Overwhelmed woman at work in need of some anxiety coping skills for adults.

4 Anxiety Coping Skills For Adults With Overwhelming Work Pressure

Some people might associate the corporate world with executives who enjoy big salaries, expense accounts, world travel, and deluxe offices. And you might have even been one of those people — until you actually landed a corporate job and realized that not everyone enjoys those nice perks. In fact, your experience with the corporate world involved competition, demands, long hours, and a boatload of stress. It is for you that I write this blog to offer you a perk that is more valuable than a deluxe office with your name on the door. And that is to share some anxiety coping skills for adults that will help you not let the pressures of corporate life overwhelm you.


Dr. Karl Albrecht, a management consultant, and conference speaker, defined four common types of stress in his 1979 book, “Stress and the Manager.” They are as follows:

  1. Time stress
  2. Anticipatory stress
  3. Situational stress
  4. Encounter stress

Let’s take a look at each type of stress and see if you identify with any of them and learn the four anxiety coping skills for adults to deal with each one.

Time Stress

Do deadlines, being on time for meetings, or running out of time have you worried about time? Time stress is one of the most common types of stress that we deal with today in and out of the workplace. 


  • Set realistic goals. Goals matter, but they can also create excessive pressure and make you feel bad when you don’t achieve the goals you have set. Therefore, work with co-workers and management to set realistic expectations and deadlines. Periodically review how things are going and adjust your goals as needed.
  • Prioritize. Make a list of tasks in order of importance. Determine what tasks need your attention immediately from those you can put off until later. Throughout the day, glance back over your list to keep on schedule. Pay special attention to not get caught up in tasks that seem urgent at the time but have little impact on the actions needed to reach your goals. Doing so will leave you feeling exhausted by the end of the day without really accomplishing anything meaningful.  
  • Protect your time. It’s easy to feel pressure to be available 24/7. We all know how unhealthy that is. So, it’s crucial to establish some work-life boundaries for yourself. By setting clear-cut boundaries between these two worlds, you will lessen the potential for work-life discord and the stress that goes along with it. Remember, your most important tasks are usually the ones that will help you reach your goals, so better use of your time is working on those types of projects.

Anticipatory Stress

Anticipatory stress is when you are stressing about a future event or activity. Such as worrying about something that you think may go wrong or have negative consequences if things go wrong. It also can be vague and undefined, such as an overshadowing sense of dread about the future. Sometimes you find yourself being so fixated on an event or potential outcome you cannot focus on matters at hand.


Start by understanding that the event you are worrying about doesn’t have to play out as you are imagining. Challenge those negative thoughts by using different techniques such as:

  • Positive visualization techniques. Visualize yourself succeeding at your goal or see yourself shaking the hand of the CEO after a major promotion. Convert your desires into beliefs. Instead of framing your visualizations as things you want to happen, believe they will happen.
  • Meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a relaxation technique that will help you refocus and bring your awareness back to what is happening in the moment instead of an imagined future.
  • Overcome the fear of failure. No one likes to fail at anything, but do you know how many famous people were failures before becoming successful? They failed, but they got back up and never quit trying. Failure is not a step back but a stepping stone to success. Make a contingency plan for if and when something goes wrong. This way, you can have a planned course of action when the need arises, and you will feel a greater sense of control.

Situational Stress

Situational stress in the workplace usually involves conflict, loss of status, or acceptance in the eyes of co-workers and or leadership and can happen in the moment. For example, making a significant mistake in front of your team or your boss loses her cool and shouts at you in front of others. Being in these types of situations usually makes you feel threatened and not in control. 


Situational stress can be tricky to manage because your reactions are often automatic when you get caught in a situation you didn’t anticipate. The anxiety coping skills for adults that will help you better manage this are:

  • Being self-aware. This means learning to recognize your body’s physical and emotional signs when you are under pressure. When you can detect in advance the types of situations that might cause you to stress, you will know what actions to take, such as taking a break, having an escape plan to get out of a sticky situation, or taking a deep breath and counting to 10 before you make a decision. Knowing how and appropriately responding to this type of stress will keep you from making terrible split decisions and acting unprofessionally.
  • Learn practical conflict resolution skills. (1)Communication (that means listening too). (2)Identify specific points of disagreement. (3)Express your needs clearly. (4)View conflict as an opportunity for growth. (5)Negotiate to find a solution for all involved.

Encounter Stress

“Some people are like clouds. When they disappear, it’s a beautiful day.” —Unknown.

Have you ever felt like that? I’ll admit it, I have. It can be a real struggle to interact with certain people. Who knows? I might have even been one of those people to someone somewhere. 

Certain professions like health care practitioners, social workers, law enforcement, call centers, etc., also have high rates of encounter stress because they often involve sick, troubled, or upset people.

Regardless, if your job involves many personal interactions with difficult people, customers, or clients, then encounter stress can be significant for you. If not managed, you can get worn down by too many disagreeable interactions with certain people or groups.


Because encounter stress is focused entirely on people, it’s best overcome through improving interpersonal skills and building confidence and resilience. Things you might find helpful are:

  • Improve your self-esteem. Make a list of your strengths and a list of your achievements. Think positively about yourself and challenge any negative thoughts. Manage your expectations by setting yourself realistic goals and working towards them. And lastly, make sure to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional needs.
  • Develop greater emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and being aware of how your emotions affect the people around you. It also involves how you perceive others and being able to understand how they feel. This is an essential skill in working jointly with others and building good relationships.

Because stress can have such an impact on our lives and wellbeing, I’m glad I could share with you these four types of stress and the anxiety coping skills for adults to manage each one. However, if you would like to learn more ways to handle stressful times in your workplace, working with an anxiety coach through breakthrough coaching is an excellent way to go. When you can effectively manage your emotional response in situations out of your control, you will be better equipped to handle them.

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or make an appointment online. I look forward to working with you on strategies that will work best for you and benefit your professional and personal life as well.

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