Strategies to Deal with Anxiety at Work

Updated: May 3, 2020

"Combat anxiety by focusing on others and your environment."

Anxiety is a total beast. I’m not talking about a good beast like, “You were such a beast during that meeting today!” I am speaking of the scariest beast of all. One that wreaks havoc on an otherwise competent person and causes them to crumble in trepidation.

With approximately 40 million Americans (18% of the country) diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder, the workplace can be a breeding ground for fear. Whether or not you have a clinically diagnosed Anxiety Disorder, everyone has experienced anxiety at some point during their careers. Navigating coworker relationships, pressure to perform well, and impressing your boss is like walking through a landmine and trying to avoid getting blown up.

While battling anxiety at work can be difficult, there are many ways you can learn to keep your nerves at bay.

1. Identify Your Fears and Triggers.

Take notice of when you feel anxious. Get out a notepad and write down times of day, people, places, and tasks and rate your anxiety with each activity (0 being no anxiety and 10 being extremely anxious). This exercise will help you identify a pattern with your anxiety and will help you uncover your trigger points.

2. Act Like a Spectator.

During moments of nervousness, watch your anxiety like an observer. Resist the temptation to react and allow your body to go through the symptoms. Don’t stress if you are sweating or shaking. Just be in the moment.

3. Run Towards Your Fears.

This one is the hardest thing to do. Humans are genetically wired to run away from things that scare us and doing so paradoxically reinforces the cycle of fear. If you do the thing you dread the most, you usually find that much of what you feared was all in your head. Even if something bad does happen, it is almost never as bad as you thought it would be. Few things in this world are life or death… everything else is just a bunch of noise.

4. Focus on Others

As someone who is highly anxious, I have been rightly labeled as self-focused by some. The truth is that anxiety can turn an otherwise well-intentioned person into an ego-centric jerk. When a person is highly anxious, all their focus is turned inward and they, as a result, pay little attention to those around them.

Don’t allow your fears to make you a selfish person. Combat anxiety by focusing on others and your environment. It will help you feel better and will make you more enjoyable to be around.

5. Don’t Ruminate!

Life is imperfect and things will inevitably go wrong at times. Try not to ruminate when life throws you a curve ball and, instead, shake it off and move on with your day. Remember there is only so much that you can control and take the pressure off yourself to be perfect.

6. Seek Help

If your anxiety is getting worse and is affecting your daily activities, it may be time to seek professional help. Sometimes a little help from an objective party is all you need to get back on course.

Anxiety doesn’t have to rule your life. Remember that things that seem so important in the moment are usually not that bad. Follow these tips and you will be a step closer to conquering your anxiety.

Shannon Slack helps her clients craft irresistible resumes and establish career paths. For more tips or if you would like to work with me click below:

**Wisdom of the Day: “Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” ~Jodi Picoult








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