The pandemic caused many to re-evaluate where they live, their life goals and their careers. For those who did choose to remain in existing jobs, it’s become a matter of how to do so as happily and healthy as possible. Whether you work from home or go to an office daily; you are typically working for someone else. Your services, talents, skills and knowledge are being exchanged for money and that means meeting expectations. It also entails dealing with daily triggers that frustrate us. According to Haley Perlus, Psychology Performance PhD, these triggers build up stress which may negatively impact our personal relationships physical health.
Dr. Perlus offers 7 work-related anxiety triggers with tips on what we can do to deal with them.
1. Fear Based Bosses
Bosses who focus on possibilities and solutions inspire creativity and collaboration. Fear-based bosses aren’t leaders they are energy drainers. They have quick tempers, focus on problems, complain and threaten. According to Dr. Perlus people make the mistake of remaining in a job for the wrong reasons. “Being spoken to harshly every day is no way to live. It’s abusive and causes anxiety. My advice, file a complaint with human resources and resign. Your well-being matters first and most.”
2. Co-Worker Cliques
Some work cultures include gossip, passive-aggressiveness, undercutting, sabotage, and verbal jabs that would rival any high school clique. “If your work is solid, align with others who are focused and keep your eye on the prize. You have a job to do and your focus will be thrown off by unnecessary cattiness. When you hear a group of co-workers gossiping, politely excuse yourself,” advises Dr. Perlus.
3. Technology Glitches
We’ve all had instances where we want to throw our computers out the window, stomp on our cell phones and kick a vending machine after it gobbles up our last 2 singles. “Technology is what led to a higher standard for speed and efficiency. When we can’t get what we want in .005 seconds we get agitated. It’s conditioning,” she explains. “Centering is a great technique that helps delay reaction time to stressors. Before pounding on the copy machine, step back count to 5, breathe and pivot to fixing whatever may be wrong or finding someone who can assist.”
You can be the most articulate, outgoing person and still have anxiety when it comes to presenting to a group. It is common for people to experience insomnia, nausea and tension headaches leading up to an important presentation. Preparation is key. “Allow ample time to gather key points and mentally rehearse your presentation while doing another unrelated activity such as cooking, cleaning, walking or running, to release stress and remain present suggests Dr. Perlus.”
5. Your Commute
“Once you exceed 30 minutes one-way, your happiness level drops and your stress level rises,” says Dr. Perlus. A coping mechanism she suggests is to use the commute as a time to learn. If driving, tune off the negative news talk radio and opt for interesting podcasts or audio books. If stuck on a bus or train, reading a book, watching a show on the iPad, or getting a head start on email are also ways to make the time fly.
6. Business Travel
Rushing for airplanes and dealing with weather delays and over-booked flights not to mention navigating an unfamiliar place will stress anyone out. “Preparation and a solid backup plan is a great way to ease pre-business travel stress. While face-to-face meetings may be optimal, skipping a flight and opting for zoom may be a less stressful option.”
7. Quotas and Commissions
While most workers love the self-determined earning potential of a commission-paid job, they still find it stressful when they look at the numbers and fear coming up short. “Anxiety is caused by excessive worry about future events you believe you cannot control, explains Dr. Perlus.”
Setting easier targets can be helpful. When you set a goal that is just below what you think you are capable of, you still need to exert high energy and you also have a high perception of control. You want to feel accomplished and not anxious. Just be careful as setting goals that are way too easy creates boredom and that is just as bad as setting unattainable and anxiety-producing goals. Also, “acknowledge daily wins and break down the effort into smaller chunks of time so you focus on what’s in front of you,” she advises.