Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders. In the United States, it is estimated that around 40 million adults (almost 20%) of adults are affected by an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can occur as a result of a combination of different factors such as genetics, neurological structure, environmental factors, difficult life events, childhood adversity, and more. Workplace stress is also a factor that can cause chronic anxiety. Chronic stress has negative impacts on your health and can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, weight gain, and other physical health problems.
Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from an anxiety disorder, and many people (men and women) will struggle with the symptoms of a social anxiety disorder for 10 or more years before seeking treatment.
How anxiety affects job performance
Successful companies understand that high employee anxiety hurts job performance. Anxious employees are more likely to leave the job, resulting in costly high turnover rates. Other problems such as missed deadlines can occur because an anxious employee does not perform as well as an employee who feels comfortable and safe in their job.
If you are struggling with too much stress at work, you have already experienced that work stress impacts more than your emotional wellbeing. As researchers know, managing our stress response takes up an enormous amount of energy. When we feel unsafe at work, it is difficult to focus on the tasks we are given as our negative feelings draw our attention away from what we are meant to be doing.
Tips to reduce workplace anxiety
Not only does anxiety negatively impact your life experience, but it also reduces your work performance. Unfortunately, the cultural environments and workloads of some jobs create an atmosphere of anxiety for its employees. In other situations, you may be generally anxious in all areas of your life and in this way, anxious symptoms affect your work performance.
If your workplace environment creates undue stress and anxiety, there are ways you can manage your response.
- Accept the situation
- If your job causes anxiety, try accepting the situation without holding inner resistance. If you fight your feelings and try to “get rid” of anxiety OR if you resent the circumstances you find yourself in, this can only cause more stress. Try relaxing and accepting the situation. I know this is easier said than done, and I can help you through it. This technique can help you move past the anxiety and bring in a sense of acceptance that can bring you to a place of clearer thinking about the situation.
- Don’t overthink
- Constant analyzing or thinking about stressors at work will make your anxiety worse. Focus your attention only on the job you are doing and avoid concerning yourself with issues you have no control over. While this will be challenging at the beginning, it will get easier with practice.
- Exercise may seem unrelated to job performance, but the fact is, exercise has immediate and substantial benefits on your cognitive and emotional health. Both will affect your quality of life and job performance. Exercise improves mood and gives you additional energy that will help you deal with workplace stress.
- For more tips on dealing with adversity and workplace stress, you can read more here.
The good news
The good news is two-fold. First, anxiety is treatable. If you are struggling with anxiety, therapy can help teach you how to manage your symptoms without the need for medication. Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety and depression.
Whether your anxiety is something you have always felt inside yourself, or if you happen to find yourself in an especially anxiety-producing workplace, therapy can help. There are many resources available to help you reduce and manage anxiety symptoms and move into a place of wellbeing and good health.