Anxiety at the Workplace

If you’re reading this right now, you probably are facing some significant pitfalls at work, with rambling thoughts, absent-mindedness and a persisting inability to focus properly. Something has been gnawing away at your conscience, and it’s gone unnoticed for far too long. Chronic stress and anxiety are signs of deeper, underlying troubles that should be acknowledged as soon as possible. 

Determining the root cause of this behavior is the right course of action, although this isn’t the one that is generally followed. People often find solace within their immediate surroundings with prompt solutions (e.g., engaging in toxic behavior, drinking), which relieves anxiety at the surface level—leading to critical issues later on. 

Excessive worrying for no reason at all can be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder, and a high degree of self-doubt and incompetence can be recognized as impostor syndrome, both of which develop from deliberately avoiding a direct MO to deal with the root cause of your anxiety. Most of these afflictions are also caused by a tendency towards perfectionism, which demands a high standard of work input from yourself. 

Whenever you are swamped with work, never forget to deconstruct heavy tasks into smaller fragments, and don’t ever indulge in multitasking. Just take it easy. One little task at a time. Changing your mindset and welcoming a shift in perspective is advantageous, too, if you ever face a mental rut. 

Try the ‘box-breathing’ technique if you are far too overwhelmed. Clear your mind and breath in slowly while counting to four. Hold your breath similarly in a four-count, exhale for another four, then hold your breath again for four and repeat. Picture a box as you move through four equally timed segments of this technique. 

Another effective method to combat negative thoughts at work is the 5 senses grounding technique. Also known as the 54321 technique, practicing this anxiety-coping technique involves being mindful by naming 5 things you see, 4 you can feel/touch, 3 sounds you hear, 2 things you smell and 1 thing you taste. This process is beneficial when you are constantly bothered or distracted, possibly zoned out, and so on.

Whatever’s bothering you: be it personal problems, financial worries, deadlines, job performance, or a competitive environment, never assume the worst. Prolonged anxiety at the workplace is precursory to various addictions, eating disorders, insomnia and clinical depression. Engage heartily in outdoor activities and hobbies off work, and pursue varied areas of healthy interests during your free time. 

To alleviate anxiety, a holistic method is a relatively successful undertaking. It is vital to take care of your body on a routine basis(regular exercise and a balanced diet). Furthermore, an American Psychologist by the name of Corey Keyes—well known for his works on positive psychology, describes the ideal approach to social well-being. This can be integrated and applied to a workplace model to ensure that the employees thrive. 

The five key features in this model include—

    (i) coherence: harmony between the workers

    (ii) actualization: realization of an individual’s potential

    (iii) integration: involvement within the community (togetherness)

    (iv) contribution: the part played by the individual on a project 

    (v) acceptance: to what degree do we tolerate our counterparts

In my opinion, work and stress go hand in hand, and a “stress-free” environment is the stuff of fairy tales, a mere pipe dream to entice the masses. Clear,  transparent communication is essential to prevent burnout, which means coming out with your problems (if it is related to the workspace). Even though admitting your problems may not have the finest consequences, this is a good move if you want to preserve your mental well-being. 

It is essential to encourage constructive feedback at the workplace. Embracing anxiety is always a more productive maneuver in contrast to resisting it. It would be wise if you accept that you are stressed, and look for a solution to the problem accordingly. Self-care and well-being come as top priorities before anything else. If you feel like you are about to cave in, you should refrain from work. 

From Keyes’ model, we can understand that when these five basic elements are not comprehended in a proper manner—both by the individual and the employer, a substantial decline in productivity can be expected. Although these 5 elements are not an end-all and be-all, they do lay an adequate foundation on which to build a road map. 

Fulfilling these criteria should never be dealt with with an all-or-nothing attitude; rather, it is best to see to what extent these goals can be achieved. A higher volume of task completion and improved quality of work will lead to redeemable work-reward gratification and, by the same token, throw light on the individual identities of the workforce, which will help break free from all traditional, inhumane, robotlike puppetry. 

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