Why does anxiety cause me to make mistakes at work?

This article will show what happens when a person is anxious, and how this can cause them to make mistakes at work. Aside from that, the article will discuss ways a person can admit to their wrongdoing.

Not only that, it will show how bosses can handle the mistake, and how employees handle themselves after making mistakes at work.

Why is anxiety causing me to make mistakes at work? 

Anxiety can have a huge impact on your life. It can even affect your work. It can be that you are constantly worried about work, which makes focusing harder, and even makes you feel more agitated. 

When that is the case, focusing on the things you need to do can be a lot harder. Because of that, dealing with your anxiety is the best way to prevent future mistakes from happening. 

One might do that through therapy, or medication. Not only that, having a workout routine can help you relieve stress and make your focusing abilities better. Having breathing exercises that you can do even in your work routine is important. 

They can help you center yourself when you feel overwhelmed with work, and coming back from it can make your workflow better. Nowadays, companies are also offering activities in the workplace so people can reboot from the stress of their workday. All of that can help you manage your anxiety and improve the quality of your work.

How can I admit to making a mistake at work?

Owning up to a mistake is never easy. Try to understand if the mistake you made requires an apology, or if it is just a situation of making it right. But get in touch with your leader to show them you are open to discussing what happened, and how you could have acted differently. 

Having that open and honest conversation can show how open you are to acknowledging what happened, but also learning how to prevent this from going on in the future. 

If anyone was affected personally by your mistake, try to provide them with apologies, and take responsibility for your actions. But even though you might want to tell people this will never happen again, don’t get carried away with promises you can’t keep.

What you can say is that you will try your best to not do the same thing, and show them how you are open and willing to learn from your mistakes. 

How should bosses react when someone makes a mistake?

It is the boss’s job to help and react to an employee’s mistake. And how they do it can determine if they will be a good idea, that can be compassionate and supportive, or if they will just blame the employees and leave them to deal with the mistakes alone.

When a person makes a mistake at work, it is very common that they start to blame themselves, so there is no need for the boss to pile on in that. A great idea will bring to their team the mentality that people, even them, have grown through their mistakes. 

When they can do that, it can be great for the team morale, and make this a teaching moment, which can cause everyone to focus on searching for a joint solution for the problem. This is a great way of preventing future mistakes. 

When talking one-on-one with the employee that has made the mistake, ask them what happened, how they understand it could have been done differently. If you have visual tools to help enlighten what was wrong and how it can be made right, it can help the employee understand better. 

But if a leader notices that the same employee has been making many mistakes, it might be time for a more serious talk. Try to discuss with them why they think this is happening, and what is causing them to not perform as well as they could. It might be that they are going through things in their life that are affecting their work-life, such as an anxiety disorder.

If that is the case, offer support, inform them that if any care is needed that you are available to discuss adjustments in their workload or schedule. 

How can I cope with making mistakes at work because of anxiety? 

After you have made a mistake at work, it might be hard to focus back on what needs to be done. People can become insecure, and even afraid of losing their jobs. So let’s discuss what are ways to center themselves after that. 

Allow your emotions

The first thing to do, when this happens to you, is to own up to your emotions. Let your frustration pass through you, talk to people you trust, and when possible, let this go. Understand that it is not one mistake that will define you, have it under the perspective that, even though your mind will keep on the negative, this is not the end of the world.

Acknowledge the mistake

That will help you own up to your mistake, and think clearly about the response you need to give your boss and other people. And also to create a strategy so this mistake doesn’t happen again.

Take care of yourself

After you have experienced a mistake, you can feel so guilty that it might be hard to not focus on work all the time. But it is important to still allow yourself to care for your mental health, sleep pattern, and anything that might make you feel good. 

Understand that if you don’t take care of yourself, it becomes easier to go through another mistake. It is just by being re-energized and focused at work that you can prevent future mistakes from happening.

Be aware of your career path

Having in perspective where you have been, where you are, and what you hope to achieve is a way of keeping it in perspective that a mistake or two won’t define who you are professional.

You still have time to improve, and even deal with future mistakes, which might teach you a lot about your career goals and what you want to reach. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Why is anxiety causing me to make mistakes at work?

Is it common to make a mistake at work?

Yes, it is extremely common to make mistakes at work, especially when you are new to it. People are not machines, we can’t answer to things always in the same manner. 

A person that has just started a new job might make some mistakes as part of their learning process, because even though they might be trained, at some point they might come across something they didn’t know and couldn’t look for help.

As for people that have been in a company longer, one day, even after a long time at it, a person might make a mistake in something they already knew how to do. What is important in those situations is how the person will handle the mistake.

They should be open to owning up to it, discussing what happened with their team and leader, and thinking of ways to resolve it. The problem is when they are not open to discussing it or keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

How can I stop obsessing about my mistake?

When a person makes a mistake, they usually start overthinking about it as a way to, even after they found the solution, not let it happen again. But through that, they become more prone to making more mistakes. 

For you to start overthinking it, the first thing to do is identify what caused the mistake. If it was related to stress, to a work colleague helping you in a wrong way, or so on. Once you discover what caused it, you might need to distance yourself from it, and the mistake itself as a way of putting it in perspective.

This will help you analyze the size of the mistake, why are you so moved by it, since we are all humans and can make mistakes, and what are the ways you found to solve it.

This can make it clear to you that you did what you could to resolve the situations, and that is what anyone can expect of a person. And when those thoughts come back again, try to focus on something else so you are not absorbed in this situation again. 

This will get easier over time, and through that, you can even prevent future mistakes. 

Can anxiety kill me?

Anxiety in itself is not something that will kill a person. But it can happen that the symptoms of it, such as the increase of the person’s heartbeat, can become a problem to a person that has a heart condition.

That is why it is extremely important to treat your anxiety. Not only the suffering that can come from it is intense, but it might also have negative effects on other parts of your body, and that can lead to more serious, or even fatal, problems.

Does anxiety get better over time?

No, anxiety doesn’t get better over time, if it is not treated. It might only improve through treatment. If a person doesn’t look for help, their anxiety will get worse with time.

That will happen because the person will never learn what is triggering their anxiety symptoms, What is the root of their problem in their life history, and with that, will never discover the strategies to fully center themselves when the crisis comes. 

They will not be able, as well, to make peace with their life history so it won’t affect them that much anymore.

What causes people to become anxious?

Many things can make people anxious. It has a genetic root, as well as an environmental one. A person can become anxious because they are going through some job or relationship matter. 

Or they are going through a medical condition that is making them extremely worried. It can also be related to traumatic experiences they lived through in the past. And it might be through therapy that a person will discover where their anxiety is coming from.


This article showed why people that are going through anxiety can make mistakes in their work. Not only that, the article explained what are good ways to own up to your mistake, and what to expect from a good leader in those cases.  Aside from that, the article showed what ways a person can cope with their mistakes.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.