It is ten minutes before your big presentation.
You are feeling anxious, rechecking your materials, worrying about what might go wrong and the consequences of not succeeding. Your heart begins to beat rapidly while your shoulders tense up.
For some, these ten minutes are an all-day, everyday occurrence known as work-related anxiety.
Work-related anxiety is a condition that has long-lasting effects on the mental and emotional health of sufferers. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), some 72 percent of people suffering from work-related stress and anxiety report that it obstructs their lives to some extent.
Not only do interpersonal relationships become negatively impacted by work-related anxiety, so does your ability to find success and joy in your daily lives.
What Does Work-Related Anxiety Look Like?
Work-related anxiety has a wide range of triggers. These triggers are, but not limited to:
- The level of performance/quality of work requirements
- Relationships with coworkers or superiors
- Fear of getting laid off or unemployment
- Seeking promotion or avoiding demotion
- Worry about career choice and its effect on your home life and future
These triggers produce a varying degree of stress and anxiety that can affect your thinking and emotional health in and out of the workplace.
For instance, increasing anger and frustration don’t make it easy to get along with others and stay focused on tasks. Neither does comparing yourself with those who you perceive to be more successful than you. Hence, your productivity, your ability to problem-solve, and your interaction with co-workers often deteriorate markedly.
If you’re employed, you might also find that it is difficult to connect with or properly care for loved ones, have the energy to participate in social situations, or keep from losing your patience. And if you are at home due to being laid off or unemployed, your worries usually center around trying to find a job as quickly as possible. When you are in this situation and feeling overwhelmed, you can easily accept unfulfilling or low-paying work that you will later regret.
As a result of experiencing so many difficult emotions, you may become unmotivated and give up reaching for your goals altogether.
How to treat Work-Related Anxiety Effectively
Lamentably, to cope with all this anxiety, some people turn to over-eating or alcohol for relief. Though these habits may seem to provide a temporary relief, their effects bandaid a much larger problem.
Moreover, those affected by work-related anxiety are often not totally clear about the depth of their situation. Their anxiety is adding to the problem, obscuring the underlying issue, and seeking relief through unhealthy habits instead of sound treatment will only lead anxiety sufferers to sabotage themselves.
In addition to seeking professional guidance, there are several helpful tools that can promote a healthier reaction to negative emotions and an improved attitude toward work. Some tools you can implement daily on your own while others will require the joint actions of you and those you trust.
A consistent use of these anxiety-reducing practices can significantly decrease the impact of work-related anxiety in your life.
1. Find life’s balance
Remember, you’re not just your job or your achievements! Your life is about so much more. Strive for balance. Isolating yourself can lead to worrying and obsessing about work. Instead, value yourself by accepting who you are and by paying more attention to your own self-care and enjoying more quality time with friends and family.
Embrace the things you love and that are fun and nurturing for your emotional, mental, and physical health. Exploring new hobbies or activities, taking group classes, reading an engaging book, or having a weekly date night with your partner can increase balance and enjoyment of life in general.
2. Move your body
Under pressure from work and family obligations, it is easy to neglect your own physical wellbeing. The benefits of moving your body and exercising regularly are numerous. For example, walking to the store, playing sports with your children, or going to the gym are all great way to move your body.
Being active and taking time for yourself can also improve brain functions, boost your mood, reduce anxiety, and promote a healthy self-image. Feeling great about yourself, in turn, encourages you to reach out and participate in social as well as work activities with more ease.
Moreover, during times of unemployment, taking time to exercise regularly can lead to feeling accomplished and satisfied with your life. It creates structure and helps you strive towards milestones. You remain positive and determined rather than discouraged.
3. Seek new perspective
Untreated anxiety will spread like an infected wound into other areas of your life. In fact, failing to discuss work-related stress can eventually cause a bottling-up effect that can weigh heavily on your thoughts and emotions.
Instead, take the initiative and reach out to people that may be able to provide you with support, solutions, and encouragement. Whether it is an experienced close friend, a support group, or a professional therapist, talking through your specific concerns can reduce fears and frustration while also potentially providing other helpful tools and new understanding.
4. Practice daily relaxation
Work-related anxiety can create preoccupation and tension that prevent you from appreciating life to the fullest. One of the first steps toward self-acceptance and positive change is learning to practice meditation. By taking time to slow down, calm your body and mind—being present with your thoughts and feelings—you can resolve your daily struggles.
For that very reason, it’s so important that you practice daily relaxation. It will enable you to receive intuitions and find ways to navigate challenges. As you learn to be calm and peaceful, you’ll find that it is becoming much easier to deal with difficult situations and people successfully.
5. Be present and accept the moment
An anxious mind is usually consumed with finding solutions for everything. Be aware of spending a lot of time and energy dreading future perceived failures or regretting past lost opportunities.
Instead, try focusing on doing the best job you can do today—in the here and now. By accepting the present moment, you can transform stress and anxiety into workable solutions and possibilities.
6. Let go of negative beliefs
Anxiety thrives on poor self-worth. To combat it, learn to value yourself, your achievements, and your contributions.
Begin by identifying and letting go of old beliefs about yourself and others. Distorted old beliefs are limiting and can trigger you into holding back from achieving your goals.
7. Avoid comparing yourself to others
There’s a saying: compare and despair. When you fall into the comparison trap, you’ll only cast doubts on your own abilities and cause yourself more anxiety and despair.
Doing the best you can every day and not reacting with extreme emotions to other people’s accomplishments, your improved attitude will pay off in the long-run. Gradually, you can begin enjoying your own gifts and talent and ease work-related anxiety.
Work-related anxiety is a detrimental condition that can greatly affect your career prospects as well as interpersonal relationships. Without a careful plan to tackle such anxiety, you could become paralyzed by negativity.
However, with patience, open-mindedness, and proactivity, you can learn to manage your anxiety and enjoy thriving once more. Begin by seeking support now. It’s a vital tool!