If you’re suffering from anxiety in the workplace, know that you’re not alone. Studies show that this type of stress is becoming more pervasive across the globe, with particular concern focused in the United States.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.” What’s more, the report shows that just over a third of those who suffer from anxiety actually seek treatment for their conditions, despite the fact that they are six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment than those without the disorder.
The takeaway? Without proper ongoing support, anxiety can lead to not only workplace burnout, but also significant health concerns—and expenses.
THE EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL TOLL OF WORKPLACE ANXIETY
In the office, anxiety is not just a concern for those who suffer from it. Research shows that it’s critical— from a humanistic, legal, and productivity standpoint— for managers also to understand the warning signs of anxiety and depression, and to know how to successfully respond to this concern on behalf of their direct reports. According to The American Institute of Stress, “80% of workers feel stress on the job, [and] nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.”
For supervisors and managers, it can be tricky to support someone who is dealing with a health issue that often isn’t visible until it expresses itself in problem workplace behavior. A 2017 roundup on workplace anxiety in The Business Journals reported several key areas in which anxiety can affect workplace productivity, including missed deadlines, high turnover, and potential damage to the company image or brand.
A recent Forbes article suggested that, in addition to the obvious toll anxiety takes on its sufferer, the out-of-pocket and productivity expenses related to workplace stress also can be dire. The piece cites a study showing that workplace stress results in healthcare costs topping out at a whopping $190 billion annually in the United States alone. What’s more, the Center for Workplace Health notes that “the World Health Organization recently reported that an estimated 12 billion working days will be lost to untreated depression and anxiety by the year 2030, resulting in a global cost of $925 billion.”
But not all the news regarding workplace anxiety is doom and gloom. Thanks to innovations in technology and holistic health care, support for anxiety in the workplace — as well as creative solutions managers can use to alleviate the problem — are more accessible than ever before. Read on to check out our roundup anxiety management apps. If you’re in a position of leadership within your organization, consider sending these out to your team as a friendly way to let your employees know that you’re a resource for getting proactive about mental health care.
GETTING HELP FOR ANXIETY: 5 APPS THAT SOOTHE THE SOUL
1. Calm (iOS, Android). The current #1 app for mindfulness and meditation, Calm is a beautifully designed, simple-to-use app that offers a range of tools. From anxiety-specific guided meditations to “body scan” meditations that encourage users to ground into the present moment, the prompts this app offers will promote relaxation and focus at home and in the office.
2. Buddhify (iOS, Android). A favorite on Buzzfeed, this well-organized app offers a range of meditations in specific categories, including “Work Break,” “Feeling Stressed,” and “Being Online.” You can track your progress and take advantage of “solo” meditations when you’re ready to just sit in the stillness and breathe.
3. STONE (iOS). For something a little off the beaten path, try STONE, an app that provides beautiful images of crystals, paired with zingy descriptions of their healing properties. While skeptics may scowl at the thought of holding a shiny rock in their hand to calm down, healing crystals have been used for centuries for holistic healing purposes (and, at the very least, the app offers some very pretty visuals to help employees shift their head space).
4. Mood Mission (iOS, Android). With a clean, elegant design, Mood Mission offers clinically based support using a Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) approach. For people who like to move forward on clear action steps, this app is a keeper. Users simply enter a few details about their current mood, then the app provides “mission” steps to work through the feelings.
5. Worry Knot (Android). One of a suite of 13 clinically proven apps designed by Northwestern University, Worry Knot helps users “untangle” their anxieties and key in on the underlying concerns. In a clinical research study, individuals who used a combination of five or more apps from this collection experienced noted improvement, with 42% of users showing full remission and another 45% of users experiencing only mild symptoms after using the digital tools.
It’s crucial to note that while these apps can do wonders for managing anxiety in the moment, mental health concerns shouldn’t be taken lightly. If your anxiety, or that of your staff, starts to escalate or doesn’t improve, be sure to make connections to your Human Resources department or Employee Assistance Program to find additional resources and clinical support, or even explore options for a team member taking a break through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).