Fewer people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are aware of the fact that they actually need to manage their anxiety while at work. They often struggle with excessive worry about a variety of everyday problems related to work, or even their personal life, while trying to get their job done. This makes their life worse and contrary to what they think happens! They think that their worries are helping them to avoid or overcome problems but actually, they are increasing their problems. This is the reason emotional impacts of GAD cannot be ignored.
The feelings and sensations in this condition are debilitating and far greater than would be expected over simple concerns. Soon physical symptoms manifest to make life miserable at the work place.
Worries related to Work
Individuals with generalized anxiety disorder may worry about any of the following while at work:
- Worrying about the performance at work
- Nervousness before presentations
- Worries about work tasks
- Worry about what is happening at the home- family worries
- General worry about money and finances
- Worries regarding health concerns
- Worries about future and career
What do these worries give you:
As discussed earlier worry and anxiety are paradoxical in nature. You think that worrying will solve problems or help you avoid problems but the exact opposite happens. Worry, anxiety, and panic itself is a problem. Worrying never solves your problems. It exacerbates problems and misery.
These worries may translate into the following problems at work:
- Inability to concentrate
- Failure to meet deadlines/taking too long to do things
- Somatic (body) problems such as tension, headaches, feeling of pressure, dizziness, and upset stomach
- Social withdrawal at the workplace
- Lost productivity
- Work-life imbalance and spillover effect onto family life
- Frustration and anger to tolerate all of it
- Depression due to feeling of inefficiency
Tips for Coping with GAD
Coping with GAD at work is possible. Below are some tips to help you manage anxiety while at work.
Tell all of your colleagues, seniors, and manager that you have anxiety. Get rid of the thoughts that you will get stigmatized for your anxiety disorder. No, that won’t happen. Tell them the problems you face at the office and ask for assistance and help. Most of them will understand your condition and they will agree to help you out with daily problems. They will help you when you feel overwhelmed and you have a workload. Your boss may lift some responsibilities and pass it on to others to relieve your anxiety temporarily. Colleagues may help you out with the complex tasks that may be stressful for you when you are in the anxious mode.
This may seem difficult but it can help a lot. You may be offered accommodations to help you do your job more effectively.
Don’t be alarmed about losing out on promotions, or having your problem on your permanent record.
Ultimately, however, you cannot be discriminated against because of your anxiety disorder. The Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act of 1990 protects you from discrimination if you are qualified to do your job and able to perform duties with reasonable accommodations.
Work Within Your Limits
When you have a lot of work, manage your work effectively. Make schedule or plan so that it does not stress you or tire you out. This is very important as stress can trigger physical symptoms of anxiety. You are already into a high affective state and in this state, stress can definitely affect your mood. You can divide work into parts and set mini deadlines that can be easy to attain.
Take regular breaks
While keeping busy striving to meet deadlines, you need to take breaks at regular intervals. It is very important to release the stress that you build up inside you. You can go into the open air and relax for a few minutes or simply wash your face with cold water that refreshes you.
Do diaphragmatic breathing
Whenever you get the chance go for diaphragmatic breathing. This will restore oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your body and shift your body from the high affective state to a calmer state. You might be knowing that fast and shallow breathing increases the physical symptoms of anxiety. This can be a good way to keep them away.
Practice Mindfulness with a mindfulness meditation audio
If you grow anxious more often, lose concentration or focus and become wrapped up in worry practice mindfulness by listening mindfulness and relaxation audios. They can be really useful to calm you down and improve your mood. You can sit at a quiet place during your break time and meditate while listening to the audio. Practicing often will improve your condition.
Here is a very good resource for anxiety and relaxation audios: ExcelAtLife Audio Downloads
When you can’t cope
After some time if you feel you can’t cope it is always best to get help from a professional health care provider. Even though self-help is highly effective in the long run nothing can substitute professional help.
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