How to Manage Your Anxiety at Work
Often times when somebody says “social anxiety” the first thing that comes to mind is a big group of friends, or going to an event or party where you don’t know anyone. But social anxiety can be triggered at work as well. You have to show up, put in the hours to get by, are surrounded by colleagues, are invited to meetings, and oftentimes are invited to events outside the office. Sometimes, the workplace can feel like a much bigger challenge than even the most intimidating of friend-based interactions.
The workplace is in of itself a social setting, where you encounter other people and negotiate with their opinions and emotions. Add to it the pressure to perform and you’ve got yourself a potential social anxiety storm brewing.
So, what are some ways that you can learn to manage your anxiety at work?
Don’t Just Wish Your Anxiety Away
Accept your anxiety. Even though it can be “easier” to suppress your anxiety or just wish your anxiety away it is unlikely to help. If you practice accepting your anxiety and seeing it as a normal response to something you find stressful, it’ll likely have less power over you. Everyone experiences anxiety, it is a normal response to stress. But rather than pushing it away, make room for your anxiety. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed or less in control.
2. Talk To Somebody You Trust
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your worries with your manager just yet, talking to somebody you trust in your workplace can help create a support network. Once you’ve spoken to one person, this may result in making you less fearful in confiding in your manager. Staying silent is one of the worst things people can do, and opening up about some of the things that may trigger your anxiety can help you feel more relaxed in your workplace.
3. Prepare For Stressful Situations
Part of accepting your social anxiety is identifying some of the things that make you feel the most stressed. What triggers your social anxiety? Is it the workplace? Meeting new people? Meetings or phone calls?
If it’s your workplace - try to make your workspace more comfortable. Make your desk your own space. This will allow you to slowly feel comfortable in the office and will allow you to have a piece of zen when you’re feeling anxious. If it’s meetings or phone calls - take careful notes about what the meeting is about, what you would like to say, who is going to be there. If it’s a phone call be prepared that you may have to leave a voicemail.
5. Take a break and breathe
If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed at work, try taking a short break and/or taking a few, deep calming breaths. Even if you’re in the middle of an important meeting - taking a few, deep calming breaths may help center you. Practising calming breathing will help you feel more in control. Breathing slowly and deeply from your abdomen eases anxiety. Whenever you start feeling anxious, be aware of your breathing. If it is shallow and rapid, consciously shift to slow abdominal breathing.
6. Challenge Yourself
One of the worst things about social anxiety is that it can rob you of the chances to make connections, which can leave you feeling isolated at work. While even the smallest interactions may trigger your social anxiety, small practical steps can help your anxiety at work. Instead of sending an email, talk to your colleague face-to-face. Have a short conversation with a colleague to really get to know them, and to find out how some really is. You may just have something in common that will make you feel more comfortable around them in the office.
Think of practising small-scale workplace interactions, and try to work through the anxiety they might cause as a challenge. The more small interactions you practice, the more confident you will become.
If your social anxiety is making doing your job impossible look at other professional options that can help you throughout the day.
You’re not alone in feeling anxious, your boss might be more receptive to a chat than you think!
Overcome anxiety with Tranquility.
Tranquility Online is a online platform that helps individuals overcome anxiety through the gold standard approach - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. To learn more about how Tranquility can help you visit here.