It's important to reduce work anxiety because it is interfering with the job success and satisfaction of over half of all working Americans.1 Numbers are likely as high in many other countries, too. Performance anxiety, a sense of perfectionism, generalized anxiety, and social anxiety can all hinder our ability to do well at work. Problems at work because of anxiety lead to more anxiety. As anxiety grows bigger, its sheer size blocks us from moving forward and creating a positive work experience for ourselves. It seems like a never-ending cycle, and when work-related anxiety blocks our way forward, it can feel like we’re doomed to be stuck. Fortunately, this isn’t the case at all. You can reduce work anxiety when it gets in your way.
Anxiety while driving is commonplace for me. Due to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), my brain magnifies my anxiety while driving. Even driving to a nearby store turns into a worst-case scenario in my mind’s eye. Some of this anxiety seems reasonable. Other fears involve driving activities that don’t distress the average person. When I drive, there is a specific driving anxiety I can’t conquer. I have a fear of getting into a car accident while making left turns in traffic.
If you experience work anxiety, do you find yourself losing sleep over your job, tossing and turning and staring at the ceiling as you ruminate over what went wrong, what you did wrong, and what you will do wrong at work? Do you find it hard to get out of bed because you fear what the workday has in store for you? Maybe you have anxiety attacks even before leaving the house. When you experience any of this, your anxiety casts its evil spell and has you under its control even before you enter your workplace. Starting the day this way is a set-up for yet another daily struggle with anxiety. This battle with work anxiety gets in the way and holds you back from fully doing the job you need and want to do.
Anxiety in romantic relationships, for better or worse, complicates love. I’ve had a variety of significant others. Some partners were supportive of my mental conditions, while others were not sympathetic to any significant degree. I’ve had to deal with many problems, such as rejection and anxiety about the state of my relationships. Though anxiety complicates my romantic relationships, it doesn’t make romance impossible for me.
Is it anxiety or a medical condition? It can be hard to tell because anxiety can feel miserable throughout the entire body, and symptoms can be frightening enough to cause people to wonder if they have anxiety or a medical condition. Not knowing what your symptoms mean can increase existing anxiety or cause new anxieties and worries. Of course, that can worsen physical symptoms and that, in turn, increase worries. Worrying whether you have anxiety or a medical condition can become a vicious cycle of worry, physical discomfort or pain, and worsening mental-- and physical health. Knowing what medical conditions share symptoms with anxiety can help you sort out the healing approach that is best for you.
Anxious negative thoughts play a huge role in the worries, fears, and what-ifs of all types of anxiety. In turn, the worries, fears, and what-ifs fuel anxious negative thoughts. The relationship between our thoughts and our anxiety is complex, enmeshed, and downright unhealthy for us. That said, you are neither a victim nor a prisoner of your anxious negative thoughts. Despite how it might seem, you can change how you think and reduce anxiety in the process by making one shift.
Hobbies can calm anxiety, and I use them as self-help in my daily mental health struggles. A friend recently asked me what alleviates my anxiety. I quickly quipped that I’m always anxious, and then I realized that isn’t exactly true. My passions—music, reading, and writing—may never make me rich. But these hobbies allow me to calm my anxiety and are valuable mental health self-help tools.
This is your year to find ways to reduce anxiety. Most likely, you’ve been working on doing so already, which means you have a head start. You may have already experienced successes, and you can build on that momentum this year. You might also have experienced setbacks and difficulties getting rid of worries, fears, social anxiety, racing or obsessive thoughts, and the myriad effects and symptoms of anxiety. This is why it’s important to celebrate a new year. A new year is symbolic of a fresh start. You can learn new ways to reduce anxiety in 2018.
If you increase your uncertainty intolerance, your anxiety level will decrease. Facing uncertainty—not knowing what is going to happen in your life on both big and small scales—can cause or increase anxiety. Being really uncomfortable with uncertainty, officially called uncertainty intolerance (and sometimes referred to as fear of the unknown), is common in people living with anxiety. If you find yourself worried, anxious, and stressed when you can’t predict what’s going to happen, here’s a helpful certainty: you can do something about this type of anxiety and increase your uncertainty intolerance, and overall mental health, in the process.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) makes me doubt myself, turning me into my own worst critic. Self-deprecation is my specialty. “Don’t be so hard on yourself,” is a phrase I hear from someone else every other day. And yes, I am hard on myself, but I feel I am not as hard on myself as I should be. I had an entirely different article written and dismissed it as being (choice phrases that I won’t say on this blog). It is difficult to live in a partially self-constructed mental prison. Obsessive-compulsive disorder makes me doubt myself. It makes me my own worst critic of everything I do, say, or think.