Have you ever experienced that your thoughts run wild and that unpleasant bodily reactions occur in a completely normal social setting at work? Or perhaps you have experienced a shaky voice, increased sweating and slight dizziness during a presentation in a work context ? These can be symptoms of social anxiety at work.
Social anxiety is described as a fear of being judged negatively by others or being the focus of others’ attention. Therefore, many people experience social anxiety at work. At work you can feel that you are constantly being assessed, especially in a profession where all the focus is on achieving results. Here you will get an introduction to how this can play out and how you can cope with social anxiety.
Why does social anxiety occur at work?
You may have experienced periods of social anxiety throughout your life. This may have been with you since childhood . A new task at work, for example, can then trigger a new round of social anxiety disorders. Or perhaps you have just started a new job and haven’t quite settled in yet? There can be many reasons why social anxiety at work occurs .
New colleagues, a new boss, new premises or new requirements are all possible reasons why you experience social anxiety at work. This can have a very hard impact on everyday life, both at work and in private life. A discomfort that social anxiety brings with it does not let go at first. In the worst case, it can end with sick leave.
But before you go that far, it’s a good idea to find out how to deal with social anxiety. Many people overcome this disorder every single day, no matter how long they have been dealing with it. There are steps you can take to make your everyday life better. First, we’ll take a look at why you shouldn’t avoid uncomfortable situations.
Do not avoid situations that trigger social anxiety at work
Do you refuse to sit in the canteen and eat lunch with your colleagues ? Social anxiety manifests itself in completely different ways in all people who struggle with it. It is permissible to feel discomfort in a situation as described above. But what you have to remember is that it can never get better if you don’t try to do something about it.
Maybe you find that your heart beats faster just at the thought of talking to an authority figure? The only thought you go with is how to cope with social anxiety and your physical symptoms. The focus should really be on what you want to bring out during the conversation with the boss. So the same applies here. If you constantly avoid the situation that you find absolutely horrible, this will only help to make the problem worse.
This also applies to situations where you have to give a presentation or lead a course. Perhaps it is a matter of a new work task that triggers the social anxiety. You feel that you will never be able to cope with the task, so you dread going to work. No one should feel this way.
Some also experience bullying in the workplace. Bullying is unacceptable in any workplace. You can then go directly to the boss and tell about what is going on. If you feel that this will be too uncomfortable, all workplaces have a shop steward you can talk to, or an HR manager who can help you.
If you feel that your social anxiety disorders are only the result of your own thoughts and imaginations, fortunately there is much you can do to overcome social anxiety at work. Below you will find tips on how you can cope with your social
anxiety disorders and thus make your everyday life better.
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How to deal with social anxiety?
Social anxiety at work can become a big problem in everyday life. After all, this is where you spend most of your waking hours during the day. Therefore, it can quickly also affect privacy. Fortunately, there is a lot of good advice and tips on what you can do to cope with social anxiety in a work context.
The first thing you can do is to be open about your suffering . For many, this may seem like an impossible task, but it can be a good help on the way to a better everyday working life. Talking openly about your social anxiety disorders can make it easier for both your employer and colleagues to relate to you. At the same time, it may become easier for you to relate to others, because you are no longer trying to hide anything.
Through openness about the disorders, it also opens up the possibility of being able to organize the work. This could, for example, be facilitation in the form of the possibility to have a home office on days when the anxiety is at its worst, if you have a type of job that allows it. The arrangement can also be about being put at a different and slightly quieter post on a very bad day, at workplaces where there is an opportunity for that.
An inclusive working life is about arranging for everyone to have the opportunity to work, and for everyone to feel comfortable at work. An employer will be happy that you can, for example, do the work from home, as opposed to not coming to work at all.
It is important to find techniques that help you cope with situations you find uncomfortable. You can do this by exposing yourself to unpleasant situations as part of cognitive therapy.
Seek help before it has gone too far
If none of these tips work, you should contact a therapist or therapy group to treat your ailments . You would most like to avoid having to call in sick due to social anxiety at work, or even worse – that you quit a job you actually enjoy very much. If the problem persists, it could also end up with you burning out . You must remember that there is no shame in seeking help.
There are several treatments for social anxiety. The most effective treatment has been shown to be cognitive behavioral therapy. This involves having regular conversations with a therapist and then using behavioral therapy by exposing oneself to the discomfort. The point is that you must be able to stand in the discomfort you experience and feel that there is no danger connected to the bodily symptoms that arise.
Addressing your problems with social anxiety at work will benefit both you and your employer. You therefore have the opportunity to make your everyday life easier and considerably better. Contact a therapist today to start your new working life and find out how you can cope with social anxiety!