Tackling Anxiety in the Workplace
Today, we want to touch on a subject that is often felt yet overlooked in professional settings: anxiety. When we feel anxious, it can be difficult to be our best selves and feel accomplished. We know things like proactivity, planning, and spending time on needle-moving activities is important for our businesses to flourish, but anxiety can most certainly hinder our ability to accomplish those things.
We don’t speak much about anxiety in the workplace because it somehow seems taboo or uncomfortable. However, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older. That’s almost 20% of the population. And, that could mean one out of five of your team members likely struggles with challenges that accompany anxiety.
Individuals who don’t have anxiety disorders likely feel anxious from time to time, and with the demands of professional life, it often comes with the territory. When we feel anxious, it can be difficult for us to focus and hit our goals. For most people, especially high performers, we want to achieve and surpass our goals, and when we can’t, we get down on ourselves quickly.
The good news is there are ways to recognize our accomplishments even when battling anxious thoughts. When you’re having a tough mental health day, don’t beat yourself up for being unable to do things that are more involved. Refocus the activities for the day, and understand even the highest of performers have off days.
Focus on the small, everyday tasks you must complete. Even if those tasks seem small – things like planning your schedule for the month or narrowing down your email inbox – celebrate those things. Congratulate yourself for doing your best that day and give yourself grace with the knowledge that things will get better.
If you’re weighed down by negative thoughts and anxiety, it can be easy to feel powerless. Remember to breathe. Sometimes we just need to take a timeout and change our scenery from the office to a quick break outside. Taking in a few deep breaths in the sunshine and focusing on things you are grateful for can make a world of difference in changing your perspective.
Finding a trusted person to talk to is helpful for most people. That might mean reaching out to a co-worker or scheduling some time with your leader. It might also mean reaching out to a professional counselor to help sort through the thoughts and find solutions that work for you. We have found that when we voice the thoughts going through our minds to a trusted person, we are able to work through them in a logical, productive way.
Remember, the mind is a very powerful thing. We have thousands of thoughts going through our brains every day. We must work hard to protect those thoughts and the messages we are telling ourselves. Are they anxiety producing or are they productive? How well are we taking those anxious thoughts captive and speaking truth to ourselves? This is where the programs in Future Legacy can help. Whether it’s through participating in private coaching, The Team Series, Performance Planning, or the Leader Series, we talk through ways to recognize, combat, and redirect those anxious thoughts.
Wishing you a week full of productivity,