How To Deal With Anxiety At Work Employment
Anxiety is a feeling we have all encountered at some point in our lives. It is sometimes described as worry or apprehension, and is actually an essential emotion. That is because anxiety helps us to identify potential threats and respond to them in the right way.
With that in mind, it’s important to understand that anxiety is normal, albeit unsettling. And in some cases, it is appropriate and in proportion with the situation. The physical response that comes with anxiety can help us think faster, move faster, perform better or respond quicker to what is happening around us.
That being said, sometimes anxiety is debilitating, achieving the opposite of what it’s supposed to. When this happens, dealing with the problem and finding ways to better cope with anxiety can help to alleviate its physical and mental effects allowing an individual to cope better in certain situations.
Anxiety At Work
Feeling anxious while at work is not uncommon. Working to deadlines, dealing with customer complaints, conflict, or high pressure situations can all cause anxiety. And, if left unchecked, anxiety can have a marked effect on your performance, or even spread to your life outside of work too.
If you are suffering from anxiety at work, it’s important to find a way to cope with it, or minimise it. This can be achieved in a number of ways, which we will cover below.
Dealing With Anxiety At Work
Find The Root Cause
If you aren’t normally an anxious person, it is likely that something is causing you to feel anxious right now. It is also likely that, if this is addressed, your anxiety will reduce to a more manageable level.
The key to facing this down is to find the root cause of your anxiety. It may be that you have a big presentation coming up that you don’t feel capable of doing, or you have too much work to do and not enough time to do it. Really dig deep and try and understand what is causing your anxiety by making a list of all the things you are worrying about at the moment and giving them a score of 1-10. 1 being ‘I don’t feel anxious about this at all’ and 10 being ‘I can’t stop worrying about this.’
Ask For Help
We all take on too much sometimes. Whether you’re eager to show that you’re capable or feel like you can’t say no, when too much piles up on your plate it can feel overwhelming and impossible.
Whatever the cause of your anxiety, if you can pin point the root cause then ask for help with it. It may be that the thing you are worrying about is easily dealt with, or certain measures can be put into place to help you cope.
There is absolutely no shame in asking for help when you are feeling anxious or worried. These feelings show you care about your job, your role, and your work, and your boss will understand that in asking for help you want to do the best job possible. So speak up and ask for support when you need it – you’ll be surprised at how good it makes you feel when you share a problem with someone else.
Make A Plan
If you’re feeling anxious about something, it’s most likely that you’re overthinking it and dreaming up a whole host of worst case scenarios. In dwelling on something for too long you’re more likely to find yourself fretting even more about each one. If this is the case, try and take it all out of your head and make a plan.
If you have a task you need to take on that feels big and overwhelming, make a plan by breaking it down into smaller chunks. If the chunks feel overwhelming, break them down again until they feel manageable. The simple task of making a to do list that helps you tackle these bite-sized jobs can be enough to focus your mind and empower you with the belief that you can do it.
If you find yourself feeling anxious about something that is beyond your control, try and think of the situation only in terms of the facts. For example, if you make a mistake and find yourself worrying uncontrollably about how your employer responds to this mistake then do what you can by controlling what you can. Often our brains will go to the worst case scenario when something goes wrong, and often this is disproportionate to what will actually happen.
When you take the time and really think logically about what might happen following a mistake, you’ll most likely realise that the consequences aren’t as bad as you imagined.
Mindfulness can be practised anywhere – even at work! It’s all about being present in the moment rather than letting yourself be overtaken and overwhelmed by your thoughts. So, if you find yourself feeling anxious at work, consider learning some mindfulness techniques to help you cope.
This can be as simple as deep breathing and paying more attention to your surroundings as you work, or making a point to take a walk outside at lunchtime and get away from your desk. To find out more about mindfulness, take a look at our guide on how to practice mindfulness.
Coping With Anxiety At Work
Anxiety, worry and apprehension are all normal feelings, and we cannot eradicate them totally – nor would we want to. They are actually helpful tools that assist us in dangerous, or high pressure, situations and sometimes allow us to achieve things we never thought possible.
However, anxiety can also be crippling. And in these cases, devising strategies for coping with anxiety is essential. If you are feeling particularly anxious at work, or in day-to-day life, then getting help and speaking to someone (like your GP) is the first and best step. Living in silence will not make it better, however talking about your worries and learning strategies to help you cope with them can make a significant difference.
At Building Better Opportunities, we offer a wide range of training courses and events that can help you deal with anxiety at work. For more information, contact us today or drop in to one of our work clubs in Stafford or South Staffordshire to discuss our programmes with an Advocate.