Labelled as the illness of this century, anxiety and stress are the main struggles millions of workers worldwide due not just to their working conditions but also with the high expectations we put behind our backs just to provide what we consider would be best for our families. How are Anxiety conditions triggered? Is there a genetics factor involved or just sheer luck? Let’s see what fact tells us.
What Causes Anxiety?
As a multi-factor condition, anxiety is a combination of elements that under certain circumstances might trigger a body defence response to the amount of stress we are dealing with in constant basis.
We can sort out the leading known causes of anxiety by category as shown below:
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1) Anxiety resulting from Environmental Factors:
- Post-stress traumatic disorders (linked to death of a loved one or abuse)
- Personal relationship stress (family, divorce situations, marriage struggles and even strangled friendships can trigger anxiety conditions)
- Work-related stress
- Academic/School-related stress
- Financial stress
- Stress as consequence of natural disasters
2) Anxiety caused by Medical Factors:
- Stress induced by serious illnesses (seen in patients with cancer, heart conditions or other life-threatening diseases)
- Side effects of certain medications
- Linked to another medical condition
- Lack of oxygen (seen in conditions as emphysema or pulmonary embolism)
3) Anxiety caused by Substance Abuse:
- Drug Intoxication (cocaine, amphetamines)
- Withdrawal syndrome from illicit and prescription drugs (benzodiazepines and barbiturates, commonly seen in patients who abuse of strong painkillers like Oxycodone)
4) Other causes of Anxiety:
- Genetics factor (people who have family history of anxiety illnesses have higher chances of developing the condition itself)
- Abnormal amount of neurotransmitters
How to Diagnose Anxiety conditions?
Going from psychological factors to physical conditions, anxiety can be both an obvious condition but also mask itself as other life-threatening conditions (like heart failure), which only triggers the loop anxiety tends to cause on its affected patients.
Common symptoms associated with anxiety disorders are:
- Strong Headaches
- Upset Stomach/Diarrhoea
- Heart Palpitations/Increased Heart Rate
- Numbness in arms, hands or legs (“pins and needles” sensation)
- Increased sweating
- Frequent Urination
- Sleep Disorders
- Memory Lapses
- Trouble Concentrating
Anxiety can be a temporary or chronic condition. To prove these symptoms to be related to true anxiety conditions, two or more of these factors must take place for over 24 hrs up to a week to be considered acute anxiety condition, being patients whose symptoms last for over three weeks prone to be considered chronic disorders.
How Can Anxiety Affect Your Work Life?
Depending on the seriousness of your anxiety condition and the specific anxiety-related illness you have is how your work life is going to be resented due experiencing anxiety on a daily basis.
For people struggling with GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder), working can be defined as an overwhelming experience often seek perfection in every task they do, leading to immense amounts of frustration when that premise isn’t met. Though that syndrome is shared with patients with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), patients dealing with OCD are far more equipped for dealing with this amount of stress and frustration as they likely are aware of what they suffer due to their compulsive rituals and other symptoms that evidence the illness itself, which isn’t the case of most GAD patients.
For people dealing with Social Anxiety, they can prove to be perfect workers unless you require them to participate in teamwork actively or doing slideshow presentations in front of large crews. Factors like that are anxiety triggers for people coping with Social Anxiety, leading the condition to borderline terror in some cases. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) patients aren’t capable of adapting to new working environments unless a carefully-followed treatment does take place to reduce the impact the traumatic experience had in the person’s life.
What Can We Do to Reduce Work-Related Anxiety?
After acknowledging the many aspects in which anxiety can not only show up but also alter our working efficiency, we can rest assuredly as there are a good number of tactics to follow, most of them that can be turned into habits, for reducing the impact of work-related anxiety in our lifestyle, if not fixing the condition for good.
1. Keep a Well-Organised Schedule
Patients who deal with anxiety conditions commonly agree that the lack of time to accomplish all the tasks they need to compel over a day often leads to increased sums of anxiety. If we add to that some financial-related stress, then we have the full combo.
Start by defining routines for your work-related tasks to complete, contemplating distance to work (hence the time it takes for you to go and return home), meals, reunions, etc. Then, define that after a certain hour all things related to work should be put to rest as well as your mind.
2. Commit to a Workout Routine
Exercising does not only prove to be needed for keeping a healthy lifestyle but also is one of the most effective methods for battling anxiety conditions. By exercising regularly, we are releasing endorphins, known as the “happiness hormone” that can be found in treats like chocolates or other soothing experiences in life. After workout becomes a habit, your body will ask for it, hence improving your general lifestyle.
3. Practice Self-Care
One of the main reasons why people fall under anxiety syndromes is because they neglect for too long what makes them happy just to keep working non-stop to improve their financial situation. Wrong! By doing that, you are not only going to tire yourself out of your current work but also lead to immense amounts of stress and anxiety.
Take enough time to enjoy your hobbies, to talk with friends and go outside for a walk. Consider taking the weekends off and do whatever seems not to be linked with your work, just to remind yourself there is life out there, and you are not a working machine who needs to tire itself to reach success.
4. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Finally, when dealing with anxiety conditions, one of the most valuable advice to follow is to considerably reduce anxiety-inducing elements as coffee, energy drinks (strictly forbidden when experiencing GAD), cigarettes, and even Coke, tea and other drinks as mate due to their caffeine percentage and the effects associated with it: nervousness, increased alertness, struggles to sleep, etc.
A healthy sleeping routine is much needed to keep your mental health intact. The 8-hour shift to sleep isn’t just a beautiful tale but a medical advice based on what our body requires to rest. Remember you are the only one that can take the matter in hands and do the changes needed to improve your lifestyle. Good luck!