Do call centers cause anxiety?

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This blog answers questions about: Do call centers cause anxiety? What are the 8 stress management techniques for call center agents? What are the benefits of stress management techniques? what is anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety caused by call centers? What are the main triggers of anxiety for call center agents? What are some ways to manage anxiety? What are the therapy options for anxiety caused by call centers?

Do call centers cause anxiety?

People providing call center services or customer support services can be the most vulnerable to stress and anxiety.

Their likelihood of experiencing anxiety is the highest during a crisis or peak season. These high levels of anxiety routes from high expectations from the call center agents.

Despite the standard requirement of being patient, positive, and helpful towards the customers call center agents can experience high levels of stress and anxiety resulting in frustration towards the customers and poor job performance.

Caller center agents can also experience anxiety due to the demands of meeting average call time, call resolutions, and problem-solving abilities.

What are the 8 stress management techniques for call center agents?

Some stress management techniques for call center agents are: 

4×4 breathing 

4×4 breathing is an effective yet simple way of practicing deep breathing that helps call center agents reduce their level of stress. It helps in reducing stress by lowering the individual’s blood pressure and heart rate.\

Practicing this deep breathing exercise every day can help the agents regulate their stress levels positively in a long run and reduce their physiological arousal after specific challenging calls. 

Engage all the 5 senses 

Considering the nature of a call center agent’s job, agents must try and take small breaks between their work hours. During these breaks, they can take a walk outside while engaging their five sense. 

This could involve walking barefoot on grass, focusing on the sounds of the bird, paying attention to the available smell, and looking at small yet intriguing objects around.

Engaging all 5 senses can help the call center agents to feel relaxed and reduce the amount of stress they experience. 

Socialize 

Being a call center agent, the motivation to speak to people outside work hours can be very low. However, call center agents must realize that talking about their challenging day and tough calls with a well-wisher will help them to relieve their stress as it acts as talk therapy that many therapists carry out in clinical settings as well.

Sharing one’s day with a co-worker also helps the person feel connected and less alone. It helps to share perspectives and also provides ways to deal with various challenges at work place many times. 

Get icy 

Apart from talking to a friend or carrying out deep breathing, there are many other ways a call center agent can manage their stress. 

Placing their head in ice-cold water, putting an ice-cold gel mask, or running ice water on the wrists helps people to activate their parasympathetic nervous systems helping the person to calm down gradually.

Eminent psychologist Dr.Marsha Linehan suggests that this method works best when a person holds their breath and bends over for 30seconds to activate the mammalian drive reflex that helps to relax a person’s body.

Laugh it out 

Laughing is looked at as a natural way of decreasing stress as it lowers the stress hormone cortisol and increases the levels of endorphins further enhancing an individual’s mood. 

Call center agents can watch funny videos, look up funny quotes or read funny articles to lighten their mood within seconds.

Listen to music 

Music is considered to have therapeutic effects on an individual. Calming music can help to reduce the call center agent’s heart rate and decrease their stress and anxiety.

During breaks, call center agents can pick up their favorite playlist and enjoy the music while relaxing themselves. This can also enhance their performance significantly post relaxation

Look out for the positives 

It is very likely that during tough times, people often focus only on their negatives that cause a chain of negative thoughts. However, a person must understand that their mood and behavior are directed by their thoughts. 

Call center agents can try and list out the positive things in their lives during tough times to cheer themselves up. This can also involve looking up some good pictures or writing down 5 good things that happened to them throughout the week.

Exercise 

Exercise is yet another quick remedy to bad moods and stressed feelings. Simple exercises can aid in increasing blood flow and oxygen to a person’s brain and reduce stress and anxiety.

Agents can consider going on quick walks around lunch or break times or stretch out at their desks. 

What are the benefits of stress management techniques?

The above-mentioned stress management techniques help to improve the call center agents: 

  • Energy levels 
  • Memory retention 
  • Level of productivity 
  • Improve mood 
  • Frustration tolerance 
  • Focus and concentration 

What is Anxiety?

Problems and resulting stress are a part of every individual’s life, which are usually accompanied by some common emotions like confusion, feeling at the edge, a sense of helplessness, and recurrent negative thoughts which can collectively be seen as an individual experiencing what’s commonly called as Anxiety. 

Every human has their unique ways of dealing with these difficult situations and the following emotions, some try to adapt to the circumstances and find the best and most comfortable solution while others try to find an escape route for the same, in both cases the main aim is usually to get over the uncomfortable emotions of anxiety. 

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety caused by call centers? 

Anxiety caused by call centers  is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:

 

  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms vary in severity from person to person. However, it is noted that many people experience anxiety attacks that are not significantly displayed.

What are the main triggers of anxiety for call center agents?

Even though anxiety is seen among many individuals, certain triggers make some people more vulnerable to anxiety than others. Some contributing triggers of anxiety are:

Health diagnosis

An individual is more vulnerable to experiencing anxiety in the presence of chronic or serious health diagnoses such as cancer or diabetes.

Triggers associated with health diagnosis tend to have a strong impact on an individual because of the strong negative thoughts and emotions that are associated with it.

Medications

It is believed that many over-the-counter medications may contribute to the symptoms of anxiety in some individuals. This is certainly because of the ingredients in this medication that makes an individual feel uneasy.

Use of caffeine

Even though it is said that the use of caffeine helps to activate an individual’s system, studies show that over-usage of caffeine might lead to adverse effects such as anxiety or even depression.

Apart from the overuse withdrawal from caffeine may also lead to anxiety. hence it is suggested that individuals take conscious amounts of caffeine per day.

Skipping meals

Apart from environmental factors ones eating habits might also contribute to an individual’s anxiety directly or indirectly. When an individual fails to maintain their food timings it might lead to fluctuations in their blood sugar levels.

These fluctuations might make an individual feel jittery which in turn triggers anxiety.

Hence maintaining a proper schedule and diet is important for various reasons not just for energy but also for maintaining one’s mood.

Negative thinking

An individual’s behavior and emotions are certainly controlled by one’s thoughts. When an individual is upset and dwells on negative thoughts it further leads to discomforting emotions and detrimental thoughts causing a vicious cycle.

These negative thoughts are then projected to various areas of an individual’s life creating an overall sense of lack of control over oneself and the environment which triggers anxiety.

Financial concerns

Many individuals experience anxiety due to their financial standing. Learning to manage financial triggers requires seeking professional help such as from a financial advisor.

Stress

Daily stressors as simple as traffic jams to major ones such as strained relationships might contribute to one’s intensity and frequency of anxiety and anxiety attacks.

However long term or chronic stress leads to long term anxiety and a build-up of negative taught processes and emotions that impact an individual’s mental health

 

Conflict

individuals might also experience anxiety as a result of interpersonal or intrapersonal conflicts.

The inability to resolve these conflicts might lead to the buildup of negative thoughts, emotions that overwhelm an individual and trigger anxiety.

Personal triggers

Personal triggers can be as minor as a smell, place, or even a song that reminds an individual of negative and discomforting experiences. Personal triggers can remind an individual of an unconscious or conscious dramatic event in an individual’s life that triggers their anxiety.

If you can identify and understand your triggers, you can work to avoid them and learn to cope with them. You can learn specific coping strategies to handle the triggers when they happen.

What are some ways to manage anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques

 

Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.

Socialization

 

A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety caused by call centers?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Group therapy

 

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.

Medication

Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time

Conclusion 

Ceratin job roles like that of a call center agent might be more at risk of experiencing anxiety than other job roles. However, the intensity of anxiety experienced by an individual also depends on their threshold to stress and their coping strategies.

Frequently asked questions

Can anxiety be caused by call centers?

Some call center specialists go as distant to say that intemperate call observing, and strict control measures are sincerely requesting and harsh.

Research demonstrates that there is a positive relationship between high levels of observing and sadness, uneasiness, turnover rates, and diminished work fulfillment.

What are the 3 most difficult things about working in a call center?

The most significant challenges at call centers can be:

  • Reduced customer satisfaction rates
  • Increased use of technology and tools
  • Employee dissatisfaction

 How do I get over my anxiety at a call center?

  • Prioritize and reduce stress 
  • Focus on the initial training 
  • Improve on autonomy 
  • Speak to your manager about your feelings

Citations

https://blog.scorebuddyqa.com/curbing-burnout-in-call-center-agents
https://www.talkdesk.com/blog/8-stress-management-techniques-for-contact-center-agents/
https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/anxiety-triggers
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10634350/

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