Did you know that anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States? Over 40 million people suffer from this disorder, which works out to a startling 18.1 percent of the population.
Many things can trigger an episode of extreme anxiety. If you ask people what stresses them out, some people say money, and others will say personal relationships. Still, a majority of individuals will cite their job as the single most influential factor in their stress and anxiety levels.
We are going to look at several ways you can handle anxiety when you’re on the clock. These tips will bring you peace of mind and help you make the most of your workday.
Let’s dive in!
Limit Time with Your Phone
At least 3.7 billion people own a smartphone and use it regularly. Our phones are great for keeping in touch with friends and family, organizing our calendar, and reading blog posts on social media. All these seemingly innocent activities can cause stress and anxiety if you’re in the middle of a big project, but can’t stop checking your phone every time the notification jingle goes off.
Our phones give us the ability to over-stimulate our minds, which can cause problems for people that have trouble focusing. When you have a daunting task in front of you, but can’t stop getting distracted, anxiety will start to build and disrupt your day.
The best way to limit time with your phone is by silencing or turning off your device while you’re on the clock. Check your phone when you’re on lunch, or at the end of the day. Like all good things in life, moderation is the key.
Social media is a huge problem that can affect your work computer. With 366 million people making new accounts last year alone, there’s no better way to interact with others and read the news. However, 51 percent of people in a survey said that social media makes them feel anxious and uncomfortable. These feelings can translate to stress at the office. We suggest that you block social sites on your PC during work hours. The temptation to check your profile for “just a second” is a slippery slope that leads to wasted time and anxiousness.
Break Large Tasks into Smaller Segments
Another major cause of stress in the workplace is the feeling that you have too much to do. We get this way when there is an extensive project in front of us with potentially months of work ahead on this one task. This overbearing sensation can cause people who suffer from anxiety to freeze, which can delay work and cause more stress.
If you have a large project coming up, we suggest breaking down your task into more digestible segments. For example, if you plan on creating a holiday contest for your business, but don’t know where to start, you might want to consider breaking this up into smaller tasks like:
- Creating the rules
- Building the marketing material
- Deciding on a prize
These four steps all fit under the umbrella of creating a giveaway, but they are much more manageable when you scale down and look at the individual stages of your project.
Address Concerns as Soon as They Arise
Finally, there are personal interactions that cause people to feel anxious while they are at work. The main problem here is a fear of rejection, or that you won’t be taken seriously. If something comes up that has you concerned, the best thing you can do is address the problem right away. The sooner you can resolve your concerns, the better off you’ll feel.
For example, if significant changes are coming next quarter at your office, and you were just given the overview, you may feel overwhelmed. Instead of feeling anxious by the new changes, open up a document, and start writing down all the questions that come to mind.
Take a few minutes after you’re done and reread the material to ensure that you didn’t overlook anything. If you still have questions, contact your supervisor and ask them if they can address your concerns when they get time. Once you hear back, you’ll likely find that you were worried for nothing, which can reduce your stress and anxiety.
Back to You
Now you know how to handle the three most common causes of anxiety in the workplace. The next time you feel your palms sweat and your pulse quicken, take a few steps back and analyze the situation. Is there a legitimate cause for concern? How urgent is this matter? What decisions can I make to ensure a positive outcome? Taking the time to ask these questions helps you prioritize ideas in your mind, which leads to a smoother workflow and less anxiety at the office.