Workplace Anxiety: Is Common
We spend a great part of our lives in some sort of work setting. Other than sleeping, this is probably a part of our day where we are engaged in a form of employment. For some the pressure to perform and stay on top of things is equaled to the fear of losing it all and not having income. Catastrophising takes over and soon we picture ourselves unable to pay the mortgage, disappointing our families and being ridiculed by our employer.
Workplace Anxiety: The Sources
Anxiety in the workplace can come from performance anxiety where we are afraid that we will make mistakes or somehow be responsible for significant breaches or negligence in our work. It can come from distressing situations with colleagues, supervisors or customers that keep replaying in our mind perpetuating our distress. It can come from harassment and bullying. Restructuring, redundancies and changes in our workplace can cause significant stress and anxiety. It can also come from the weight of our own expectations of ourselves.
Workplace Anxiety: The Consequences
Disrupted sleep, tense muscles, compromised immunity, impacted concentration – can lead to a vicious cycle of feeling under resourced and impotent at work. Yet, work can provide us with a sense of purpose and achievement when we feel well. We can start to avoid situations that impact our career progression. We can pull back from networking with colleagues and key stakeholders. Avoid the more complicated tasks, or simply the tasks that could highlight potential mistakes (emails, phone calls to customers). We procrastinate on key deadlines.
Workplace Anxiety: The Solution
- Recognise that anxiety is transient, and can be reduce by practicing some relaxation and mindfulness strategies.
- Practice self compassion. You are going to feel this way in your work every now and again, this does not make you a failure
- Identify the problem and engage in problem solving to manage the overwhelming helplessness.
Psychologists support individuals who go through all kinds or workplace anxiety, consider talking to someone who can help you with those 3 steps.
Valerie Ling, MClin Psych, BA(Hons), MAPS, Clinical Psychologist has a passion for helping people find their voice and continue to write their life’s story. Committed to prevent burnout and empowering individuals to life an effective life, she is the Director and Founder of The Centre For Effective Living.