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Here is how to deal with anxiety at work.

A panic attack at work, or even just a terrible wave of anxiety, is something you can learn to cope with so that it doesn’t completely overtake your day.

First of all, know that it’s OK to feel anxious, and first and foremost, try to be gentle and non-judgmental with yourself for experiencing it. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, 40% of individuals experience ongoing stress or anxiety in their daily lives.

Here are 4 simple strategies you can use to help you manage anxiety at work.


1. Breath to get in touch with reality

Start with deep slow breathing, calm down a little. This requires a little practice, as you need to breathe through your stomach (abdominal breathing), not by the chest. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. You can also try some aromatherapy – buy yourself some essential oils (lavender, ylang-ylang or sandalwood) and carry them always with you. When your anxiety is rising up, tap 1 or 2 drops on your blouse or wrist.


2. Write down your feelings and accept them

After calming down a little, accept your feelings by writing them down. The worst thing you can do it to fight it. You can’t control your feelings, to get better all you need to do it accept it and go through them. Write what is on your mind, what do you feel and what the reason of this state could be.

3. Take a look at your own list of values to change perspective

Having something to look at to remind yourself of what keeps you feeling stable and good can be a really useful tool at the moment. Try creating a list of values, positive mantras, or coping statements that resonate with you. Keep this list always with you, to take a bigger picture.


4. Take 10 minutes time out and take care of your basic needs

To stop the vicious circle of bad thoughts – give yourself a 10 minutes break. Evaluate what your body needs. When did you drink water last? When did you eat last? Do you have a headache?

Get away from the computer, go for a short walk, do some stretching exercises, eat a snack, drink water. Make sure you took care of your body and your mood will follow it. You can also check this “10 ways to feel better at work” article for more details.


Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions — just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes, – if you feel like you can’t control it at all, communicate that you don’t feel well to your boss. 

When you’re at work, a place where you’re expected to perform at your best, it can be difficult to admit to vulnerabilities. But try to remember your anxiety is real, just as real as the most painful headache or a really bad stomach ache — and you deserve to take care of yourself, just as you would if you had those physical conditions. If these states happen to you often you should also consider some kind of therapy.