If you suffer from anxiety, you’ll know that it’s not something you can just leave at home.
Anxiety follows us around — even coming with us to the workplace and disrupting our working day. It can really knock our confidence and leave us feeling overwhelmed, dramatically affecting everything from performance to ability to hit deadlines to relationships with coworkers.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can manage your anxiety and improve your confidence in the workplace.
In this post, we’ll cover five ways that you can tackle anxiety at work. For more helpful resources, check out our list of online tools and digital distractions for helping with anxiety.
1. Recognise your own symptoms and triggers
Learning to recognise your own symptoms and triggers will help you to feel more comfortable and confident in the workplace — and more in charge of your anxiety.
It’ll help you to anticipate panic attacks or strong feelings of anxiety, and give you a chance to get a handle on them before your feelings spiral or turn into a full-blown panic attack.
Everyone experiences anxiety in different ways. Symptoms can range from physical (such as heart palpitations, breathlessness and dizziness) to psychological (like feelings of panic, dread, nervousness, or difficulty concentrating).
If you’re unsure what your symptoms or triggers are, try to keep a diary where you can write down how you’re feeling, and you’ll soon notice patterns in your own behaviour.
2. Learn coping methods
Although it feels like your anxiety won’t get any better when you’re in the middle of a full-fledged panic attack or anxiety spiral, there are calming techniques that you can use to handle anxiety in the workplace and improve your confidence.
Sometimes, the answer is as simple as removing yourself from a stressful situation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed in the office or the atmosphere is feeling tense, take a break away from your desk. Make yourself a soothing cup of herbal tea, or step outside the office and go for a walk outside. Take some quiet time for yourself to feel more calm and relaxed.
If you’re unable to get away, then there are other techniques you can try like breathing exercises. These can help to calm your body and allow you to refocus.
You could also try meditation or mindfulness practices.
3. Keep on track with realistic tasks and targets
Anxiety can make your workload seem overwhelming and impossible, which can affect your performance and knock your confidence.
Although your workload is unlikely to change, you can change your approach to your work and how you tackle your to-do list. Setting yourself realistic, bitesize tasks will help manage your working day better and get your anxiety under control. And by achieving your targets — no matter how small they are — you’ll boost your confidence in your own ability.
Don’t be afraid to say no to your boss if they set unrealistic deadlines for any projects or tasks that they’ve asked you to complete. All too often anxiety sufferers are afraid to say no because they’re worried that people won’t think that they’re coping; the end result is you piling far too much on your plate and becoming even more overwhelmed.
Be honest with yourself, and try to keep your approach to work healthy.
4. Focus on your successes and your strengths
If you suffer from anxiety, it’s all too easy to focus on the negatives, especially in the workplace. Anxiety can make you feel worried and panicky about every aspect of your job,
creating feelings of inadequacy.
Focusing on your successes and strengths will boost your confidence and encourage positive feelings — and banish negative ones.
You make feel like you’re not any good at your job or like you don’t belong, but this is the anxiety talking. Have you hit a target or worked in a team to complete a project? Maybe you’ve helped someone or connected with a client? Are you a hard worker or an empathetic communicator?
Spend time reminding yourself of your strengths and the great things that you’ve achieved. This will also give you the chance to build on your strengths and refine them — the perfect confidence boost is to keep getting better at something you’re already good at.
5. Get help and support
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Going to work every day with anxiety can be even more difficult if you don’t let someone you work with know. Finding somebody you trust to talk to at work will help you to feel supported and acknowledged. Sometimes, it’s comforting just to know that someone else is aware of what you’re going through.
If you are struggling and you feel like you need further help, you can always speak to your doctor. They might suggest trying out treatments like anti-anxiety medication or therapy.
You could also try out some alternative treatments — such as acupuncture, CBD oil, or activities such as art therapy to help treat your anxiety. There are a range of solutions out there that can make living and working with anxiety easier, and boost your confidence.
These are five of the best ways to tackle anxiety and improve your confidence at work. Applying these strategies to your workday will help you to feel more balanced, calm and in control. If you’re really struggling, then don’t be afraid to speak to a medical professional for some expert advice.