Anxiety is a physical or biological response to perceived threats or dangers, so it is not surprising that the workplace with its deadlines, rivalries and uncertainty, is a prime cause of anxiety in adults. Around 40 million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety and the trials and tribulations of the workplace is often a main cause of anxiety or a trigger for existing anxieties to come to the fore. If you are dealing with anxiety in the workplace, here are a few proven techniques for beating it and regaining equilibrium:
Get More Sleep
The stresses and strains of work can interfere with sleep which can make it impossible to feel rested. This can cause even more stress, resulting in a vicious circle of stress and anxiety in and out of the workplace. Combat this by creating a relaxing sleep routine; turn off the TV or computer an hour before you retire, drink soothing chamomile tea, have a hot bath and take a magnesium supplement. If you still struggle to drift off, consider consulting with your doctor.
Don’t Engage in Avoidance Behavior
Many people who are stressed in the workplace will engage in avoidance behaviors. By avoiding doing the things that cause them the most stress, such as talking to the boss or making important phone calls they actually ramp up their anxieties further. They begin to worry about not doing the thing they need to do as much as they are worrying about doing it and this can lead to intrusive thoughts about the task. If this rings a bell with you, it’s time to take charge, identify your avoidance behaviors, and with the help of a sympathetic friend or colleague, take steps to start doing them.
If a project feels so overwhelming that it causes you anxiety, try breaking it up into smaller parts. By creating a step-by-step plan for completing the project, you can take some of the fear away as you work on more manageable chunks. Try to schedule the most important/time-sensitive tasks first, so you can get them out of the way and you won’t have to worry about them for too long. This will have the added bonus of making the rest of the project more enjoyable.
Steer Clear of Drama
Another way to avoid anxiety in the workplace is to steer clear of office drama. Participating in gossip is a sure-fire way to become the topic of gossip and therefore be pulled into a cycle of drama. Do not be tempted to involve yourself. By sticking to facts rather than opinions and not commenting, you help remove yourself from this detrimental activity, avoid feeling guilty, and help to surround yourself with more positivity. This also helps those around you to feel as if they can trust you since they’ll realize you don’t involve yourself in antics. You may find yourself earning respect from others, feeling more confident and building friendships which can all help reduce anxiety.
Once the working day is done, turn off your phone, forget about your emails and avoid answering work calls. That way, you will get a break from work-related thinking, which will give your anxiety time to dissipate. Studies have shown that breaching of the work-home boundary and a culture where we are always expected to be contactable by work is a prime cause of stress, and therefore anxiety. It stands to reason that drawing up your boundaries and ensuring that your company knows you won’t be contactable between, for example, 7pm and 7am will be an effective way to keep your anxiety under control.
Take control of your workplace anxiety by trying these techniques and free up your time and mind to complete tasks with confidence.