12 Actionable Tips to Beat Workplace Anxiety for Good

I think we can all agree that sometimes, going to work can be intimidating and even a little scary. Unfortunately, many of us experience many common fears about going to work.

Although I used to work at a maximum-security jail, the scariest job I ever had was thanks to a horrible manager. The stress and doubt she put me through were debilitating. No matter what I said or how hard I worked, it was never good enough. I was never good enough.

Bad bosses and the fear of failure are not the only barriers to a successful career. There’s the anxiety associated with important meetings and public speaking. Tight deadlines and a mountain of work add pressure. Maybe you struggle with disorganization and inadequacy and are worried you make too many mistakes.

Then, there’s concern about being judged for asking questions or feeling like you are just bothering everyone. Feelings of isolation at work make starting conversations challenging and fitting in feel impossible, particularly if you are a new employee.

We’ve all been there at one point in our lives. Fortunately, with a few simple tricks, you can overcome whatever is causing your work anxiety.

1. Accept Your Fear

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When faced with the fear of going to work, the first step is to accept and acknowledge how you feel. Remind yourself that experiencing unease and apprehension is a natural response. It doesn’t define your capabilities or worth as an individual.

Something is causing you to feel this way, and it might not be something you can control, like a toxic worker or ongoing organizational changes.

2. Pinpoint the Cause of Your Fear

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Write down what’s bothering you and analyze it objectively. What’s the honest, root nature of the problem? And what’s the solution? Figure out what you can do to transform these fears of going to work into something much easier to solve.

For example, you could set boundaries with that toxic colleague or address the issue directly with HR or management. Or if disorganization is the culprit, you can learn time management skills and use tools to help keep you on track.

3. Don’t Expect the Worst

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Fear can result from creating negative visions of the future that are not real. When you worry too much, your brain focuses on the negative and obscures the positive things in your life.

You may be picturing the absolute worst-case scenario in your head when, in reality, everything turns out fine. That small mistake is not worth the hours of stress you’re manifesting.

4. Remember Why the Company Hired You

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When you feel afraid to go to work because you doubt your skills and abilities, think about why the company chose you instead of the hundreds or thousands of other candidates. They hired you because they see your potential and trust you can do the job. You should, too.

5. Improve Your Self-Worth

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While reflecting on your worth in the organization, find ways to make yourself an even more valuable employee. For example, taking the initiative to learn new skills or proposing solutions before they become major issues.

The fear of going to work may be replaced with enjoyment when you can contribute to the company’s projects and feel recognized and appreciated.

6. Remember Your Past

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This is not the first – or last – time you’ll face challenges in your career. Think about past stressful situations and how you handled them. What did you do that worked?

Did you look to your boss for guidance? Improve your self-discipline? Complain about it over drinks with friends? Get an entirely new job? Remembering how you handled tough situations can make you better prepared to face future challenges.

7. Find Ways to Reduce Stress

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It’s understandable why someone would be anxious over a stressful job. You never know if there will be a big crisis today or if you can make it to 5 pm without fueling the fire. Some work stress is unavoidable, though. You need to find ways to reduce it so it doesn’t take over your life.

In the moment, you can step away from heated conversations and take a few deep breaths to regroup. Day to day, consider incorporating stress-relief activities into your routine, such as exercise, meditation, or hobbies you enjoy. For longer-term stress management, consider seeking support from a mentor or therapist to develop coping strategies and address underlying issues contributing to your stress.

You should also look for professional development opportunities or changes you can make to your work environment that align better with your values and career goals.

8. Talk to Someone

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At work, make sure you’re communicating with your coworkers and supervisors about what’s going on. This can be tricky, but your boss can’t fix anything if they don’t know there’s a problem.

Outside of work, choose someone you trust to talk to. You could get some helpful advice from them or simply have someone listen to you without judgment. You could also talk to a mental health professional who can suggest coping techniques and other support if needed.

9. Connect with Colleagues

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You could have the best job in the world but dread going to work because of the people. Not having work friends and feeling left out is troubling. So take the initiative to connect with the coworkers you like. Join them for lunch, help them with a task, or sign up to be on the same committee. You don’t have to have best friends at work, but the office is a lot less unnerving when you have people you can turn to.

10. Avoid the Drama

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Sometimes, the fear of going to work comes from the “drama” around the office. When you know your toxic co-workers are gathering to gossip and speak ill of someone, stay away! Participating opens you up to being the one they gossip about the next time. You’re at work to work, not whisper behind people’s backs.

11. Do Your Job Well

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Work hard, do your job well, and be kind to your colleagues and customers. The more you do what is right, the less you fear or worry about going to work.

12. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

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Your attitude determines how far you go. As long as you are dedicated, a good employer will work with you to get you the necessary skills and training. And if you’re stuck with a not-so-great employer, you can learn these skills on your own while you look for a new job where they will appreciate your hard work.

You don’t have to stay somewhere that causes you this much stress or anxiety. There are better jobs out there.

Bonus: Get an Easy Job

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No matter your job, stress and anxiety will pop up. But with an easy job – one that’s low-stress, fun, and straightforward to do – these pressures are a lot less common and certainly won’t be a daily challenge. Don’t stay in a job that causes you distress and misery. There are plenty of easy jobs that also pay well that you could be doing instead.

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