Having an anxiety attack while you're at work can be scary and difficult to handle. If you suffer from anxiety repeatedly at work, it can affect many aspects of your working situation. However, there is hope. By recognizing both the symptoms of an attack, as well as the triggers that precede an attack, you can be proactive about changing the situation.
Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks
It is normal to have some level of stress at work, especially in the face of difficult situations and an increased workload. Some of the symptoms of an anxiety attack include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Problems concentrating
- Over reacting
- Increased agitation
- Changes in performance
- Feelings of dread
- Avoiding coworkers
- Increased tension
- Tightness in your chest
Triggers of Work-Related Anxiety Attacks
Some causes of anxiety can be difficult to see while others are very apparent. Recognizing these causes can help you to move quickly past the attack and get on with your day. The following are some causes to consider:
- Increased workload
- Fear of rejection
- Promotion or demotion
- Upcoming presentation
- Confrontations with coworkers
- Unhealthy work environment
Overcoming your Attacks
The majority of anxiety attacks at work happen because of fear in some form. While it may seem that overcoming an attack is impossible, discovering ways to work through them can help you to recover from them quicker and even eliminate them.
Practice Breathing and Meditation Techniques
Practice deep breathing during a lunch break. Simply sit in a comfortable chair, and breathe in deeply through your nose. Hold your breath for seven seconds and slowly breathe out, imagining that you are unzipping a zipper. Learning meditation techniques is also an advisable way to relieve anxiety. The more you are able to relax the quicker the symptoms will subside.
If you feel anxious about a problem that you have with your coworkers or supervisor, confront them before the situation gets out of control. Consider writing down the key points that you would like to discuss. Once you face the problem head on, you may find that it wasn't as big as it seemed.
Learn to Say No
Understand that it is okay to decline taking on a new project or extra work. Sometimes anxiety can be caused by trying to do too many things at once. Set a limit for how much you can handle without feeling overwhelmed and stick to that limit. Then, when someone confronts you with a new task you will be less inclined to agree to do it.
Recognize Unhealthy Environments
Recognizing an unsafe or unhealthy work environment may take some of the fear of going to work off of your shoulders. Speak up if you feel that your physical or mental health is in jeopardy while you are at your place of work. Keeping serious issues to yourself may cause more problems than telling the proper authorities.
Focus on Success
Instead of focusing on all of the things that you have done wrong throughout the day try to reflect on the successes. Write down everything that you have accomplished and put it somewhere that is easy to see. Looking at it often will remind you of all of the good things that you have done, and the anxiety caused by fear of failure should subside.
Eliminate Negative Self-Talk
If you find yourself saying negative things about your character, personality or accomplishments, take a deep breath and try to change your thinking. When you have some free time, write down 10 positive things about yourself, and hang the list in your office. When you start to feel anxious pull out the list and remind yourself of all of the positive things, and eventually you should start to calm down.
Find a Support System
Talk to your family and friends about your issues and concerns. Ask them for support. You never know if someone close to you is experiencing the same things you are. When you have had a bad day, find someone you can vent to that you trust won't judge you or put you down. Another option is to speak to a professional counselor or therapist about your situation he may have additional suggestions about dealing with your anxiety.
To eliminate some anxiety about meeting deadlines, keep a calendar and write down when all of your assignments and projects are due. Avoid procrastination by setting your own deadline a few days earlier so that you have a chance to proofread, edit or prepare your work for review.
An End to Anxiety
Having anxiety attacks at work is not uncommon. Whether you have been at your job for years or a few months, anxiety may eventually rear its head. Being aware of the types of things that cause or exacerbate your anxiety, can be the first step to addressing the issue and getting rid of the anxiety once and for all.