The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
When it comes to productivity issues for you or your team, there are a number of factors that can contribute to a mounting panic attack. Panic attacks can start for a number of reasons, but they’re most often because of rising anxiety that leads to increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and even dizziness. Deadlines, social anxiety, and high expectations are common triggers when you’re at work and the pressure to overcome these feelings while in a public place can also increase your stress. That’s why it’s important to find healthy ways to reduce the pressure and work on calming your nerves and thoughts.
Panic attacks could also be evidence that you’re experiencing symptoms of other mental health conditions. In order to perform well at your job, it’s important to identify any underlying conditions that you may need treatment for or assistance with. To learn more about panic attacks and how you can cope with these feelings, take a look at these resources from the online mental health professionals at BetterHelp: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/panic-attacks/.
The first step to avoiding or reducing the effects of a panic attack is to identify what triggers the anxiety and stress. While there may be easy targets like upcoming presentations or meetings, other causes may take in-depth thought and consideration. For example, if you feel anxious when you receive a task or even simply check through your email, taking a moment to identify the cause can help you come to a solution.
There are often times when people don’t realize that it’s the expectations they set for themselves that can trigger a panic attack. If you have work you’re behind on or you’re expecting an email from an important client, your rising anxiety could be from the perception you have of yourself. By identifying these responses and the thoughts behind them, you can take the time to self-reflect, talk with your support system, and develop a strategy to create a more positive inner voice and self-image.
Even when you’re in the middle of the workplace, there are various opportunities you can take to reduce your heart rate and regulate your breathing. One of the most simple and common ways people reduce anxiety is by practicing breathing exercises that help them refocus and calm their minds. This can be helpful when you’re in the middle of a meeting or unable to get up and move away from your desk. However, moving is another great way to reduce anxiety and you should take the opportunity when you have the chance.
While you don’t necessarily need to go out for a brisk jog around the building, walking around the office space can help get your blood flowing and calm your nerves. This can be as simple as taking a quick trip to the bathroom and slowly pacing in front of the stalls while coupling your breathing exercises. It also pulls you away from the work that could be triggering your panic attack and gives your mind a moment of peace to wander and focus on other, non-stressful ideas and daydreams.
Regardless of whether you work in an office, a busy restaurant, or out in the field, it’s important to try to find a quiet place where you can be alone for a few minutes. This could be in the bathroom, outside of the building, or sitting in your car. By getting away from a stressful environment, you separate yourself from the triggering situation. While it may be difficult in some situations, such as during rush hour or an important meeting, knowing that you can take the time away for yourself soon can be a helpful thought to focus on so you reduce the panicked feeling.
One way you can ensure that you’re receiving a few minutes alone is to communicate your needs to your manager or boss. Explaining your anxiety and occasional panic attacks to the people in charge can help to explain moments when you’re away from your designated area. You can work together with them to make sure you’re not missing anything important and it can also help to reduce your stress by knowing they understand why you may need to step away from situations on occasion. If you’re unsure how to bring this topic up to your supervisor, you can discuss your options with a support system or mental health care professional for ideas.