How to Cope with Anxiety at Work

Stress. Woman stressed is going crazy pulling her hair in frustration. Close-up of young businesswoman on white.

There are a variety of reasons why so many people suffer with anxiety, which is one of the most common mental health disorders. Life can certainly be stressful, and daily life can contain quite a bit of hardship. But whether you have been diagnosed with clinical anxiety or you are simply experiencing feelings of stress, unease, and anxiety when you are at work because of the environment that you are in and the people you are around, doing something about it is necessary. Otherwise, your symptoms could get worse and your health could end up suffering as a result.

On top of that, the information below might also help guide you in the right direction. Continue reading for a few steps you can take to reduce your anxiety and make your work life easier on your mind.

Take Note of When You Feel Anxious

Experts recommend checking in with your feelings while you are at work, especially during those instances when you start to feel anxious. Try to examine your feelings objectively so that you can try to figure out what it is that’s causing your anxiety.

Notice what happens when anxious feelings arise, what you are usually thinking about when you start to feel dread, who is around you, and what you are doing when you start to feel uneasy. These steps might help you pinpoint the causes of your anxiety, and doing so could give you the power to address those problems head-on so you can reduce or even eliminate your anxiety.

Take a Few Breaks and Try to Relax

If you are starting to feel anxious while working, see if you could walk away from the situation for a few minutes and take a short break to ease your mind. Change the scenery or change the pace at which you are working, as both may help you feel more at ease.

You could also implement some relaxation strategies while you are at work if you start to feel overwhelmed. For example, breathing deep into your belly may help slow down the nervous system. Practicing a quick 5-minute meditation, whether that’s a guided meditation on your iPod or a simple mindfulness meditation that brings your mind into the present moment, could also be helpful. You could even take a few minutes to practice some tai chi or yoga movements to ease body and mind.

Avoid Caffeine

Consuming too much caffeine might make your anxiety symptoms worse, so rather than drinking coffee all day long starting in the morning, just have a cup maybe in the middle of the afternoon as a pick-me-up. If you reduce your caffeine intake, you might be able to manage your anxiety better.

Talk to a Trustworthy Friend

If you suffer with anxiety, it is up to you whether or not you tell your employer. Telling them will ensure that they are aware of your condition, and they can have an understanding of what you are going through or provide you with necessary accommodations. They can’t fire you just because you have anxiety, especially if you are still able to complete your assigned tasks and do them well.

Another option would be to talk to a trusted coworker about your stress and anxiety on the job. Simply knowing that there is someone there who knows how you feel, accepts how you feel, and is willing to talk it out with you can be extremely helpful.

Don’t have anyone to talk to about your anxiety at work? Then talk to a trusted family member or friend. The key here is to have a social support system in place with people you can open up to. Just talking it out could help you manage your stress more effectively.

Obviously, not everybody is lucky enough to have someone they feel like they can talk to openly, and so maybe looking for an online advice service such as would be more helpful. If the advice and guides on this website are not enough, they have made sure to include an urgent help and contacts page with a number of helpline options.

Seek Professional Help

There is absolutely no shame in seeking professional help, especially when your anxiety and stress at the workplace have become irrational, overwhelming, and persistent. When you have tried other strategies and they have failed, talking to your doctor to receive a mental health assessment is a smart step. You could also speak with a psychologist who could help you better understand your feelings and what you can do about them. Remember, if you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you aren’t alone, and there are treatment options available to help you get back on track and start to love your job again.

Finally, keep in mind that everyone gets stressed out at work, sometimes even on a regular basis. This is considered normal, especially if you work in a position that is inherently stressful and fast-paced. But if your stress level and your anxiety start to get in the way of your ability to function every day, it is a more serious problem that needs to be addressed.

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