Dealing with Anxiety in the Workplace

Anxiety is one of the biggest mental health and well-being challenges faced by adults. In a survey covering Great Britain, 1 in 6 adults had experienced some form of ‘neurotic health problem’ in the previous week. The most common neurotic disorders were anxiety and depressive disorders.

Since the majority of us spend the vast majority of our awakened adult life at work. It makes sense that anxiety will if not caused by the work itself begin at some point to affect it.

Anxiety happens when there is a sense of overwhelm or the idea that there are many things that need doing, and all of them need doing now (and often that they are all monumental tasks to do).

However, if anxiety is rehearsed enough – and by this, I mean that you simply are anxious on a regular basis, not that you are consciously deciding to deliberately be anxious that day – then it can easily become habitual. This means that the smallest of triggers can activate it and cause the anxiety to start feeling as if it has arisen without prompt or thought.

There are in fact only two types of anxiety. No matter how complex your anxiety maybe it is useful to remember that:

Anxious apprehension
Anxious arousal

Anxious apprehension, is verbal worrying. Talking to yourself, inside your mind in an anxious way. What is interesting about anxious apprehension is that when people’s brains have been scanned during an EEG, primarily, it’s the left brain that’s lighting up if someone is running anxious apprehension. When they’re having those anxious thoughts, it’s their left brain that gets illuminated and that’s because the front lobe of your left brain is associated with speech. That’s why self-talk comes into it.

The other kind of anxiety that we have is anxious arousal. This one relates more to anxious feelings like fear and panic. This kind of anxiety typically lights up the right brain. If we conduct an EEG brain scan on someone behaving fearfully or showing panic, it activates the temporal lobe which we associate with danger – and it sends the message that we need to avoid that danger.

If you have anxiety in the workplace, you can begin to unpick your anxiety by assessing how your anxiety works. There is a sequence of steps that you follow, which you probably do very quickly and have not been aware of until you begin to slow down the process and study them. To do this it may be easier and more effective to work with a Hertfordshire-based NLP Practitioner or Hypnotherapist who will be trained to help you have more awareness of your thoughts and actions.

For example, you may start the process of anxiety by making images in your mind of all of those tasks at work that cause you to feel overwhelmed. Or a picture of your boss’s face looking disappointed. It might be that you self-talk in a particularly panicked or aggressive way. You may be particularly good at tuning into your internal sensations and notice small flutters that are then distorted to be out-of-control stomach-churning worries.

The anxiety you experience could be caused by work itself, in which case a therapist can work with you to help you have better control of your emotions. This isn’t just to enable you to be more productive – it is important to increase your overall enjoyment of your time at work so that you do not keep putting your body through unnecessary stress.

As an NLP Practitioner in Hertfordshire, I often work with my clients in practical ways too. For example, it might be that there are changes to your routine or working habits that can alleviate the anxiety at work too.


By Gemma Bailey