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Overcoming Anxiety at Work, Getting More Done

Project management related anxiety affects the way managers think, behave, and act. Since the field demands constantly working with teams, having anxiety disorders will shatter the productivity of a team. Managing projects is a high stressor job so when an individual is facing a potentially harmful situation, the body sets off alarms triggering the fight or flight response that […]

Managing projects is a high stressor job so when an individual is facing a potentially harmful situation, the body sets off alarms triggering the fight or flight response that is vital for survival. Anxiety is normal and often healthy, but trouble sets in when a person experiences this emotion regularly at disproportionate levels.



Anxiety is an ever-present uninvited guest making a grand entrance at the end of a wedge, before an exam, an approaching deadline, a big presentation or a job interview. An individual develops phobias or fear specifically regarding working conditions, fears of the inadequacy of judgement, and interacting with colleagues and superiors in the workspace.

Workplace anxiety is a tailored response to stress and is shot up from a range of factors. Tension at the workplace is triggered by certain factors such as taking on new challenges, public speaking, perfectionism, speaking with authority figures, amongst others. These triggers account for the lack of productivity in employees. A 2018 study revealed that 15.4 million days are lost due to work-related stress and Anxiety.



Stress like Anxiety is a normal part of life; it is, in fact, an excellent friend to the latter as anxiety is a reaction to stress. Depending on the level of severity, these two factors can play a detrimental impact on one’s life quality. While stress and Anxiety share similar emotional and physical symptoms – sweaty palms, frequent toilet visits, high blood pressure, loss of sleep and headaches -they have different origins.

Stress is a response to direct external stimuli such as a tight deadline at work, having an argument or completing a task, and subsides when the problem at hand is tackled. Symptoms of stress can be reduced by including physical activity, breathing exercises, adequate sleep, and connecting with others.

Anxiety, on the other hand, is an individual’s specific response to stress; its origin, unlike stress's is internal. It is typically characterized by a lingering feeling of apprehension or dread in cases that are not severe. Unlike stress, Anxiety persists even after the task at hand has been dealt with. It is essential to catch anxiety symptoms on time to prevent the development of an anxiety disorder.




Overcoming workplace anxiety doesn’t happen overnight, but in the long run, with proper maintenance and positivity, it is possible to regain control and put the symptoms in check. Outlined below are several tips to help you excel above the workplace anxiety bug.


Accept Anxiety: 

first things first, accept Anxiety. Anxiety is your body’s response to stress and fighting it is equivalent to fighting yourself. The more you fear Anxiety, the more powerful it becomes, a crucial part of crippling Anxiety is accepting that sometimes work is going to make you feel that way. This is a problematic approach, but with practice, it will get a lot easier. The founder of acceptance commitment therapy(ACT), Prof. Hayes encourages workplace anxiety sufferers to start their coping process with the acceptance and neutral non-judgmental observation of negative thoughts.


Ditch the Caffeine: 

do away with the teas, coffees, energy drinks and caffeinated drinks. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, and although it has suggested benefits and helps you stay alert and energized, consuming too much of it puts you at risk of increased anxiety or complicating an already existing anxiety disorder by growing symptoms. The substance which is readily available in offices is linked to aggravation and maintenance of anxiety disorders, and the initiation of panic attacks in those who are already predisposed to Anxiety.

The excessive use of Caffeine in amounts above 200mg has been shown to increase the likelihood of anxiety and panic attacks in the working population resulting in symptoms from general Anxiety obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobic symptoms. Eliminating the substance and embracing decaffeinated drinks may significantly improve workplace anxiety symptoms.


Don’t Step On the Pedal: 

Telling yourself to stop or calm down when you are feeling anxious does the exact opposite. Albeit a natural response to Anxiety at the workplace, taking a deep breath and gathering your thoughts at the corner of the office doesn’t count for much help; it is the same as continually telling yourself to go to sleep when you have insomnia.

It is essential to acknowledge the fact that you are anxious and try to channel the pump of adrenaline that comes from anxiety situations into a positive effort. Instead of trying to step on a pedal or calm your way out of Anxiety, reorient the feelings like excitement and convert work-related Anxiety into a performance-boosting narrative.


Talk to someone: 

the burden of bearing Anxiety may be too much on your shoulders. It may be of great help to confide in a trusted coworker, a friend, family member or visit a mental health professional. Sharing your feelings with the right person can assist in processing these emotions. They might have gone through the same thing in the past and know just how to get you to wriggle out of the dread.


Create a balanced schedule: 

changing your priorities and putting your everyday activities in a plan will go a long way in improving your productivity and ultimately put an end to Anxiety. Schedules will ensure some healthy balance, ensuring your day is set from the moment you wake up to after work hours that allow you to burn out the stress.


Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle: 

Finding a balance between work and a healthy lifestyle is critical. A good night’s sleep for a suitable amount of time can help wear out work-related stress giving your body the much needed time to recuperate. Exercising also promotes relaxation as well as eating a well-balanced meal.

It is normal to experience workplace anxiety when working with a team, and in severe cases, this could be significantly controlling. It is essential to note the triggers and identify effective strategies to address your fears and spur your productivity in the workspace.

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