Common Work Anxieties and How To Understand Them

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Common Work Anxieties and How To Understand Them

Americans spend some 90,000 hours – or one-third of their lives – working. While that can be positive if you find your work fulfilling, work-related anxieties can easily wreak havoc on your mental health.

If you’re bothered by work anxiety, knowing you’re not alone and support is available is essential.

At her practice in Chicago at One Magnificent Mile, board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Amanda S. Kleinman provides psychotherapy and other treatments to address anxiety and bring you peace of mind. 

Let’s explore work anxiety, including common worrisome thoughts and ways to cope better and thrive.

What work anxiety feels like

Anxiety can play out in various ways when it becomes your norm at work. When it sets in, you may feel nervous, tense, or unable to relax. Your mind may feel so full of concerns that you can’t focus well on anything else. And because anxiety can impact your ability to sleep, you may feel exhausted – which can further interfere with your moods. 

Anxiety may also bring a sense that the world around you is slowing down or speeding up. In either case, it’s easy to feel disconnected from or unable to cope with reality. And all of these issues can fuel a loss of interest in your work.

What work anxieties tend to involve

Workplace anxiety can prompt a sense of dread and perpetual worries about bad things that could happen. You might worry that you’ll be fired, for example. If that happens, how will you make ends meet? 

Work anxiety may also involve people in your company, as you nervously anticipate negative interactions with coworkers or your boss. 

Such anxiety may also involve fears of criticism. You might worry that others are constantly looking at or judging you for your appearance, work quality, or behaviors around the office. Meanwhile, you may need help with perfectionism: will your work ever be good enough? 

What to do about work anxieties

If work anxieties go unmanaged, they can impact your quality of life, ability to do your job, and overall health. This is especially true if your symptoms are severe or progressively worsening. 

Signs it’s time to seek support for your anxiety include:

  • Avoidance of loved ones
  • Constant worry 
  •  Hyperventilation
  • Ongoing sleep difficulties
  • Ongoing overeating or undereating
  • Frequent crying
  • Feeling chronically irritable, tired, or tense
  • Lost interest in your work or activities you once found pleasurable
  • Racing heartbeat

While some work anxiety diminishes through self-care practices, like improved sleep habits and mindfulness exercises, many people benefit most from professional treatment. 

If Dr. Kleinman determines you’re dealing with an anxiety disorder, she may recommend psychodynamic and transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP). These modalities help by addressing factors fueling your anxiety and by helping you explore your identity, your concepts about life, and how you relate to others. She may recommend medication for anxiety that’s too difficult to manage through therapy or lifestyle changes alone.

To learn more about work anxiety or get the support you need, call our office or request an appointment with Dr. Kleinman through our website today.