Managing Workplace Anxiety

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According to ComPsych, the world’s largest provider of mental health services, anxiety ranks as the foremost issue reported by U.S. workers, surpassing depression, stress, relationship challenges, family issues, addiction and grief in the workplace. This finding underscores the pervasive impact of anxiety on employees’ well-being and work performance.

Managing anxiety is crucial for maintaining productivity, fostering growth and boosting confidence in your professional endeavors, whether it’s hitting send on emails or speaking up confidently on client calls.

Insights and Strategies for Managing Workplace Anxiety

To commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, we invited our colleagues to share their valuable insights and strategies for facing anxieties in the workplace.

  • Matt Burrows, a senior account manager, suggests a proactive approach by leaning into the anxiety rather than trying to bury it. “This is a technique they teach in panic management groups — don’t try to bury your anxiety; it will only make it worse. Acknowledge it, let the feeling have its moment and then start to walk through, level by level,” he says. “As an example, are you worried about an upcoming briefing? Acknowledge your worry — things *could* go wrong. But rather than let it spiral, you note that yes, while things can go wrong, there are steps you can take. Have those in mind, so that when anxiety spikes, you’ve already thought of your plan out of that moment.”
  • Anny Nguyen, associate graphic designer, emphasizes the importance of balancing work with personal life. She explains that “Doing fun things after work and on the weekends can be a nice reminder that work isn’t your whole life. Yes, it’s important and you need to do a good job, but you need to remember that it is not life or death if you can’t do this one task perfectly or if you forgot to send a message to so-and-so.”
  • Brooklynn Loiselle, an account manager, highlights the value of open communication with colleagues and managers. “Talk to your managers and coworkers! I find that a lot of my anxiety in the workplace stems from imposter syndrome or being nervous about something that is out of my control. I find that talking to coworkers and my manager about how I feel helps me to stay more levelheaded,” she shares.
  • Lastly, Matt Medlin, a senior account executive, underscores the importance of mindfulness and staying present. He says, “Breathe. It’s dumb (and I stole it from a Scrubs episode), but if you take a deep breath and tackle everything as it comes, things slow down and it gets much easier.”

Incorporating these strategies — acknowledging anxiety, prioritizing a strong work-life balance, fostering open communication, practicing mindfulness and so much more — can collectively contribute to a healthier and more sustainable approach to managing workplace anxiety. By embracing these insights, individuals can navigate challenges with greater resilience and clarity, fostering a positive and productive work environment.

The Importance of Open Conversations About Anxiety in the Workplace

Fostering open conversations about anxiety in the workplace is not only a positive step forward but also crucial for creating a healthier, more inclusive and supportive environment where individuals feel empowered to prioritize their mental health and well-being. Anxiety often carries some stigma, with fears of judgment hindering honest discussions about its effects. However, by breaking down this stigma through open dialogue, we can normalize conversations about mental health to promote empathy and understanding among colleagues.

Talking openly about anxiety raises awareness about its prevalence and impact in the workplace, prompting colleagues and employers to become more supportive and proactive in addressing mental health concerns. When employees feel supported and understood in managing their anxiety, they are more likely to experience improved mental well-being, leading to increased overall productivity and job satisfaction.

Moreover, cultivating conversations about anxiety promotes inclusivity and diversity, affirming that mental health challenges are valid concerns for everyone regardless of their status. This open dialogue also encourages individuals to seek help or turn to coping strategies when they need it. Ultimately, building a culture that supports open discussions about anxiety fosters a more compassionate and supportive workplace environment where employees feel valued and respected.

Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon characterized by persistent self-doubt, where individuals question their skills, abilities or achievements and fear being exposed as a “fraud,” despite evidence of their competence. Those experiencing imposter syndrome often attribute their success to luck or external factors rather than acknowledging their own capabilities.

This syndrome can manifest in various ways, including difficulty accepting praise, undermined confidence and avoidance of challenges. Recognizing imposter syndrome is crucial to mitigating its impact. Seeking support from trusted colleagues, mentors or mental health professionals can foster healthier perspectives on achievements and abilities. Additionally, cultivating self-awareness, practicing self-compassion and reframing negative thought patterns are effective strategies for overcoming imposter syndrome and fostering a more positive work environment.

Imposter syndrome can affect individuals of any age, demographic or professional level, but not everyone experiences it. Even if someone doesn’t struggle with imposter syndrome, anxiety can still have a significant impact both personally and professionally.

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