The 5 types of anxiety at work
A summary of the types of anxiety associated with work, and their triggers.
Anxiety at work is part of the daily life of millions of workers. This is not surprising, given that the simple fact of aspiring to efficiency and productivity goals predisposes us to want to avoid "resting on our laurels", so that, in general, the professional context keeps us mentally active for many hours a week, for better or worse.
It is true that sometimes these anxiety levels are not high enough to be a problem. For some people, it can even be a source of motivation. However, in other situations, it does become a drain on physical and mental health, especially if it remains at high levels for several days in a row or even for weeks at a time.
In this article we will see what are the main types of anxiety at work, so that it is easy to recognize their characteristics and detect them in our daily life. in our day to day.
What is anxiety?
Although anxiety is usually linked to experiencing discomfort (at least for the time it lasts), it is neither a psychopathology nor a problem that should be eliminated from our lives.
Our ability to feel stress or anxiety in certain situations is a survival mechanism, and in the vast majority of cases, it is not a psychopathology or a problem to be eliminated from our lives.and, in the vast majority of cases, it benefits us. In fact, it is so useful that practically all vertebrate animals have this characteristic, which allows them to react quickly when not doing so could be very harmful to them (for example, before danger signals) or even end their lives.
Thus, anxiety itself should not be confused with a different concept, that of anxiety disorders. The latter, which include, for example, social phobia and panic disorder, do constitute a harmful mental and physiological disorder that should be treated by psychotherapy professionals.
They are developed by some people who are trapped in a loop of dysfunctional management of habits and emotions.Although anxiety is not a bad thing in itself, like any other element of the functioning of the human body, it can lead to health problems if certain circumstances occur and it interacts with other elements: traumatic experiences, search for acceptance by a very elitist group of people, the death of a loved one...
The fact is that adaptations resulting from natural selection do not only bring advantages, as Charles Darwin demonstrated; this depends on the context in which one lives and the situations one has to deal with. And the mechanisms of anxiety are no exception to this rule.
The main types of anxiety at work
This is a brief summary of the types of anxiety at work that occur most frequently in Western societies.
1. Anxiety due to accumulation of tasks
The quantitative difference between what one can do and what one must do at work (due to the number of tasks assigned to him/her) gives rise to this type of work anxiety. It is a problem that has to do in part with the management of emotions, but that often has its main causes in a bad management of Human Resources or, simply, in labor precariousness.
2. Anxiety due to excessive difficulty of the tasks
There can also be a qualitative difference between what one knows how to do and what one should do.. That is to say, it may happen that the assigned work is a challenge for the worker, so that there is a feeling not only that there is a lack of time to reach the objectives, but also that there is a lack of skills.
In such situations the discomfort is especially intense because there is indecision or uncertainty about how and what to start learning first in order to reach the productivity objectives.
3. Anxiety due to lack of incentive to work
Many people are surprised to learn that anxiety can arise from apathy and even boredom, but it does.Although technically we enter a state of anxiety when our nervous system is highly activated and in "alert mode" and boredom seems to go in the opposite direction, they are compatible.
Experiences such as suffering an existential crisis or feeling bad about not knowing what to do with the "extra" time we have to spend at the office can predispose us to anxiety about not knowing what to do, and feeling that we are wasting hours of the week or even our talents and potential.
Therefore, the fact that our skills and capacity for control are outweighed by the quantity and difficulty of the tasks we are assigned causes many people to suffer from anxiety at work; not because they feel they are not reaching their productivity goals, but because of the the lack of significant motives for which they are dedicating themselves to that and not to other more stimulating tasks..
4. Anxiety for the social interactions
Finally, we cannot detach the labor performance from the fact that, for the majority of workers and workers, this implies to relate with other people. The fact of facing this kind of social interactions makes many people feel ill at ease, and if this discomfort reaches the workplace, it can lead to a feeling of anxiety.If this discomfort becomes very intense, in some cases it can even turn into a social phobia.
5. Anxiety due to job uncertainty
Finally, uncertainty is another important source of anxiety. Job instability or the anticipation of a global economic crisis or one that affects the sector in which one works, as well as a professional ecosystem characterized by driving rivalry and competition, can fuel these kinds of problems.can fuel these kinds of psychological problems.
This is because it fosters the idea that if you do not react in time, you will be at the mercy of a rapid change for the worse in your quality of life. Thus, one is not able to create consistent plans for the future.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)