Keep Anxiety Under Control With These 5 Tips
Anxiety disorders affect about 20% of adults in the United States and are the most common form of mental illness. They develop from a complex set of factors including life events, brain chemistry and family history, and can lead to other problems, including depression. Anxiety in the workplace can have a major impact on performance and career prospects.
The pressure to meet deadlines, maintain high standards and maintain good relationships with colleagues are just some of the factors causing stress in the modern workplace. In some cases, this can lead to anxiety disorders. If you feel you may be suffering from one, there are ways you can manage stress and anxiety at work before speaking to a therapist or turning to medication.
1) Recognize the triggers and symptoms.
Stress is a part of everyday life, but it affects people in different ways. In small doses it can be good in the workplace, giving you a boost of motivation to get something done. However, if you have feelings of being overwhelmed or losing control, your stress levels can lead to anxiety disorders and other problems.
Chest pains, upset stomach and headaches are just some of the body’s warning signs that your stress levels are rising. Pay attention to these and other indications that you may need a break. Lack of concentration, forgetfulness and becoming irritable with colleagues are other signs of workplace anxiety. A walk around the block or a few minutes of deep breathing may help you regain control once you feel the warning signs.
2) Stay organized.
Workplace anxiety often stems from a feeling of having too much to do in a day. By organizing yourself and keeping your work area clear from clutter you can reduce this. Set deadlines for yourself and schedule time in the day for key projects and important tasks. Filing things so that you can access them when you need them is another simple way of reducing stress in your day. If staying on top of emails is a problem, look at ways of automating replies and filtering out messages you don’t need to see.
3) Learn to say no.
The desire to maintain a positive profile at work and be seen as a candidate for promotion often leads to people taking on more work than they can cope with. This, in turn, can lead to workplace anxiety as deadlines loom and the volume of work becomes unmanageable. Don’t be afraid to say no to your boss or co-workers if you believe you’ll struggle to do what they ask. If you’re already swamped, explain in a positive way that you’re at full capacity with other work and wouldn’t want to let them down by taking on things you won’t be able to complete. If they’re reasonable, people will respect your honesty and won’t see this as a weakness.
4) Ask for help.
If your work load is constantly something giving you anxiety at work, ask for some help. This could involve asking your co-workers to support you or explaining to your boss that you need extra manpower to meet deadlines and maintain standards. You may feel that some extra training or coaching will make you more effective at work, so think about other forms of help you could ask for.
5) Set boundaries and take time out.
Taking work home or logging onto work emails at weekends are signs that you’ve lost the balance between work and a home life. It’s fine to do this occasionally, such as when an important deadline is due, but working outside hours regularly is an unhealthy habit. Some employers come to expect this, so set your boundaries and don’t give up the time you should be relaxing away from work.
Employees perform better at work when both their physical and mental health are in good shape. If anxiety at work is affecting you, take some steps to get it under control before it develops into something more serious.