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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Work-Related Anxiety: How To Tackle Stress

About 1 million U.S. workers miss work each day because of stress

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Bikki Sharma
Bikki Sharma
A content writer trying to explore the world of Journalism where freedom of expression is valued and cherished.

INDIA: Work anxiety is induced by stress caused at work which leads to anxious behavior. Stress-induced anxiety creeps in when you’re constantly worrying about something specific, like an imminent deadline or you just have a formless feeling of dread.

If you are an anxious person, the other thought that can cause worry is that of getting fired. Consequently, it will spiral out of control and you might find yourself in the middle of a full-blown panic attack.

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Hence, work anxiety can have negative effects and must be given due attention to prevent low outcomes both for employees and employers.

Work Induced Anxiety: Study

A study conducted by the American Institute of Stress has observed workplace stress to be of common occurrence today, U.S. News reported. Overall, 83% of workers in the U.S. suffer from stress related to their work.

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This overwhelming, work-related stress is associated with an array of negative consequences, according to the institute:

  • About 1 million U.S. workers miss work each day because of stress
  • 120,000 deaths are recorded annually in the U.S. due to work-related stress which leads to $190 billion in health care costs on a yearly basis
  • The U.S. economy suffers an annual loss of up to $300 billion because of workplace stress

“The fact that more than 80% of workers in the U.S. experience work-related stress shows that working in a stressful environment is the rule, not the exception,” said Colleen Cira, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder and executive director of the Cira Center for Behavioral Health in Chicago.

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With intermittent COVID-19 lockdown, most people are wrestling with anxiety associated to work from home due to the pandemic. This, in addition to the usual workplace worries about deadlines and annual evaluations.

Research published in 2020 in the Journal of Applied Psychology underscored that feeling of anxiety associated with the pandemic can prompt a “fight or flight” response.

According to the researchers, “The fight response is triggered when the threat is deemed surmountable, while the flight response is triggered when it is believed that the threat is difficult to overcome. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to prompt a flight response, as it is an immediate threat, it is unclear how long it will persist, and there are a multitude of unanswered questions regarding its impact.”

Signs Of Anxiety

Here are some common symptoms in terms of anxiety disorders and anxiety in general:

  • Unnecessary or irrational worrying
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Unwarranted startle reaction
  • Getting jittery
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Feeling like there’s a lump in your throat
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive Sweating
  • A pounding/racing heart

In addition to these general symptoms of anxiety, there are also some signs to watch out for like taking an unusual amount of time off work, focusing too much on negative aspects of the job and overreacting to situations.

Effects Of Work Anxiety

Living with work anxiety takes a toll on one’s life affecting the individual both within and outside the workplace. Here are some common effects of anxiety:

  • Declining job performance, quality of work and productivity
  • Relationships with coworkers and superiors affected
  • Personal life impacted
  • Relationship with your romantic partner affected
  • Developing problems with concentration, fatigue and irritability
  • Turning down opportunities due to phobias (e.g., fear of flying, fear of public speaking, fear of speaking in meetings)
  • Reduced job satisfaction
  • Developing clinical levels of anxiety (e.g., a diagnosable disorder)
  • Avoiding innovation

Coping With Work Anxiety

Practicing mindfulness exercises or attending yoga classes every now and then may not be enough to reduce workplace anxiety. You must also evaluate how you place yourself in the workplace system and communicate and deal with others.

Using and implementing these interpersonal strategies will help you lower the level of anxiety in the office and help you stay calm, focused, and productive:

  • Be sure to make time for yourself away from work
  • Find things that make you happy
  • Take lunch breaks and share a meal with others outside of your work area
  • Go for walks outdoors on your breaks when possible
  • Change your scenery to get out of an emotional rut
  • Focus on life outside of work such as hobbies and friends
  • Reflect on the good things in your job and your life
  • Examine what you fear will happen and ask yourself whether it is an irrational fear

Making Amends

To experience work anxiety from time to time is a common thing, but if your job becomes the root source of stress and nothing that you have tried provides relief, this might be a sign of a deeper problem. Rather than simply assuming that the problem is you, consider things about your job that are making you unhappy and causing stress.

Clinical anxiety can have devastating effects if left undiagnosed and chronic stress at work can precipitate later anxiety disorders. Consider reaching out to your employer or a mental health professional to explore your options.

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