Dealing with anxiety at your desk

9 August 2017

Dealing with anxiety at your desk

With millennials being dubbed the generation of anxiety, workplaces have seen a shift in the focus we place upon mental health care. Once seen as something kept firmly behind closed doors, businesses are now recognising that part of the responsibility is their own. Not an unusual conclusion to come to when research shows people in full-time employment are much more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety.

Although anxiety differs from person to person, we can often place symptoms into two groups; anxiety that keeps a person ‘frozen’ and anxiety that forces one to be ‘productive’, so whilst one forces your head into the sand, the other ensures you’re suffocated by lists and planning.

Amy Bach, clinical psychologist and professor at Brown University, dubs the latter “worried-well” and advises that it can often hide itself within high-achievers, meaning to get that 5star employee, a good mental health plan should be in place. However earlier this year, when we surveyed employees on their mental health structures, over 75% had no idea whether they would or would not be supported, did an issue arise.

With difficulty concentrating being one of the main symptoms of anxiety, productivity levels can drop drastically for a sufferer. In fact long-term sufferer, Lina N., told The Mighty, “I procrastinate, typically due to over ‘how little time I have’. Never mind that procrastination steals the time I have.”

These comments aren’t atypical for those affected, especially in a society that says we could and should have it all. However recent research by the University of Waterloo says that there is a way we can counteract it, if only for the short-term. Employing mindfulness training they found the meditation to have protective effects on mind-wandering for anxious individuals.

Although we know that umming and ahhing in the office might not always be a realistic avenue, there are more discreet ways of handling oncoming pressures. NHS approved app, ‘Stress and Anxiety Companion’ employs Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques, including the means to reframe your thoughts, along with fun mind games to interrupt anxious thinking. Giving you access to free therapy right there in your phone.

Simply taking a break and going for a walk can also make the world of difference, which when the average lunch break is only 28 minutes, is sadly a rare occurrence. The combination of fresh air, exercise and some time to think, has been proven to reduce anxiety levels.

Traditionally accompanied by symptoms such as nervousness, feelings of panic, tenseness, difficulty concentrating, panic attacks and tiredness, the NHS suggest you seek actual medical help if you feel anxiety is becoming a problem in your life. 


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