Psychotherapist shares 3 ‘surprise’ signs that anxiety is holding you back at work

Many of us know the symptoms of anxiety: nervousness, increased heart rate, sweating, tremors, rapid breathing, and a sense of impending doom. But these symptoms can flare up and cause small changes in the way you present yourself at work.

As a psychotherapist, I help patients deal with communication, performance, and motivational issues often caused by anxiety.

It can be difficult to make a connection between anxiety and difficulties at work. But fighting anxiety begins with identifying it. Here are three surprising signs that anxiety may be holding you back at work:

1. You struggle with cooperation.

Anxiety can make you irritable, stressed, or scared about how you see it, which can make it difficult to collaborate and forge positive relationships.

2. You cannot complete the work on time.

Do you spend a lot of time worrying? Or are you afraid to hand in the product for fear that your boss will point out a mistake? Anxiety can distract you or cause you to procrastinate, making it harder for you to meet deadlines.

3. You are tired and lack concentration.

Anxiety can make it hard to sleep at night, especially if you spend many late hours going through everything you might have done wrong. This can cause fatigue and distraction at work.

How to overcome your anxiety

The good news is that feelings of anxiety can be controlled with simple techniques. Here are three ways to calm anxiety in the workplace:

1. Thinking stops

Stop your anxious thoughts before they become a runaway train by saying “Stop!” say it out loud to yourself or by gently tying the elastic on your wrist. Then, replace your thoughts with evidence that you can observe in the real world.

For example, you might think, “My boss scheduled a 15-minute meeting with me. That’s never happened before. Obviously I messed up on the last assignment. I’m about to be fired.”

To use the stop-thinking feature, you can say: “Stop! Maybe I do I made a mistake but that’s why I got my boss’s opinion so I can correct it next time. Fifteen minutes won’t be long enough to tell me I screwed up and is about to be fired. And she didn’t invite HR. “

2. Breathing box

This technique has four steps:

  1. Inhale slowly for a count of four seconds.
  2. Hold your breath for four seconds.
  3. Slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of four seconds.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 until you feel calm and focused again.

As you breathe, use your eyes to follow a square or rectangle anywhere in your field of vision.

This can be like sitting at your desk and eyeing the top of your computer screen for a count of four, down to the right for a count of four, across to the bottom for a count of four, and up. left to count four times.

Like a shorter version of meditation, box breathing forces your brain to focus on one thing over and over and slows down your breathing, putting your nervous system at ease.

3. Physical platform

Stress can lead to feelings of disconnection from the body, which can increase panic.

To combat this, pay attention to your senses. Sit with your back straight in a chair, place your feet on the ground and your hands on the armrests.

Notice the little things around you that you might not always notice, such as the color of light streaks on the carpet or the hum of the computer.

By using external sources to bring your body back to a state of stagnation, you are reminding your body that the experience of stress is temporary and can be changed with your intervention.

Jenny Maenpaa, LCSW, EdM, is a psychotherapist and founder Transitions in the heel, a New York City communication feminist therapy that empowers all women to stand tall and master their values ​​so they can light up the world. She recently launched Do the FIREwork, an evidence-based program on workplace health.

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