Careers: How To Cope With Work Anxiety


Anxiety is a normal emotion and everyone goes through it from time to time. It is characterized by tightness in the pit of your stomach, feeling short or lack of breath, sweating, trembling, feeling scared, frustrated and out of control. However, when these symptoms escalate into anxiety attacks then one is said to have an anxiety disorder.

Work anxiety, on the other hand, bears these symptoms rooting from work-related issues like failure to meet deadlines, dealing with difficult people or feeling like you’re on the verge of getting fired. You worry over the deadline, obsess over it and the work you haven’t completed then end up worrying about worrying. The next thing you know is that your mind has spiralled out of control and you are on the edge of a panic attack.

Related: How to deal with pressure at the workplace

This type of stress can interfere with the quality of your life your productivity/performance and even your work relationships. Therefore, let’s examine the ways in which you can cope with work anxiety, ensuring mental wellness above all other issues you might face at work.

  1. Be honest with yourself

The first step in solving a problem is identifying and accepting it, then comes the cause. List down what could be the cause of your anxiety. Is it the worry that you may get fired, is it not delivering and getting constant warnings and corrections from your boss all the time, or is it from the fear of uncertainity? Focus on the facts. If it is someone who makes you uncomfortable or a bully who makes you anxious, do not try to cut contact with them. this is only a temporary solution which will increase your anxiety in the long run. Check out how to deal with bullying at the workplace 

Learn to face your problems head-on. Communicate with workmates who make you uncomfortable – easier said than done you say- but practice makes perfect.

This will also be to your advantage. It will lessen your anxiety while providing you with a chance to say no to responsibilities, which delay you from making your deadline.

Learn how to say no without feeling guilty.

  1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is characterized by being mentally aware of present thoughts, experiences, emotions and importantly being self-conscious. A mindful person focuses on the present and lives in the moment instead of worrying about the past. He/She is reflective rather than reactive hence they are aware of what motive drives their emotions.

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Therefore, focus on what you are doing rather than what you should’ve done. Practice mindfulness when eating, exercising and this skill will allow you to be more adaptive in difficult situations. Other benefits include improving your ability focus, mental well-being and physical health.

  1. Have a personal wellness plan

Mindfulness will work effectively if you couple it with a personal wellness plan. This includes eating healthy, exercising, getting adequate sleep, yoga training and engaging in social activities outside work. Socializing with people outside your workplace will not only reduce workplace anxiety but it will also give you a break from routine.  Therefore, have a wellness plan as you practice mindfulness. It allows you to examine how you can improve yourself at work, diminishing the problems that bring constant worry fueling your anxiety.

  1. Practise interpersonal skills

Communicating with fellow workmates on a one on one basis is highly effective when addressing problems rather than gossiping or venting to others. Of course, venting may provide temporary relief and gossiping may be a good way to provide entertainment. However, it is also a recipe for tension and stress at your workplace. This only builds up stress and anxiety levels due to the negativity in the office, affecting your productivity.

Learn to create an open and conducive work environment by practising healthy measures when resolving conflicts. This could be through in-person conversations, being open with the person you have a conflict with and trying as much as possible to keep the issue between the two of you instead of triangling.  When you can’t interpret an email or a message ask for clarity instead of waiting especially if it involves an issue that makes you anxious.

  1. Seek help

It is not uncommon to feel that mental illness is not as real as a physical one. That is why in 2017, the internet abounds with public awareness campaigns in response to the millions who wondered if mental illness was real. The answer is yes. Anxiety is a mental illness and it is as real as day. Therefore, if ever you notice that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, seek professional help to help you manage it. Do not opt to push through it or worse, ignore it.

See also: 8 ways to overcome entrepreneurial anxiety

Feature image via Goodencentre

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I am a writer with interest in hair, beauty and fashion. I also like telling stories, but most of all I enjoy listening and reading them. If I'm not doing any of the above, I will be trying to crack a game of chess or monopoly. My biggest fear is being ordinary.