Workplace Anxiety

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Workplace Anxiety

Workplace Anxiety

People say that the best thing is when you do the work you love. Not everyone is that lucky, but work is certainly something that should make us useful or bring us funds that will contribute something to us. When we can’t get everything done on time, feeling overwhelmed, tired, or stressed is normal. However, if your work makes you nervous, if you feel inexplicable fear at the thought of work if you can’t sleep on Sunday and you can barely get up on Monday, it could be an anxiety disorder. Such a condition should not be ignored. Fortunately, there are techniques to overcome this condition so it does not interfere with your daily life.

Our emotional, psychological and social well-being is mental health. Good mental health affects our feelings, behavior, and actions. At work, people are more productive and motivated if they have stable mental health. Communication with colleagues is good, they are focused and dedicated, contribute to the workplace and achieve better results. However, this does not always have to be the case. Declines in mental health may occur, depending on pressures, stresses and experiences. [1]

These declines in mental health can range from low mood to anxiety and depression. Schizophrenia rarely occurs.
It is necessary to distinguish between anxiety caused by work and symptoms related to generalized anxiety disorder. The main difference is that anxiety at work develops in response to stress at work. On the other hand, anxiety disorders tend to persist regardless of work circumstances and affect other aspects of your life.

Signs of Work Anxiety

When it comes to anxiety at work, some signs can indicate it and should not be ignored. Signs of a physical nature are related to anxiety in general:

  • excessive sweating
  • nausea
  • headache
  • tension
  • sweaty palms [2]

When dealing with signs of a psychological nature, you should pay attention if the following situations occur:

  • avoiding talking about work
  • nervousness when work is mentioned
  • taking long breaks at work
  • focusing on negative situations
  • inability to concentrate and procrastinating with work
  • avoiding meetings
  • lack of motivation [2][4]

Causes of Work Anxiety

The causes of anxiety in the workplace depend first of all on the type of person experiencing it, and then on the environment and the work the person does. It should be said that important presentations, public speaking, changing job, and other similar events can make a person nervous. The reasons that lead to a constant feeling of nervousness, fear, and other mentioned symptoms can be:

  • overtime work
  • low salary
  • disagreement with colleagues
  • lack of sense of fairness
  • short deadlines
  • pressure from the boss
  • fear of being fired [3]

The most important thing is to admit to yourself that you feel bad physically and mentally, which affects your overall health. Determine what it is that makes you afraid. Is it the person, the lack of reward for your work or it’s just not the right job for you?

There are many ways to prevent the development of a major mental health problem.


How to deal with anxiety in the workplace?

You can try to identify stress triggers. It can help to write down the moment when you feel nervous. The cause of nervousness can be the period you spend preparing for a meeting or maybe even when you meet a certain colleague. Identifying the cause can help to develop a strategy to solve the problem. [5]
Think about what your main fear is that causes anxiety at work. You can ask yourself the question, “what if such and such happens?” and discover what scares you. Once you realise you’ve discovered it, you can then ask yourself questions like, “what’s the worst-case scenario if this happens?” “What is most likely to happen?”. [5]
Don’t be hard on yourself. When you are under stress, you may respond to it with self-criticism. Instead, try to understand your reactions and be patient. Tell yourself that it’s okay to feel exhausted.
Take a break. In moments when you are anxious, if you are at your desk, move away from it and focus on breathing properly.
There is a technique 54321 that can help you get rid of stress. In moments of nervousness, list five things that you see, four that you hear, three that you feel, two that you smell, and one that you taste. [4]
Exercise. Exercising before and after work can help you deal with anxiety. When you are physically active, the body releases substances (neurotransmitters) that have a calming effect on the body.
Be organised. Big responsibilities at work cause anxiety. Organisations can reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. That can be achieved by dividing large tasks into smaller ones so that each of them is limited by the date and time of completion. [6]
Set Boundaries. Stress can be associated with an imbalance between work and private life. In this sense, you can set a certain time for the beginning and end of the working day, include one or two activities that will improve your physical and mental health, and inform colleagues and clients about the limits of accepting and not accepting business tasks. [4]
Find yourself a reason to laugh. Laughter can relieve you of tension and change the way you look at a stressful situation. Talk to people who know how to make you laugh, watch a comedy, or recall your own funny situations.
Create a calming space. In your workspace, create a refuge that has a calming effect in stressful situations. There you can put family pictures, favorite objects, or even a diffuser with soothing essential oils. If you do not have the opportunity to create a refuge at your workplace, you can carry with you objects that serve you to relax. It can be a list of favorite songs or sweets.
Enrich your time away from work. Strive to create a life outside of work filled with relationships, events, and activities that bring you joy, peace, and happiness. [4]

You can turn to a therapist whenever you think you need his help in the fight against anxiety at work. When you will do it depends exclusively on you, and it is an individual need. However, it may be best to do this after you have first tried to help yourself.
Anxiety at work is not a rare phenomenon, but it can be successfully controlled. That can be achieved by understanding stress triggers, setting boundaries, and taking breaks in crises. If an individual cannot cope on his own, he can always turn to a professional. We all deserve to work without stress and tension. [7]


1. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Highlights: workplace stress & anxiety disorders survey.
2. Haslam C, Atkinson S, Brown SS, Haslam RA. Anxiety and depression in the workplace: effects on the individual and organisation (a focus group investigation). J Affect Disord. 2005 Oct;88(2):209-15. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2005.07.009. PMID: 16122810.
3. Mind the workplace 2021 report.
5. Nash-Wright J. Dealing with anxiety disorders in the workplace: importance of early intervention when anxiety leads to absence from work. Prof Case Manag. 2011 Mar-Apr;16(2):55-9; quiz 60-1. doi: 10.1097/NCM.0b013e3181f50919. PMID: 21304350.
6. How to Deal With Anxiety at Work. By Madeline Laguaite. Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on April 05, 2021
7. Vignoli M, Muschalla B, Mariani MG. Workplace Phobic Anxiety as a Mental Health Phenomenon in the Job Demands-Resources Model. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:3285092. doi: 10.1155/2017/3285092. Epub 2017 Nov 29. PMID: 29318143; PMCID: PMC5727632.

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