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While these new technologies (which have really only taken off in the past twenty years or so) make many aspects of work easier, they can also make work more stressful for employees. We feel the constant need to respond instantaneously, taking calls on weekends and answering emails over dinner. We may feel like everyone expects something from us right now. This can induce anxiety even in someone who has never struggled before, and for those who already battle an anxiety disorder it can become unbearable.
“Anxiety effects a person mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” explains Channing Marinari, LMHC of Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, “Since anxiety is different for everyone, there is no specific formula for what can trigger it. It is important to be aware of when it hits so that it can be dealt with immediately and not have time to fester.”
Channing explains that the anxiety people may feel in the workplace comes in many forms.
“Some people might feel anxious and channel that energy into working harder, whereas others will feel a sense of despair or helplessness and become unable to perform at all,” she says.
Contributing factors to anxiety in the workplace can include stress from a boss or co-workers, pressures of meeting deadlines, a hostile work environment, and difficulties trying to balance work and family/personal time. The feelings this anxiety can bring are often unexpected, Marinari explains, but the good news is that many of these issues can be resolved with improved communication.
“Confronting issues before they become too big and asking for help is key,” says Marinari, “and letting go of things that are out of your control can make the environment a lot more peaceful.”
Address the issues you are having with your boss. After all, if you never speak up things may never change. It is important to be your own best advocate in the case for your mental health. People may not realize you are struggling, which can create a snowball affect of taking on more and more while you suffer internally.
Many people who struggle with anxiety in the workplace find themselves wondering if it’s “worth it,” and begin thinking about finding other employment. Marinari explains that while this may be appropriate if you are working in a hostile environment, or if a supervisor is not addressing an issue appropriately, often anxiety needs to be addressed by an employee internally in order for it to improve.
“Learning to practice mindfulness at work and retrain your brain into thinking more positively will help you feel less anxious,” she says. This may include things like conscious breathing exercises, positive self-talk, or CBT techniques learned from a therapist. It’s important to seek professional help if anxiety is interfering with your day-to-day functions, and many employers have EAP services to help employees who are struggling.