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Be Anxiety Free at Work

“Anxiety is nothing but repeatedly experiencing failure in advance, what a waste.” Seth Godin

There are two paths to be anxiety free at work.

1) learn to not care about your work, your co-workers, your company, or your success, or

2) start each day by planning to be anxiety free, and practicing habits that will keep anxiety at bay.


The reality is neither path to being 100% anxiety free is realistic. For someone to be totally devoid of care for their work, coworkers, and their success would be rare.

To also rely on habits and best practices to keep you anxiety-free is equally rare. Our world is made up of people, and these people are neither totally predictable nor consistent. We will always be presented with issues and circumstances that will surprise and concern us.

But it is possible to approach your work environment in such a way to address our anxieties as they occur, so the time and energy they rob us of are minimized.

In this way, you can be (mostly) anxiety free.

At Work

As a business leader, your job is to manage those surprises and concerns such that they have little influence on how you and your employees work. The more you can eliminate anxiety from your sphere in the workplace the more your employees can focus on their jobs.

It is possible to reduce anxiety significantly. Everybody does it every day.

For example, when you are driving down the street, are you worried about the car next to you veering out of their lane and hitting your car? No. Mostly you are paying attention to those around you and what they are doing, but you are not worrying about them. If they do begin to drive erratically, you act by either honking your horn or slowing down to give some distance between them and you. You proactively (and mostly unconsciously) distance yourself from other drivers who have the potential to cause you anxiety.

We need to take this same mentality to work. You cannot worry about what you cannot control. You do your job, just like driving your car, and when something unexpected happens, you act. But you are not letting those unknowns cause you anxiety.

Anxiety at Work

Unfortunately, we spend too much time worrying about things at work that are out of our control. We worry that interest rates might rise, a client might not pay her bill, or a piece of equipment may fail.

And each of these worries is taking time and effort from your ability to get your job done. To do your job the best, you need to be free of anxiety caused by things out of your control.

Here are several habits to adopt that will significantly reduce anxiety in your workplace.

  1. Know your people – this may sound elementary, but knowing your staff will help you to quickly and confidently identify and solve issues that arise. Nothing eliminates anxiety quicker than making a problem disappear.
  2. Ask for help – even though you are the boss doesn’t mean you know everything. A source of anxiety is trying to solve problems for which you are not the expert.
  3. Release your thoughts – I call this a “brain dump.” We all work in a fast-paced environment and often anxiety is caused simply because you cannot get your thoughts in order. Sit down and write what is on your mind. This will give your mind time to re-organize and prioritize what is occupying your thoughts.
  4. Have in-person conversations -non-verbal communications will help identify underlying issues that otherwise will subtly cause anxiety. We have all had those moments where we know something is not right but what that it is elusive.
  5. Name what is bothering you – if something is nagging you, stop and isolate exactly what that is. It may take time but never allow yourself to be anxious over an unidentified problem. This may require some help, but all your problems need to be named.
The Bible

Jesus, in His most famous sermon recorded in Matthew 6:25-34, addresses anxiety. Matthew 6:25 says.

Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Jesus gives us the recipe to be anxiety free. The solution is not to be devoid of care or to rely entirely on personal skills to reduce or eliminate our worries, but to trust in Jesus and that our actions, decisions, and cares are all in His hands.