For the majority of people anxiety is a normal response to a perceived threatening, challenging or dangerous situation. For others, it is a more enduring condition that can fluctuate over time.

In some circumstances, a person may experience anxiety in situations that are not generally perceived as threatening or dangerous – such behaviour may be constant or caused by specific triggers.


Physical symptoms:
  • Heart palpitations or ‘heart in throat’
  • Tense muscles
  • Sweating, dizziness or fainting
  • Stomach problems
  • Hypersensitivity to noise, smells, taste or touch.

Changes in thought patterns:
  • Sudden excitement or marked irritability
  • Feeling of time going slowly
  • Excessive worrying or anticipating a problem
  • Extremely focused thinking
  • Experiencing feelings of dread or impending doom.

Changes in behaviour:
  • Sudden bursts of energy, speed or strength
  • Experiencing shakiness and/or feeling tired
  • Being very still or ‘frozen’
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty sleeping.

Potential impact on daily life and employment

  • Raised blood pressure
  • Avoidance of certain situations
  • Low self confidence
  • Poor concentration and feeling unable to perform tasks
  • Feeling problems are impossible to solve
  • Underestimating the ability to cope
  • Thoughts becoming increasingly and persistently negative
  • Constant worrying or fidgeting.

Support in the workplace

  • For a new employee with known anxiety, ensure the welcome and induction process is clear and understood
  • Consider additional support in the first few weeks
  • Appoint a workplace buddy or mentor to provide personal support
  • Find out about the medication they are taking and possible side effects
  • Ask the individual to explain how their stress/anxiety manifests itself and ensure you have the individual’s permission to talk about it with others should that be required
  • Avoid phrases such as “pull yourself together”, “you’ll get over it”, “it’s not as bad as you think”
  • Identify workplace activities that may trigger particular levels of stress or anxiety, and consider temporary or permanent adjustments.

Over two million Australians experience Anxiety each year. 

Source; Beyond Blue

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