normal, run-of-the-mill anxiety, or an issue that you need to address, here are some of the signs and symptoms to look for.
Anxiety at work should be addressed if the symptoms become severe and persistent. That can include psychological symptoms such as:
- Fear and a sense of impending doom
- Difficulty concentrating
It can also include physical symptoms such as:
- Rapid heart rate or chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- Muscle aches and tension
How to Overcome Anxiety at Work
Here are some measures you can take to reduce your anxiety at work:
Identify Your Triggers
An essential part of overcoming anxiety is having a clear understanding of what causes it. Even if the trigger is something you can’t change (like that your workload is too heavy or you get anxious about dealing with a difficult coworker), identifying it is the first step towards making a strategy for handling it.
Tell a Trusted Coworker
Telling someone at work that you’re suffering from anxiety can make you more comfortable with it. As opposed to feeling ashamed and keeping your anxiety secret, it can be comforting to know that someone else at work accepts your condition.
Use Time Management Techniques
Having a heavy workload and tight deadlines are among the most common causes of anxiety in the workplace. In those cases, time management techniques can help you stay on top of your duties and remove some of the stress. It can be as simple as creating a concise to-do list every morning and actually sticking to it!
Tackle Difficult Tasks Head On
Simply avoiding coworkers or situations that make you anxious can actually make the problem worse. For example, if you stop replying to emails that you don’t know how to answer, or avoid a coworker after a disagreement, your anxiety can grow as you anticipate the time when you’ll eventually have to face the issue.
So answer those difficult emails immediately, and try to resolve issues with coworkers as soon as possible. Getting those tasks off your plate can go a long way towards reducing anxiety.
Get Professional Help
If these measures don’t help reduce your feelings of anxiety, you should consider getting professional help. Mental health therapy is effective at treating anxiety disorders. Typically, these disorders are treated with a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.
This type of talk therapy aims to help you control the negative thoughts that contribute to anxiety, realize how some of your fears are irrational, and get you more comfortable with the things that make you anxious.
At Activa Clinics, we have a team of psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors who can help you through your anxiety. Try our Mental Health Programs if you don’t want to continue living in fear at work!