Anxiety in the workplace is an all-too-common occurrence. While this struggle sometimes stems from social anxiety in the workplace or depression from work stress, another specific culprit often comes into play. That is performance anxiety at work.
This anxiety type can be uniquely insidious because it causes your work productivity to drop due to being so worried about how others perceive you. Some measure of new job stress and anxiety often in the form of performance anxiety are common. Although it’s nearly impossible to eliminate this type of job stress, you can learn to manage it.
But when performance anxiety is too severe when starting a job or it lingers for too long, that becomes a significant problem. You start worrying so much about how your employer or co-workers perceive your job competence that you struggle to put the necessary mental energy into your tasks.
Sadly, if it isn’t dealt with, the thing you most fear happens because of all the energy you’ve focused on your worries instead of your daily tasks. Often, your worst fears become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your poor work results wind up falling below expectations leading to even more stress. Now, you risk disappointing your employer even to the point that you are let go.
What exactly goes wrong and what can you do to handle performance anxiety at your job better? Here are some things to consider when it comes to office stress relief.
Your Inadequate Feelings Often Aren’t Reality
Performance anxiety shows up in many life areas when we fear we won’t measure up to others’ standards. We worry someone will judge how we perform a task. It is a universal feeling, so that ought to tell you something.
If everyone experiences it, how can we all be that lousy at measuring up? The truth is we can’t. These worries often deceive us, sabotaging our success in the process.
Yes, there’s always the chance you’re in way over your head given your skills and what’s expected of you. But most of the time, these fears crop up not because you’re unable but because you’re human.
Your Feelings of Inadequacy Can Lead to Success
When healthily managed, workplace anxiety in the form of performance concerns can lead you to work harder at overcoming obstacles at work. It can be a good type of stress if kept at healthy levels and lead to performance improvement. Where it spells trouble is when the performance anxiety breaks down your abilities due to being too strong.
So, when you feel performance anxiety creeping in, remind yourself of the benefits of this type of stress or anxiety. Look at it as your body and mind’s way of pushing you out of your comfort zone and into greater ability.
Additional Ways to Work Through Performance Anxiety
Be Realistic: Are your expectations for yourself fair or are they even higher than what anyone expects of you at work. Sometimes it has nothing to do with your workplace. It has more to do with putting unnecessary pressure on your shoulders.
Normalize It: In her “Psychology Today” article entitled How to Overcome Performance Anxiety, Tamar Chansky Ph.D. shares the following on performance anxiety of any type:
“Mistakes, hiccups, guffaws, even awkward silences are the order of the day. At any given moment they are happening to millions across the globe. It’s not personal, not a deep, permanent flaw: It’s just part of being alive.”
Keep in mind that everyone struggles with work-related anxiety and performance worries. Remembering this alone can help you manage your anxiety. You can internally remind yourself that your stress response is completely understandable and normal, despite how uncomfortable you may currently feel at work.
Admit It: It’s possible you won’t feel comfortable sharing your performance anxiety with those you work with. That’s understandable, especially if you haven’t yet had the time to build trust. Still, it’s important to share how you’re feeling with someone. Find someone you trust to vent your feelings with so that they don’t build up to unhealthy levels.
Focus on Improvement: Each time you feel work stress anxiety due to performance apprehensions, remember that it’s just a friendly reminder to focus on doing a great job. That should be the goal. Focus on what the anxiety should propel you to do that is positive rather than focusing on the negatives of the anxiety.
Pursue Purpose: If you focus on what others think, you’ll fail to accomplish your purpose at work. Instead, brush aside the worries of what people think and do what you’re meant to do. That way, you’ll do the best you can at work while feeling far less stressed.
Are You Experiencing Anxiety in the Workplace? Consider Counseling
Are you going through anxiety affecting work performance? Work stress and anxiety can sometimes feel overwhelming. And depression from work stress can eventually result if you don’t address these challenges. This is especially true if you are new to your job or you work in a high-pressure environment.
If you’re struggling right now, the OC Relationship Center can help. We provide anxiety counseling to de-stress and be your best at work, home and any other life endeavor. At the right time, feel free to schedule an appointment with us. We look forward to meeting you!