Stressful or toxic work environments can cause mild to severe anxiety in lots of people. For those under chronic amounts of stress, this can even develop into a long-term anxiety or panic disorder. However, the best way to prevent future anxiety is to fight against it. If work has been making you a little more anxious than usual lately, here are 5 tips to dealing with work anxiety

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Make yourself happy outside of work

If work’s getting you down, try to brighten your spirits during your time off. When you get home, stay busy doing things you love instead of moping around. Try having dinner with your family or watching a movie with some friends. Maybe even spend some time working on a hobby. Whatever you end up doing, these good memories will help replace the stress and anxieties of work. Let the happiness you feel outside of work do enough to keep your optimism.

Take time to process things

Much of the anxiety we face at work comes from our shortcomings. Perhaps you’re upset that you disappointed your boss. Or feel inferior to your coworkers. The best thing to do at times like this is to take some time to process the situation. If you’ve found yourself in the middle of a mishap, don’t get defensive or let it affect you personally. Instead, put your ego aside and comprehend the problem before you address it. Take steps to better the situation at hand and take precaution into preventing any future re-occurrences.

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Get a workout in

It’s true what they say; exercise is the best antidepressant. Its effect on relieving anxiety symptoms and on overall mental health have has proven time and time again to have a powerful impact. Getting your heart rate up releases endorphins which are able to boost your mood and lower stress levels. It also lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. All those people you see smiling in workout videos aren’t always faking it. Whether you workout first thing in the morning, or in the evenings after work, these effects will still be there. So the next time you’re feeling anxious, try going for a short jog.

Try to make work fun

This can be tough to do, but worth a try. A repetitive 9-to-5 can get tiresome fast. To make time pass or at least a little more endurable, try to create some fun whilst at work. Share some inside jokes with a coworker. Or bring a batch of cupcakes for everyone to share. You could also liven up your desk space, by decorating it with pictures or any personal items that could bring a smile to your face. Don’t do anything that would get you fired, obviously. But allowing your work environment to be a little less serious can help improve your mood while having to endure chains of tedious tasks every day.

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Fake it till you make it

A difficult but very powerful strategy is often to fake being fine. Your mind can conform to any situation and will learn to adapt depending on the way you act. If you act like you’re a confident and proficient employee, you start to feel like it. If you act like you want to come in to work every morning, your mind will soon readjust the way it thinks. Pretending to feel optimistic and happy each day will ultimately help reduce any work anxiety you feel.

It’s important to note that these steps only work for mild to moderate cases of anxiety. If work anxiety is truly affecting your day-to-day life, it might be best to consult a professional. Mental health should be a priority for employees in any industry.

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