You’ve found yourself growing more and more anxious at work. You’re worried, stressed, frustrated, exhausted, and maybe even a little scared. Your anxiety level is off the charts and you desperately need to find a way to control anxiety at work. Work-related anxiety can be tricky to deal with, but luckily, there are several things you can do to control your anxiety at work —and maybe even eliminate it!
Nearly everyone experiences some anxiety at work at some time or another. Anxiety takes many forms. Whether your anxiety is categorized by feelings of dread, racing thoughts or generalized stress, there are tools you can employ to calm your mind and provide relief. Below are 9 practical techniques you can use to control anxiety at work and free yourself.
Disclaimer The techniques and information listed here are not offered as medical advice, care, or treatment. Always seek medical guidance from your doctor or licensed healthcare professional in the treatment of all medical conditions, including anxiety.
1. Control Anxiety at Work: Recognize Anxiety for What It Really Is
Anxiety relief starts from the position of understanding what anxiety is. The Oxford Dictionary defines psychiatric-related anxiety as: “A nervous disorder marked by excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.”
By understanding this definition as it relates to your situation, you are already on your way to dealing with your suffering. Knowledge is power and to have knowledge of your personal experience is self-empowerment. Take your power back by recognizing what anxiety actually is and be aware of the signs of anxiety.
Notice when you feel it building in your body and have your toolkit ready to work through it all in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Although anxiety’s physical symptoms and signs are expressed differently for everyone, at a baseline it is “excessive uneasiness” and “compulsive behavior.”
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2. Breathe! Control Anxiety at Work With Deep Breathing
So you’ve finally come to recognize that the nervousness and worry you are feeling while on that 3 PM conference call has a name – anxiety. What can you do now that you are aware of its existence? You can breathe!
Practice taking in a deep breath for 5 counts in and 5 counts out. Scientific American has dubbed this practice ‘Cardiac Coherence’ and recognizes that its “stabilization of the heartbeat can dampen anxiety powerfully.”
If you are experiencing symptoms while at work, step away from your work space and give this practice a try. If your anxiety creeps up outside of work, practice this same technique and you will be able to stop the symptoms of anxiety almost immediately. Flooding your body with oxygen is rejuvenating and will provide you with quick and calming relief.
3. Seek Support If Your Workplace Anxiety Is Just Too Much to Handle
Let yourself feel supported in navigating and treating your anxiety. Chances are that if you are feeling anxious, others in your workplace are as well. Your teammates will likely understand what you are dealing with, so seek out the support of a close colleague and bring your situation to light.
Are you stressing out about your 5 PM deadline? Lighten the load for yourself and ask your co-worker for some assistance. There is a decent probability that they will accommodate. If that fails, simply ask your supervisor for an extension. When you are in a state of suffering, taking a chance and asking for help is likely the best solution.
4. Change What You Expect from Yourself & Others to Control Workplace Anxiety
If the voice in the back of your head is saying “Hey, this project will never get done in time!” chances are that it is actually correct. Get ahead of your anxiety by limiting its opportunities to arise. Be realistic in the projects that you agree to take on. If it is not a definite yes, then it is a definite no. In doing this, you will undoubtedly control anxiety before it even has the prospect of beginning.
5. Learn to Be More Present
Anxiety is future-focused. When you want to control anxiety at work, you need to focus on the present moment rather than letting the fear of what could go wrong going forward overwhelm you.
You much stop worrying about what could happen and learn how to be more present, or as Ram Dass would say, learn to “be here now.”
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6. To Control Workplace Anxiety, Step Away for a Break
If you’ve exhausted all efforts and are still feeling the physical effects of anxiety, simply remove yourself from your work space. Calm your anxiety by changing the scenery and allowing your mind and body to reset.
The Anxiety and Depression Associate of America sites that “A walk around the block” can “help clear your head.” The physicality of walking away will reboot your body and get you back into a calm state of mind so that you can work through the rest of your day with ease.
7. Kick Your Worry Habit
If you’re filled with anxiety at work, chances are that’s overflowing into the rest of your life, too. When you learn how to kick your worry habit, you’ll find that anxiety in all aspects of your life tends to decrease.
Proactively kicking your worry habit is one of the best steps you can take to enjoying your work life — and your entire life — more fully. (Recommendation: Check out the ebook: How to Kick YourWorry Habit & Just Be Happier: The 21-Day Challenge).
8. Get More “Me Time” in Your Life
People who suffer from workplace anxiety often don’t get enough self-care time in their lives. You need to give yourself enough “me time” to help reduce stress in your life and keep you relaxed and ready to tackle your workplace demands. (See some perfect “me time” ideas)
9. Create a Better Morning Routine to Prevent Workplace Anxiety
How you start your day is how you’ll live your day. Many people who suffer from workplace anxiety have lousy morning routines that elevate their stress and anxiety levels.
If you want to control anxiety at work, it begins by starting your day the right way. It’s time to learn how to create a morning routine that energizes, reduces stress, and increases success (we have 23 ideas to do just that!).
The Bottom Line About Workplace Anxiety
When it comes to anxiety, having the tools to cope and calm your anxiety fast is a major key to relief. Whether at the workplace or at home, anxiety is serious and can be debilitating. It’s time to develop your strategy to alleviate your stress using the tips discussed above. This will allow you to deal with your anxiety in a positive and healthy way.
Know what the physical symptoms of your anxiety are and have a plan prepared that works best for you. With these 9 tools in your toolbox, you will be well-equipped to calm and control your work-related anxiety.