Anxiety and Stress in the Workplace
By now we’ve all heard the tales of the new workplace normal: Dwindling resources and ever-burgeoning workloads drive managers to push their staff to new lengths — and new lows. Feeling trapped, rank-and-file workers do as they’re told and do their best to keep the ensuing stress at bay. But what happens when the stress turns into anxiety?
Stress Management in the Silicon Valley
Having lived in the Silicon Valley for 30 years, I seen many transitions and watched how the professionals struggle with the emotional effects of a stressful work environment. I have a unique perspective as a therapist in anxiety treatment because I was the CEO of a successful Silicon Valley corporation.
This provided me with a perspective into exactly how high personal and professional expectations affect a person’s over well-being. One of my specialties is helping business professionals and their families manage stress and anxiety.
How Workplace Stress Affects Your Emotional Health
While a certain degree of workplace stress is considered to be the norm, too much stress can interfere with not only your productivity, but it can affect your physical and emotional health. Because it can impact your ability to focus, it can spell the difference between success and failure in your personal and professional relationships.
Of course, you have limited control over people at your work. However, that doesn’t mean you’re entirely powerless. Developing methods to cope with workplace stress doesn’t necessarily means making big changes changing jobs. In fact, the best time to look for a new job or make a career change is when you’re feeling positive and clear-headed, not when you’re feeling anxiety and stress because of your current work environment.
In order to begin to manage your anxiety or work, start by evaluating how ti is affecting you and what are the primary causes. Common causes of excessive workplace stress include the following. Do any of these affect you?
- Fear of being the victim of a lay off
- Additional overtime and/or responsibilities due to staff cutbacks
- Performance pressure and high expectations from yourself and/or your management
- Changing job description and subsequent duties
Recognize Warning Signs of Workplace Stress
If you find yourself anxiety and stressed at work, you may become depressed and irritable. At this point, you may dread going to work each day and find that you are less and less productive. If you ignore warning signs of workplace stress, the problem can spider into other areas of your life.
When your work is no longer rewarding and actually produces anxiety, you may eventually develop physical and emotional health problems. The warning signs of excessive workplace stress include the following:
- Feeling worried, irritable, or depressed even outside of work
- Lack of interest in work and other activities you used to like
- Problems falling or staying asleep
- Fatigue and lack of energy and motivation
- Trouble concentrating and focusing
- Body aches or headaches
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of sex drive and lack of intimacy
- Self mediating with drugs or alcohol or some other behavior
Reduce Workplace Stress by Taking Care of Yourself
If things reach critical mass and workplace stress impacts your ability to perform your job or maintain your relationships, it’s probably time to take some positive steps. Begin by paying special attention to your physical and emotional health. If you are feeling psychically and emotionally well, it will become easier for you to access how to best manage work stress without becoming anxious and overwhelmed.
Bear in mind that taking care of yourself doesn’t mean changing everything at once. In fact, sometimes small things can have profound effects such as helping with relaxation and letting go. Make choices and changes intelligently. The more positive lifestyle choices you make, the more you will notice an increase in feeling of well-being and a decrease in your stress levels. If you find that doing these things aren’t sufficient in reducing your anxiety, then it may be time for professional help in the form of anxiety counseling.