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How to keep workplace anxiety at bay

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There are approximately 40 million people living with anxiety in the U.S., and if you’re one of the sufferers, you know that it can interfere with your work. It’s important to seek treatment from a physician, but there are also some coping strategies you can use to recognize and prevent anxiety from affecting your work.

Identify what brings on your anxiety. Keep a journal and note what situations cause your uneasiness. Is it a daunting assignment? A messy desk? Meetings with the boss? When you know what sets you off, you can plan ahead and possibly avoid the situation.

Learn grounding techniques. When you feel the negative effects of an anxiety attack, grounding techniques help you stay in the moment and gain back control. Find what works for you, whether it’s meditation, calling a friend or taking a walk.

Take care of yourself and your environment. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy and get some exercise. As much as possible, create a work environment that soothes you. For example, sit by a window, wear headphones and cut back on your daily caffeine intake.

Discuss your needs with your boss and colleagues. Figure out what will help you cope, such as frequent breaks, longer deadlines or no after-hours emails. If you’re respectful of others’ needs and produce good work, your boss will likely accommodate you.

Set small goals. It’s important to challenge, but not overwhelm, yourself. Set achievable goals with plenty of time to reach them.

— Adapted from “5 Coping Strategies for When You’re Feeling Anxious at Work,” Melody Wilding, The Muse.

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