Anxiety at work can affect the way you think as your mind can go blank. It can affect the way you present your business to clients as you tend to stutter and stammer. It can give clients the impression that you lack confidence.
Anxiety at work also increases your chances of making mistakes as you are not entirely focused on what you are doing.
This can cause a strain in relationships as impatient employees can become short-tempered or easily irritated by your antics.
Some statistics from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) show that about 40 million people in the United States of America have different anxiety disorders every year.
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, one in every four employees have persistent anxiety at work. Unfortunately, only one in three people having anxiety disorders are actually being treated for their disorders.
Do I Have an Anxiety Disorder?
There are many subtle but important differences between everyday anxiety and anxiety disorder although they may both look the same at first.
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is, is my fear rational? Anxiety disorders usually manifest as a fear of irrational things.
People with anxiety disorders are afraid of things they should not normally be afraid of, or they are afraid of things they should be afraid of in an irrational way.
If you are worried about taxes or losing your job or a breakup in a difficult situation, then your fears are rational and understandable. This is everyday anxiety. However, if you are successful at work and you fear of dismissal, you may have an anxiety disorder because that is an irrational fear.
Here is a brief guide to determine whether you may be struggling with an anxiety disorder or not.
1. Your Anxiety at Work Is Disproportionate
Normal, everyday anxiety is usually directly proportional in intensity to the severity of the situation. For example, if there is a minor threat like a client getting out of control, then the experience of anxiety should also be minor.
However, executives with anxiety disorder tend to overreact and hence will show intense anxiety at work even for minor threats.
Therefore, if you notice that you tend to overreact for minor threats then there is a possibility that you have an anxiety disorder.
2. Your Anxiety Is Intense
It is possible for a manager without an anxiety disorder to have severe anxiety. However, this will only be limited to certain events.
For example, let’s look at what happened in 9/11 where two planes crashed into the world trade center. Any normal person would be severely afraid. However, this severe anxiety is usually transient and will reduce after the threatening situation has been resolved.
For anxiety disorders, however, this intense feeling of anxiety lasts for an unusually long time.
If you find that you have been having severe anxiety at work for longer than 3 months, you should see a doctor.
3. Anxious “About Everything”
In normal everyday anxiety, you are only worried when you are faced with a threat, and the worry gradually disappears after the threat is gone. However, an executive having an anxiety disorder is worried about everything.
If you find yourself unnecessarily worried about everything or you tend to have anxiety when you worry about having another anxiety attack, then you may be having an anxiety disorder.
4. “No Control”
There are many ways people cope with everyday anxiety when they are feeling anxious. However, people with anxiety disorders cannot control their anxiety at work. They do make attempts to keep their fears under control. But these attempts do nothing to control the anxiety, rather they affect their work activities adversely. This is medically called maladaptation.
For example, a sales rep having a social anxiety disorder may make a lot of excuses to avoid meeting a new client because he is afraid of social interactions.
Also, if you find yourself having severe, uncontrollable anxiety at work over everything and your mind usually goes blank anytime you are afraid, you may have a generalized anxiety disorder.
Cause of Anxiety Disorders at Workplace
According to research published in the Medical News Today, a group of brain cells plays a role in creating these anxious feelings. Here are some causes of anxiety at work:
– Work-related stress such as meeting deadlines, the pressure to achieve business goals and work overload.
– The stress that comes with achieving career development like promotion opportunities. Also, try to stand out among coworkers, try to improve participation in decision making, and lack of job security.
– Problems in interpersonal relationships such as poor rapport with your boss or with other colleagues, difficulties in staff and human resource management, and difficulties in delegating responsibilities.
– Changes in work conditions such as having new commitments, making an initial presentation, going on a business trip, moving to the business headquarters, budget restrictions and so on.
– Inability to maintain a balance between work and family obligations.
Treatment of Anxiety Disorder
Some executives with anxiety disorders may find it difficult to tell their employers about their anxiety disorder because they may get fired. Business people with a social anxiety disorder or social phobias may turn down a promotion just because they do not want to have to go out and meet other people. Social gatherings in the workplace such as meetings may be a problem for these executives.
There are several treatments that can help you cope with anxiety at work.
Lifestyle changes are usually the first option to try before moving to medications and psychotherapy.
Daily exercises combined with good sleep, healthy eating, and less intake of caffeine and alcohol are all lifestyle changes that can decrease symptoms of anxiety.
There are other simple and effective tips for managing anxiety at work:
– Make sure you work hard – the more you work the less focused you are on the things that you are afraid of.
– Alternative or complementary medicine can be very useful for dealing with anxiety. Use acupuncture for anxiety. Stimulate a Better State of Wellness.
– Avoid toxic colleagues – this is the other side of the coin of telling a colleague. You have to avoid colleagues who can take advantage of your weakness and make your situation worse.
– Time management and planning – make sure you plan and organize your work in such a way that you can meet up deadlines and work effectively.