Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. Although it’s uncomfortable and can lead to feelings of fear, worry, and apprehension, anxiety is categorized as a normal, healthy emotion that most of us experience from time to time. However, chronic stress can lead to repeated anxiety.
This could also affect your mental health if normal feelings of anxiety lead to anxiety disorder.
Understanding Normal Anxiety and Anxiety Disorder
Did you know that anxiety is actually part of the human body’s “flight or fight” plan as a means of survival? When there’s danger, the human body releases adrenaline, which triggers anxious reactions. This can manifest in sweating, raised heartbeat, increased sensitivity to one’s surroundings, and the urge to run away.
This feeling of anxiety saved early humans from animal attacks and other forms of danger they encountered regularly. Today, humans are less likely to be in imminent danger from wild animal attacks and other problems that hounded our ancestors, but we face other pressures.
Humans of today regularly experience anxiety in many aspects of our lives, particularly at work and within our relationships. Anxiety may be the result of having a too-heavy workload in your job, low pay, conflict with coworkers and superiors, and other unpleasant issues. Money and health problems are also fairly common.
The causes of anxiety disorders are not fully understood, but medical reasons and traumatic events are some of the most common triggers. There are several types of anxiety disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
This is a disorder where a person feels anxious most of the time and worries about different things. A diagnosis is made if a person has experienced this repeatedly for more than six months.
A person with Panic Disorder frequently experiences panic attacks. This is described as a feeling of intense anxiety that can lead to chest pains, dizziness, shortness of breath, and excessive perspiration for no apparent reason. Sometimes, a person having a panic attack might think that they’re having a heart attack because the symptoms are similar.
In this type of disorder, the person doesn’t have physical issues regarding speech but stops talking or appears to be mute.
Social Anxiety or Social Phobia
Those suffering from this disorder feel high levels of fear and anxiety in a social setting. This leads them to seek isolation in fear that they might be negatively judged or even ridiculed by others.
There are many different kinds of phobias that can lead to great fear. These include a phobia of spiders, heights, flying, blood, crowds or confined spaces, thunder and lightning, water, needles, and more.
These two conditions also present when anxiety is involved:
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety in the Workplace
As many as 40% of Americans report feeling stressed out at work. Having a stressful job can be serious because anxiety in the workplace can lead to several health problems, unhappiness, and relationship issues.
In our fast-paced world, many people experience stress due to long working hours, low wages, fear of unemployment, money problems, and conflict with superiors or coworkers. Many employers also expect their workers to “wear many hats” at work, giving them excessive workloads but not providing them with good pay or promotion and career growth opportunities.
It’s alarming to learn that work stress can lead to health problems such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental health issues.
Coping with Anxiety and Improving Mental Health
Everyone wants to have a job and earn money. But what if your job is bringing you too much anxiety and is already affecting your mental health? Chronic stress at work can have a detrimental effect on your health, both physical and mental, but there are several mechanisms that can help you to cope with anxiety and feel so much better.
Get a good night’s sleep
You’ll be surprised at how much a good night’s sleep can restore the body and mitigate stress. Sleeping soundly for at least eight hours will give your body enough time to recharge itself.
Start your day with coffee
While too much caffeine isn’t good for the body because it can also trigger panic attacks, it’s a good idea to start your day with a cup of coffee to get your mind perked up. Coffee consumption is also linked to lower rates of depression, so this could work for you. Just don’t drink too much of it.
Stay positive; count your blessings
With all the pessimism that you might experience at work, the negative feedback you’re getting, and the tough tasks you have to complete, a positive mindset might be the best way to cope with these pressures.
You can manage stress by counting your blessings instead of thinking about the difficult things you’re experiencing at work. For example, you might be having a really hard time at work, but you still have a job! There are so many others out there who are still looking for one and face financial hardship because they can’t land a job. They’d be happy to have your job!
Take time to laugh
When was the last time you had a good laugh with your colleagues? While you should still focus on your work, of course, spend your breaks chatting with your coworkers and take time to laugh with them. This can help ease tensions at your workplace.
Find ways to have fun
Many people turn to alcohol, smoking, drugs, or even eating unhealthy comfort foods when faced with stress. But you can choose healthy responses instead. Eat well, exercise, and give yourself a break. Find ways to have fun. You can find many ways to have a good time with games available on ESPA.
Conflict with coworkers is one of the leading causes of stress in the workplace. Considering that you’ll constantly be with these people, learn to forgive and be friends with them instead. Don’t let personal grudges affect your emotional health.
Listen to music
It’s amazing what music can do to make you feel better. Choose your favorite relaxing music and meditate.
Start a hobby
A hobby can take your mind away from the stresses of your job. There are plenty that you can start without needing to shell out a lot of cash. In fact, there are even some that can actually help you earn some extra money.
Perhaps you could start by modding games you already have at home or even earn some extra cash by creating digital fashion.
Take a break; spend time with nature
Take a break from your stressful job. Remember that overworking isn’t good for your mental and physical health. Take the weekend off to go on a nature trip or find opportunities to relax near your home.
Find support; seek help
You don’t have to do this alone. Seek support from friends who can help you forget the anxiety you feel at work. If you feel like your anxiety is too much to bear, you can also ask for help from health professionals before it’s too late.
Indeed, there are many ways to manage anxiety in the workplace and improve your mental health. It’s always a good idea to try and eliminate or minimize work-related stressors. But if that’s not possible, be sure to stay positive, take a break, and find ways to have a good time so that you can take your mind off those stressors.
That’s the smart way to start feeling better!