While anxiety is quite prevalent among the U.S. population, many people who suffer go undiagnosed, resulting in a culture that doesn’t always recognize the hindrance of anxiety, or allow for those who suffer from it to feel supported in their everyday work life.
Anyone who has felt suffocated by the all-consuming thoughts and feelings of anxiety needs weapons to fight the war against their own worry and spiraling doubt. Below is a list of resources to help control, manage, and plan for alleviating the effects of anxiety in the workplace.
Call Out Your Anxiety
When you feel a wave of anxiety begin to rise, try naming what you’re feeling– worry, doubt, uncertainty, etc. If you can identify each emotion as you feel it, you create a detachment that allows for an objective view, rather than becoming consumed by each emotion. Calling out your anxiety creates mindfulness and helps you to understand your feelings better, rather than falling victim to them.
Take notice when your anxiety flares up. What are you reacting to? If you can detect what situations trigger your anxiety, you can work to either avoid such instances, or come prepared for them with helpful mechanisms to overcome anxious feelings. When you recognize your triggers, you are already one step ahead of your anxiety and can begin managing it before it even overwhelms your consciousness.
People plagued with anxiety can be stigmatized as dramatic, incompetent, or weak. Rather than discuss anxiety openly, the topic is often concealed and those who experience it are left to feel shame and suffer alone.
Of all employees with an anxiety disorder, only a quarter have told their employers, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The other three quarters of employees with an anxiety disorder have remained silent out of fear that their disorder would be misinterpreted as reluctance (38%), hinder opportunities for promotion (34%), and be part of their employee file (31%).
If more people talked about their anxiety with their colleagues, their employers, and the people they lead, then the stigma would begin to fade and the opportunity for a healthy and lasting solution increases dramatically. Sharing and discussing personal troubles with others opens the door for meaningful and authentic connections, which not only helps with anxiety but also bolsters leadership ability.
Control What You Can
For many people, anxiety flares up in moments of uncertainty. Everyone experiences a lack of control at some point throughout their day. However, if you can learn to capitalize and focus on all the decisions you do have control over, you can minimize anxious feelings. Begin taking control of your daily activities by creating to-do lists and time-slotted schedules. Harvard Business Review warns, “Be careful not to overschedule or overestimate your productivity; instead focus on the critical work and leave time to take care of yourself.” From planning your days to planning your meals or attire– all steps contribute to feelings of control.
Plan for Triggers
Once you determine your triggers, you can scenario plan for upcoming anxiety-stimulating situations. For example, if you know you have to address a conflict and confrontation is a trigger, you can write out what you want to say beforehand. If public speaking is a trigger, you can arrive at the meeting early to ensure plenty of time to rehearse. Plan for moments that typically trigger your anxiety, and also have a game plan for surprise attacks. Breathing techniques, mindfulness practices, or trusted colleagues can all be great resources to utilize when experiencing anxiety.
In order to be an effective employee and leader, mental health must be a top priority. While discussing your personal mental health at work may be considered taboo, employee well-being is often dependent on building a support system. By creating conversation about mental health and equipping yourself with strategies to combat anxiety, both your workplace success and personal well-being will prosper.
For more information on how to build trusting relationships and balance mental health in the workplace, reach out to Knowted for more information.