Katie Brenneman 3m 865 #anxiety
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
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Workplace anxiety is a very real thing, fueled by stress, performance pressure, and even unhealthy workplace environments. In 2019, 94% of American workers reported experiencing stress in the workplace. While a little stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to excessive worry, fear, and anxious thoughts.
Additionally, it’s estimated that nearly 20% of adults already struggle with an anxiety disorder. If you’re stressed at work, it could trigger your anxiety and make it difficult to perform properly. Unfortunately, that often creates a vicious cycle – the worse your performance, the more anxious you’ll become.
So, what can you do to combat work-induced anxiety? How can you enjoy your job without living in a state of constant worry?
Let’s take a closer look at what work-induced anxiety really looks like, and some tips you can use to overcome it.
Recognizing the Signs of Work-Induced Anxiety
The first step in combatting work-induced anxiety is recognizing what it looks like.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. However, it often looks different from person to person. To find out how anxiety might be manifesting in you, consider what’s triggering you. One of the best ways to do that is through mind mapping.
Mind mapping allows you to sift through your thoughts and identify things that cause stress and worry. Use these steps to help you get started with your own map:
- Note how you feel
- Identify areas of concern
- Move from general feelings to specific ones
- Assess and analyze
When you recognize your triggers, you’ll be able to do a better job of avoiding them. If you’re having a hard time finding out what your work triggers are, consider some of the common symptoms of work-induced anxiety, including:
- Constant worry
- Feeling like you need to be perfect
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping at night
- Losing interest in work
By connecting the dots between your symptoms and triggers, you’ll get a better handle on what’s causing the most mental harm, allowing you to take active steps to fight back against those things.
How to Manage Workplace Anxiety
So, if you recognize that you’re dealing with workplace anxiety, what can you do about it?
First, it’s important to decide whether it’s time to find a different place to work. Your anxiety isn’t going to go away if you’re involved in a toxic work environment. Some of the biggest red flags of a toxic workplace include:
- High turnover rates
- Fear of retribution
- No confidence in leadership
- No trust between colleagues
- Fear of sharing your thoughts and opinions
While you can (and should) address these issues, they won’t always change when an environment has been in place for a long time. If that’s the case, the best thing you can do is leave that environment.
However, if your anxiety is being triggered by too much stress or other situations at work, taking small steps to fight back can make a big difference.
Start by taking more breaks throughout the day. Stepping away from your desk can help to boost your energy, improve your focus and productivity, and even improve your mood. You can capitalize on your breaks by getting physically active or going outside. A short walk can reduce stress, make you feel happier, and even improve your creativity when you get back to work.
Practices like mindfulness, meditation, and even stopping to talk to co-workers can all serve as strong stress-management techniques that will keep your anxiety in check. Find what works for you, both at work and at home, to take care of your mental well-being. The more you prioritize it, the less anxious you’ll feel.
When to Seek Help
If self-care or the management techniques listed above don’t work, consider reaching out for help.
Try talking to the Human Resources professional in your workplace. Express your concerns and what you’re dealing with. They might not be able to change the workplace environment, but they could be willing to offer you some time off or more flexibility in your schedule.
If you’re still struggling with anxiety, consider talking to a therapist or counselor. It’s not always easy to uncover the root cause of anxious thoughts on your own. That’s exactly what therapy can help with. Getting to the underlying issues is the best way to fight back against anxiety, and though it can be a difficult journey, it’s necessary to go through it to find freedom.
You might also consider trying group therapy or talking with others who are struggling with similar anxieties in the workplace. It’s important to know that you’re not alone and hearing other people’s stories and solutions can help you realize it’s possible to overcome your worries.
Work-induced anxiety needs to be taken seriously. If you don’t address it, it can start to impact other areas of your life, and eventually consume your thoughts. Keep these suggestions in mind to identify the signs of workplace anxiety, and don’t hesitate to take action as soon as possible.
~ Katie Brenneman