Health talk
Hello, my name is Workplace Anxiety.

Amy Lemley, 46, has spent most of her life feeling like a fraud. She remembers debilitating performance pressure even as a young child. When she believed she wasn’t strong in a subject, such as science or math, she’d avoid it, once refusing to do homework for months.

Later, as a marketing copywriter, Lemley felt her anxieties surfacing again. She began worrying obsessively about how she came off to coworkers and clients. Was she being taken seriously? Did that person think she knew what she was talking about? A few times she forgot to bill her clients, and when she realized the mistake, was too embarrassed to send the bill late.

Millions of people are afraid of work. The situations they fear may be different-public speaking, meetings, conference calls, performance reviews, client consultations, and so on. But the feeling is often the same: some combination of obsessive worry, clammy hands, racing thoughts, sweating, blushing, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, and more.

That feeling is called "workplace anxiety."

Work anxiety is never just work anxiety. It often bleeds into your home and personal life, and if it goes on for too long you may also develop anxiety that lasts long after you leave the job.

The best way to beat workplace anxiety is to face your fears. You cannot resolve anxiety by playing defense. Jonathan Berett, a psychotherapist who has been practicing since 1978, tells his clients to take care of their physical health by eating well, getting good sleep and exercising regularly.

Studies have shown that apart from improving physical health, exercise can also improve mental health. Regular exercise is a powerful anxiety reliever.

Aerobic exercise

activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat—is a hugely effective way to lift your mood, increase energy, sharpen focus, and relax both the mind and body. Try walking, dancing, swimming, or playing ping pong with your kids.

Focus on your body

As you move, instead of continuing to focus on your thoughts, focus on your body and how it feels as you exercise. As well as maximizing stress relief, adding this mindfulness element can help your nervous system become “unstuck” if you’ve experienced trauma.

Get 30 minutes of activity

For best results, try to get at least 30 minutes of activity on most days. If it’s easier to fit into your schedule, break up the activity into two or three shorter segments.

Take a stroll

When stress is mounting at work, try to take a quick break and move away from the stressful situation. Take a stroll outside the workplace if possible. Physical movement can help you regain your balance.