Anxiety disorders are ranked one of the most prevalent forms of mental illness according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Almost 40 million of the U.S population suffers from anxiety (1) yet strive to perform their day-to-day activities in a way an average person would do.
However, the workplace’s stress and anxiety are not uncommon, and even ordinary people sometimes can’t hold the job anxiety. The pressure of setting and meeting deadlines, giving a corporate presentation in front of the panel, managing family and friends, constant demands of attention, and least room for relaxation are some of the stressors anyone at work might experience.
On top of this, if you’re someone who already has an anxiety disorder, this additional workplace anxiety will make the situation even worse for you.
Not everything is as distressful as it may seem. The good news is there still are better jobs for people with anxiety that are super manageable.
The best jobs for someone with anxiety disorders include the ones that utilize the peculiar anxiety traits to extract optimum outcomes. These traits include over-analyzing, research, seeking instant validation/reward, urge to achieve satisfaction, etc.
What people with anxiety need to consider while choosing a career
Before we jump to analyze the best jobs for someone with anxiety, it is crucial to understand what factors must be considered in the process.
While choosing a career, a person with anxiety needs to look for the below-mentioned job characteristics.
- Since people with anxiety seek validation and are quickly demotivated when not acknowledged for their efforts, the nature of the job they must choose should be rewarding.
- Jobs with more social interactions may bring about more anxiety or sudden anxiety episodes right before making a social appearance.
- Despite being a mental illness, anxiety does have some positive attributes that may increase productivity and engagement when utilized appropriately. Research, thoughtfulness, and crafting creative ideas are a few areas a person with anxiety is good at.
- For some jobs, it is mandatory to have a certain level of education and training.
- Recall the past job experiences, if any, and analyze the positives and negatives of it. It can help to clear away the clutter and make a concrete decision with the least possible drawbacks.
You would probably be surprised to know that art is not just a passionate career choice but has also been recognized as a therapy for people with anxiety and other mental illnesses.
There is a whole discipline dedicated to this form of treatment known as Art Therapy, which is established after colossal research and experiments.
Art therapy includes simple drawing, doodling, painting, sketching, and sculpting to reduce stress and anxiety and promote calmness.
Recent studies have found considerable improvement in quality of life and emotional regulation with art therapy. (2) (3). Like any other therapist, an art therapist’s role is to calm the client and help him resolve the unresolved traumatic experiences, be more socially active, and accept and endorse the past.
While you get trained as an art therapist, you know the best practices to combat anxiety. Treating clients will serve as an instant reward and keep you satisfied with your job.
The average salary of an Art Therapist in the U.S ranges from $37,642 to $47,488 per annum as of 2021. (4)
According to American Art Therapy Association, it is essential to acquire a master’s degree in an art therapy program to become an Art Therapist. The program needs to be approved by the Educational Programs Approval Board (EPAB) or accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) (5)
As being someone with anxiety, it is a challenge to keep up with a job in a noisy environment as noise triggers anxiety. With that in mind, working as a librarian is one of the best-suited jobs for people with anxiety.
The job role includes keeping the records of library material, teaching the basic assisting skills to the staff, supervising all functions within the library, hiring and firing of staff, maintaining a quiet atmosphere to minimize disturbance.
Moreover, as per a report published in April 2020 on American Psychological Association’s website, “Libraries Are Becoming Mental Health Hub.” The report explains how the librarians are helping the visitors cope with their mental stress and anxiety. (6)
Becoming a librarian will help you work in a peaceful environment. Data organizing and analyzing tasks will keep you hooked, and helping people will bring a sense of satisfaction and reward.
The average salary of a Librarian in the U.S is $42,424 to $58,607 per annum as of 2021. (7)
Suppose you want to become an academic, public, or special librarian. In that case, it is necessary to obtain a master’s degree in library science (MLA) from a program preferably accredited by American Library Association (ALA). However, to become a school librarian, you just need to meet the given state’s teaching criteria. (8)
3. Graphic Designer
People with anxiety disorders are often immensely creative with their ideas and thought patterns. The job of graphic designing demands you to be aesthetically creative and self-driven.
People hire graphic designers to make eye-catching graphics for their businesses in order to generate sales and traffic to them. A competent graphic designer uses his imaginative power and research to create a unique idea.
As a kind of creative art, graphic designing also serves as therapy for someone living with anxiety. Getting a job that matches your interest while providing you with instant satisfaction (that you get after completing a project, poster, design, etc.) is rare.
The average annual salary of a Graphic Designer in the United States is $81,979 as of 2021. (9)
There is no such educational degree mandatory to become a graphic designer. You can always start learning it, even from the comfort of your home. There are numerous online platforms where you can earn a diploma in graphic designing. However, it is always a good idea to pursue your educational career in graphic designing if you plan to become one.
4. Software developer
Another exciting job for those with social anxiety is being a software developer. A software developer is someone who develops computer software after analyzing people’s needs and then tests if it actually meets people’s needs. (10)
It is considered the best job for someone with social anxiety because it can be done sitting at your home office with minimal social interactions.
Note that minimal social interactions doesn’t mean NO interaction. You still have to coordinate with your team members and clients.
The average salary for a software engineer in the United States is $110,791 per year as of 2021. (11)
Generally, it would be best if you had a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related disciplines to become a software developer. However, you can still become one with lots of online diploma courses available on the internet.
5. Clinical Psychologist
A clinical psychologist is someone who helps people get over their mental health issues. It is probably one of the best jobs for someone with anxiety himself.
Listening to your client’s problems and devising coping strategies for them gives you a sense of satisfaction and promotes your self-soothing mechanism.
A study published in 2017 elucidated the effects of compassionate goals (helping others) reduce anxiety to a significant level. (12)
It shows how beneficial psychotherapy can be for both the therapist and the client in attenuating stress and anxiety.
The average salary for a clinical psychologist in the United States is $111,034 per annum as of 2021. (13)
It is a must to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology to enter the field. Some organizations need a master’s degree, and some may require a doctoral degree for pursuing a career in Clinical Psychology. (14)
6. Fitness Trainer
A fitness trainer’s job is to help people achieve their fitness goals. It is crucial for a fitness trainer to keep his own body fit and healthy in order to motivate others to seek training from him.
If you’re someone with anxiety, you might already know the benefits of exercise and fitness in alleviating stress. Studies suggest exercise has a very strong relationship with stress reduction (15).
It is, however, vital to understand that exercising with anxiety is not as easy as it may seem. Opting for the fitness trainer profession as a career choice would be highly effective for people dealing with anxiety who find it difficult to exercise without a sense of validation.
The average salary of a Fitness Trainer in the U.S is $50,623 per annum, as for 2021. (16)
A certificate of diploma from an organization accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies is mandatory to become a certified Fitness Trainer. (17)
7. Video Editor
Video editing works the same way as art therapy, and graphic designing do in reducing anxiety and stress. Though you still have to interact with clients, it’s better than a full-time in-house job loaded with workplace anxiety and provides you with instant satisfaction.
The average salary of a Video Editor in the U.S is $48,596 per annum as of 2021. (18)
Skill is the eligibility criteria. You just need to get the hand of a few editing software either by completing a diploma course or learning it from tons of accessible online sources.
8. Creative Writer
Another wholesome profession you can hit on, having any anxiety disorders, is writing. The wonders of penning down your thoughts and feelings are not a secret, as plenty of scientific evidence supports the benefits related to it.
You can be a creative writer who portrays meaningful scenarios and entice emotions with the power of their words. It is true that writing is not for everyone, but for creative minds, it’s the best option to go for.
The average salary of a Creative Writer in the U.S is $63,395 per annum as of 2021. (19)
No such criteria to become a Creative Writer. You just need to be creative and skilled enough to pull it off. However, a master’s degree in the language you want to write in is a plus.
9. Makeup artist
One more form of art therapy is makeup.
Many of you have already tried doing makeup on yourself or your friends, or maybe you have seen someone striking the subtle strokes across their cheeks. Applying makeup gives you the same sense of satisfaction as painting a beautiful portrait on a canvas.
Choosing the art of makeup as a profession can drastically help you get rid of your anxiety and stress while keeping you hooked, so you no longer have the time to overthink.
Business insiders published a very comprehensive insight into how makeup can help with your mental health. (20)
The average salary of a makeup artist in the U.S is $74,585 per annum as of 2021. (21)
Thorough knowledge of current makeup practices is what you need to know before starting off. However, just knowledge won’t do any good if you’re not well-practiced in this area. Practical solid skills complying with modern techniques are the only thing needed.
10. Research Scientist
Performing research requires impeccable analytical skills, which a person with anxiety has in abundance.
Moreover, if you choose to be a researcher, you will probably work on a project either alone in a peaceful environment or with a team of 2 or 3 members. Just the thought of it seems so serene and relaxing. The only thing it requires is focus and attention.
The average salary of a researcher in the U.S is $60,079 per annum, as for 2021. (22)
Evaluate the field you would like to research in and pursue a bachelor’s degree in that particular discipline. Acquire sufficient experience while doing your bachelor’s and start off as a researcher. It is recommended to continue your studies to master’s and then doctorate level, to become a competent researcher. (23)
How to choose a career for people with anxiety
Now that you have comprehensive knowledge about the most convenient and least stressful jobs for people with anxiety disorders, the next step is to choose one.
Always keep in mind whatever profession you choose at first doesn’t always have to be the last. You can always experiment with jobs that don’t require extensive education and see what suits you the best.
However, the ones that need a proper degree to start off with have to be chosen after a thorough introspection. Ask your friends from the same field and observe their experiences.
The best thing you could do is to consult a career counselor with your psychotherapist’s intervention and make a decision.
Worst jobs for someone with anxiety to avoid
As someone experiencing anxiety, it is equally vital for you to have a rough idea about what jobs could be more challenging to you. Choosing a career is a no-brainer, but choosing the right one needs to be well thought out. Considering your mental health before making such impactful decisions helps you in the long run. (24)
A few stressful jobs that demand a great load of responsibility and need to be avoided are mentioned below;
- Managerial positions
- Police jobs
- Security jobs
- Physician/ surgeon
How to manage workplace stress with an anxiety disorder
No matter how stressful your job is, anxiety makes it hard to keep a job if not dealt with properly. There could be some moments when you can no longer concentrate, and everything around you feels like tearing apart.
This may put you through another challenge unless you proactively take a few measures in advance.
- Identify what stresses you the most.
- Keep track of what you feel during work, what makes you happy, and what triggers your stressors.
- Try to avoid it ( for instance, if you get anxious with shorter deadlines, try working from the start)
- Procrastination may result in a downturn in your progress. Avoid it as much as you possibly can.
- Overcome your fear of saying ‘NO.’ It’s your right to refuse what you can’t do with convenience.
- Take short breaks in between the work hours and let yourself free for some time.
- Overcome your fear to interact. No matter if you’re working from home or in a corporate setting, communication is essentially significant for career growth.
- Treat yourself every once in a while for being a consistent achiever. (25)
The next time you think, ‘I can’t keep up with my job‘ or ‘I can’t hold the job with my anxiety,’ remember what Albert Einstein once said:
“You only fail when you stop trying!”
As long as you’re trying, you’re carving your way to success. Not many people are blessed to do the same.
Turn your biggest challenge into your strength and make use of the unique traits this anxiety has brought to you.
Meanwhile, practice mindful exercises and talk therapy sessions with your psychotherapist to keep the negative emotions from dragging you down.