Work Anxiety: 6 Tips to Manage Anxiety at Work
Work-related anxiety is becoming more and more common nowadays.
An increasing number of people are displaying the signs of stress caused by mounting responsibilities in their workplace.
According to a recent study, 70 out of 100 adults experience stress or anxiety on a daily basis at work.
Many things at work leave you feeling frantic and distressed.
Maybe it is the pressure of completing a difficult project on time.
Or, you have to frequently work for long hours well beyond the normal pack up time.
You are not getting the promotion which you thoroughly deserve.
On the other hand, you have got the promotion, but now the extra duties have made life rather difficult for you.
Or, you are feeling the heat due to the growing requirements of your boss. It seems like you are not doing the job, but the job has totally consumed you.
You are overwhelmed and stressed no matter what the reason. Your work anxiety can also start affecting your personal life.
Instead of giving due time and attention to your family, you keep thinking about office affairs.
You do not or cannot eat much. You just keep laying in the bed worrying about your to-do list.
To make matters worse, you cannot even enjoy your weekend with a peace of mind because you are obsessed with the thoughts of tasks you have to complete on Monday morning.
You cannot just relax despite how hard you try.
It is pretty common to experience anxiety at work.
You are not the only one in the world with this problem.
However, there is a good news for you.
You can regain control of your work and life by introducing some small changes to your daily routine.
As a result, you can relax not only in your free time, but at your work as well.
REASONS OF WORK ANXIETY
Before we talk about how to beat anxiety at work, let us discuss some of the biggest reasons why you can suffer from the anxiety in your office.
This type of anxiety stems from a number of things such as fears of judgment or insufficiency, communication with your boss and peers, and working conditions.
In fact, a wide variety of factors cause workplace anxiety. In some cases, anxiety is more debilitating and severe than others.
The anxiety at work is different from stress because it is not a body’s natural response to fear.
It adversely affects a person’s ability to perform his duties diligently or at least satisfactorily.
More importantly, it impinges on an individual’s motivation, satisfaction, and mental focus.
The stress, on the other hand, can be productive and healthy, making it important for you to distinguish between the two.
The most common types of work anxieties you can suffer from are as follows.
- Fear of speaking in meetings or public speaking.
- Fear of working in a team.
- You are always worried about meeting your deadlines.
- You worry that your work will not be up to the required standards.
- Fear of being judged.
- Fear of interacting with higher authorities.
- Fear of being humiliated.
- You avoid committing to new tasks.
- Fear of being promoted. You actually think you cannot fulfill the responsibilities associated with the promotion.
Your performance as well your social wellbeing can have a nosedive if you do not address any or all of these fears.
When left unchecked, they keep on worsening and create serious problems for you.
You may have to face bigger problems such as salary cuts, reduced working hours, missed opportunities and even job loss if you continue to ignore the warning signs.
6 WAYS TO BEAT WORK ANXIETY
The following are some of the best tips to keep away from stress and beat anxiety when it threatens to totally overpower you at your workplace.
1. Change Your Morning Routine
Morning is the best time of the day.
You get up afresh from a long night’s sleep, determined to start your day on a positive note.
The first and the most important strategy you should implement to combat work-related anxiety and stress is to have a set morning routine.
It will help you to get the most out of your day in addition to keeping yourself grounded.
This strategy should actually include the following.
Spend First 90 Minutes on Your Most Important Task
For instance, The first two to three hours of the morning is the time when you are most productive.
Therefore, instead of checking emails even before you have risen up from your bed, spend this time on completing your most important tasks, which can cause a lot of stress for you if they are pushed further down the order.
According to Benjamin Hard, a renowned productivity expert, “Protecting your mornings means you are unreachable during certain hours. Only in the case of serious emergency can you be summoned from your focus-cave.”
By implementing this technique, you will not only put the most critical task out of your way but you can also keep your anxiety in check for the rest of the day.
Wake Up Early in the Morning
Getting up early in the morning, especially between 5:30 am to 6:30 am will enable you to work calmly rather than yelling and rushing around.
You have all the time in the world to do what you want to do or reach where you have to.
Similarly, spend the extra time to focus on things like reading and self-care which you cannot focus on if you are sprinting out of the house every single morning.
I understand some people are skeptical of meditation.
However, indulging in mindfulness meditation right at the start of your day can have really huge and positive effects on your brain.
And of course, it helps you considerably decrease your stress and anxiety.
One of the articles in Harvard Medical School suggests you can successfully eliminate pain, depression, anxiety and all other kinds of psychological stresses from your professional and personal life by practicing mindfulness meditation.
If Harvard recommends trying mindfulness meditation, you better give it a try.
Go for a Walk
Many people have certain morning habits which they find very difficult to give up.
For example, some of you always start your morning with a cup of coffee.
Coffee has its perks, no doubt, but if you are struggling with anxiety, you must give it up totally and replace it with a healthier habit.
That habit is starting your day with a gentle 30 minutes walk. It is an amazing method to relieve some of the burdens on your mind.
You not only get to see nature in the morning, but you can also give some serious uplifting to your mood.
So, do go for a walk every morning, but leave your phone at home.
Let nature surround you and your anxiety will slowly but surely dissolve away.
Manifest Your Morning Three
You will be mentally and physically sharp by stating three affirmations right in the morning. It definitely seems contrived, but it will put you in a charged state for the rest of the day.
You can also train your mind to see only the positive side of the day and have a positive state of mind by visualizing what you are going to enjoy the most at the office.
Making a new resolution for every day is a wonderful method to reduce your daily anxiety whether it is at work or home.
The intention can be as simple as “I will speak to my colleagues” or “I will find beauty in everything.”
Defining your day’s purpose will let you enjoy your day, helping you to keep anxiety at bay.
The main purpose of setting a morning routine is to have a more relaxed approach to the day.
You must intentionally create a ritual which puts your mind and body in the ideal state and perfect working condition.
2. Eat and Sleep Well
Are processed carbohydrates, sugar and caffeine your biggest weaknesses?
Subsisting on unhealthy sources of food is directly related to heightened anxiety both at home and work.
It is just like fueling an unstoppable runaway train.
Your mind gets more anxious if you survive solely on junk food or similar diet.
The morning cappuccino does calm your nerves for a moment, but the buzz it crests can lead to exacerbated anxiety at work according to a study.
Unhealthy foods are not only deleterious for your physical health but they can adversely affect your mental health as well.
These foods only stimulate your anxiety.
For example, taking coffee in the morning is doing more harm to you than good.
High levels of caffeine actually decrease the production of serotonin, the hormone associated with the feelings of well being in the body.
Therefore, you must go for better alternatives such as Matcha Tea if you do need a clean buzz every morning.
Similarly, most people drink alcohol to quell their anxiety, but in reality, they are making things worse for them.
Alcohol seemingly calms your nerves, but, in fact, it suppresses sleep and hydration.
Both sleeplessness and dehydration can trigger anxiety symptoms.
Just like caffeine, alcohol worsens anxiety by decreasing the levels of neurotransmitters and serotonin in the brain.
Unfortunately, there is no real substitute for alcohol, especially if you are an avid drinker.
However, there are many drinks you can use as substitutes such as sparkling waters with fancy bitters and mocktails.
You can also try non-alcoholic beer if you cannot forget the taste.
Almost all types of fragmented foods such as wine, cheese, bread and steak cause anxiety, making it important for you to reduce their consumption.
The process of fragmentation breaks down healthy proteins into biogenic amines.
One such amine is histamine, which easily triggers insomnia and anxiety in addition to aggravating cardiovascular and nervous systems, hormones and digestion.
Another substance that heavily contributes to increased anxiety is sugar.
It naturally occurs in many fruits you eat on a daily basis and therefore, you cannot avoid it hundred percent of the time. But, you can definitely keep “added sugar” away from your meals.
Added sugar causes blood sugar and thus your energy to rapidly go up and down.
However, your anxiety levels can shoot extremely high because your mood sours when the blood sugar eventually crashes.
Similarly, you can also trigger feelings of sadness, irritability, and worry by consuming large amounts of extra sugar.
You may also have to avoid or minimize the use of delicacies like white bread, pasta, certain salad dressings, and condiments including ketchup and of course, most of the desserts.
All these foods fall in the category of added sugar.
Their increasing use makes you an easy target of mental disorders like depression, nervousness, and anxiety.
All these things can lead to poor performance in the office as well.
One of the biggest reasons for stress and anxiety at work is insomnia or sleeplessness.
In fact, stress can lead to more sleepless nights than you can imagine.
The lack of adequate hours of sleep will leave you vulnerable to even more anxiety.
Taking enough sleep and rest means you are in a better state of mind to cope with your stress and manage your emotions.
You can try a lot of things to set yourself up for a full night and better sleep, some of which are as follows.
Go to bed at the same time every night.
Practice gentle yoga, take a bath or read a book in the evening.
Eat all the foods that promote sleep such as the foods containing magnesium, melatonin, and tryptophan.
Do not take any drink containing caffeine after 12 in the noon.
You can promote relaxation and sleep by practicing different yoga techniques such as breathing through the left nostril only.
Do some gentle exercise in the evening. Exercise is the biggest promoter of the sleep in the world.
All the above-mentioned techniques relieve your anxiety and calm your nerves, helping you enjoy better sleep in the night.
As a result, you will get up fresh, full of energy and free of stress in the morning.
3. Take Regular Breaks
You will always have something to do when you are running a business or working for someone else.
The temptation to open another tab on Google or read the next email is irresistible.
Most people succumb to this very temptation and keeps on sitting in front of their screens for hours without taking any break.
But, you already know that sitting in your chair for a 7-9 hours stretch is the worst thing you can do in a day.
You need to hit the “off” switch whenever necessary because you cannot work continuously for 24 hours a day.
Working without a break can be extremely exhausting.
It is one of the reasons why people suffer from anxiety at work.
Reading emails at lunch and taking official calls after 7 pm will only add to your misery.
You seriously do not want to discuss office affairs with your colleagues when you are taking your lunch.
The point is to refrain from performing office duties during your leisure time.
For instance, devote your lunch break to eating only.
Similarly, try to spend the time between 7 pm and 7 am with your family and friends. Similarly, never carry your office work to home or wherever you go, no matter how insisting your boss is.
It is necessary if you want to have a good and anxiety-free time both at home and office.
It is also imperative to take regular breaks during your work.
Getting off your seat after every two hours will do you a lot of good, even if you just take a gentle walk around your office building.
Scientists also recommend taking in some greenery throughout the day.
In fact, people living in or near greener areas tend to have less anxiety and depression according to some studies.
Therefore, try to set your workplace near a park or an open space if possible.
At least, make sure to go out for a walk after every few hours and try to smell the roses if you can.
Taking short breaks interrupts the body’s response cycle for the stress.
You start afresh when you come back from your break.
Apart from taking a walk, other quick break options include riding a bike for a few minutes, hiking a mountain (if possible), climbing the stairs, or a small meditation session.
Remember that you can give your mind and body a well-needed outlet to expel some of the stress and anxiety which have been bothering you for years.
Most importantly, it will help you return to normal life without going into a spiral.
You can also choose from several other ideas for quick breaks to keep anxiety at bay at your work.
4. Exercise Regularly
What is the quickest way to ease on your stress levels?
Eating healthy foods and taking breaks during work is absolutely necessary, but you should never underestimate the value of exercise.
Sweating strategically once a day is one of the best methods to relieve your anxiety.
The physical benefits of exercise have long been established.
It enables you to improve physical condition and fight diseases like diabetes and heart problems.
You also need to keep in mind that exercise does not only burn calories, but it also alleviates stress and anxiety.
It is actually the best method to maintain mental fitness.
Numerous studies have shown that exercise is very effective in reducing anxiety and tiredness and improving concentration and vigilance.
It also improves all the cognitive function of a human body.
You can substantially enhance your energy to concentrate, depleted by stress, through regular exercise.
There is nothing wrong in saying that your mind only feels better when your body feels better.
Exercise also increases the production of natural “painkiller” chemicals commonly referred to as endorphins.
These painkillers reduce stress and anxiety by improving quality of your sleep.
You can also enhance the production of endorphins through deep breathing, reflexology, acupuncture, and meditation. You feel healthier and happier after an exercise of low to moderate intensity.
It is understandable that some people are naturally not inclined to exercise.
However, if you are suffering from anxiety, you need to start regular exercise even if you do not want to.
You can considerably reduce your anxiety even if you “impose” exercise on yourself.
Things become quite easier if you get into some sort of regime. You can also get inspiration from others by joining a class.
Similarly, ask a friend who is willing to walk or jog with you during the office breaks or even after the work.
It is also a good idea to use various fitness apps and gadgets which are becoming increasingly popular nowadays.
You can combat stress through social interaction and exercise provides you with ample opportunities to go out, meet new people and have positive experiences every single day.
Again, consider joining a local gym or a fitness class or group.
On the other hand, you can simply smile at others in the gym or while jogging if you prefer to work alone. It will go a long way to have prolonged positive feelings.
The bottom line is that you must do everything possible to increase interaction with others, which is necessary to control anxiety.
Lack of self-confidence is another reason why you experience anxiety at work.
In this regard, you can also yield emotional benefits of exercise that are sense of self-control and increased self-assurance. Both of them can decrease stress and anxiety at work.
In addition, the physical benefits of exercise that are weight loss and a toned body also help you feel more confident and less stressed in your workplace.
You can have more mental satisfaction by getting into a better physical shape.
Developing the good habit of exercising regularly even for half an hour a day will work wonders for you.
Believe it or not, your mind and body will always remain indebted to you.
5. Communicate with People around You
Communicating with people around you is the greatest anxiety buster.
You sure have a lot of people in your office with whom you can discuss everything which is contributing to your anxiety.
It is pertinent to mention that you cannot decrease work anxiety by consuming healthy foods and practicing yoga for five minutes a day only.
It is about how you function and communicate with others in your office.
Do you want to avoid your boss at any cost? Do you gossip with others regarding petty office issues? Do you burst into tears instead of speaking your heart out?
An ideal way to find solutions to all your problems and thus decreasing stress is talking to your colleagues.
The simplest technique to improve communication is to develop one-to-one relationships.
It will help you address the problem at the individual level instead of venting your concerns to the entire office.
Start by learning people’s name, their designations, and their responsibilities.
Even build connections with someone you have never talked to.
There is also no embarrassment in asking again if you forget someone’s name.
There is also no shame in asking for help when you cannot understand how to do something, especially in the case of hectic work environments.
On the other hand, you can invite anxiety in your life and work if you keep on hesitating to seek help.
Asking for help is one thing which can save your day whenever you are under extreme pressure or at lost about what to do. It also conveys a message to your boss that you care about your job as well.
Another brilliant practice to lower everyone’s anxiety is to use calming and more importantly, natural language at work.
Start your conversations with sentences like, “I am thinking we should,” and end them with sentences like, “What are you thinking?”
This communicates to your colleagues that you value their opinion and do not try to impose your point of view on them.
Listening to each other patiently will always bring down your anxiety levels.
Workplace anxiety is also growing due to wrong use of technology.
This sound strange but when you go to the bottom of the problem, you realize that much of the work anxiety comes from trying to interpret intentions and emotions electronically.
For instance, you can add up to your stress by waiting to hear back about a complex topic or misunderstanding an email.
Therefore, it is better to have an in-person conversation if you are particularly anxious about something.
You can at least make a phone call if you somehow want to avoid talking to the person directly.
Finally, never pull the other’s leg down or seek pleasure from the problems of your colleagues.
Office drama can only provide entertainment for a short period of time.
After that the office environment becomes more stressful, ultimately lowering everyone’s moral and causing anxiety.
You must try to change the subject when someone backbites your colleagues or boss or find a reason to leave the conversation altogether.
6. Find Your Breath
One of the strangest yet most important reasons of workplace anxiety is shallow breathing.
To make the matters worse, most people have no idea they have lost their breath a long time ago. On the other hand, you have never managed to find your breath in the first place.
According to Doctor Katherine Falk, a renowned integrative psychiatrist, you will start feeling anxious if you are breathing shallowly.
She further suggests you will feel more relaxed and happier if you start breathing from your abdomen.
You can significantly calm down your mind whenever you feel burned and stressed by employing some simple breathing techniques.
First and foremost, start paying more attention to your inhalations and exhalations.
As a result, you will be able to breath deeply and overcome any stressful situation during your commute, during an important meeting or even on at your desk.
Deep breathing also enables you to get back your sleep if you are suffering from disorders like insomnia.
It has been scientifically proven that 30 minutes of deep breathing can kill any anxiety you have. It stimulates your nervous system by increasing the supply of oxygen to your brain.
Subsequently, you experience a state of happiness and calmness.
Heavy breathing helps you forget some of your worries albeit for a short period of time. It quietens your mind and makes your brain feel more connected to your body.
Remember relaxing is not all about sitting in front of the TV for hours. It can push you to endless abyss of anxiety instead of providing you with any chance to relax.
It is important for you to activate natural responses of your body against stressful situations.
Deep breathing is one such response and it puts your body and mind in a deep state of resting, which is really blissful after a long, nerve-wracking day.
Finally, keep in mind that you do not need to overcome the intense anxiety you are suffering from all by yourself.
There are many occasions when you should seek medical treatment.
If you cannot eat or sleep properly for more than two weeks, you do not find anything enjoyable or your new role or project is creating anxiety, you need to consult a specialist immediately.
Never forget to keep your job in perspective as well. You have to realize that no one will die even if you have failed to complete a task within a given time period.
You should give everything your best, but must not allow anything to get to your nerves. You are just doing your work not performing a brain surgery.
Try to think of a larger problem than the one creating anxiety for you. It will help you stop for a while, take a deep breathe and calm down your brain.
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