3 tools to help limit or stop your anxiety
Wednesday, January 08, 2020
If you’ve been feeling anxious this last year, you are not alone. An article in Time magazine stated that 40% of Americans are more anxious than a year ago. While the generation most affected are millennials, anxiety is found in every demographic group.
In the last two weeks, six people have told me they were feeling consumed by anxiety. All six are from different backgrounds, ages, genders, etc. One just retired from the federal government, and the other five consist of a CEO of a tech company, a recent college graduate, a human resources executive, an hourly employee and a diversity and inclusion consultant.
According to a poll by the American Psychiatric Association the most common sources of anxiety are concerns about finances, health and safety, and not knowing what the future holds for them.
If you are or have ever felt really anxious, you know how uncomfortable it is and how it can affect every aspect of your personal and work life. People say it’s harder to make decisions, participate in activities they enjoy or share ideas at work when they feel anxious.
Sometimes anxiety is situational and specific; other times it’s free-floating and can even run in families.
I know how debilitating anxiety can be. I’ve experienced the discomfort of anxiety at different times in my life. Even now, I’ve found myself feeling anxious about the future, making the right decisions about business and where I want to live.
After getting help for extreme anxiety years ago, and learning how common it was, I decided I wanted to help other people. I got trained as a stress management consultant and began working with leaders in organizations to manage their stress and anxieties and support their employees.
To this day, I continue to use the techniques I learned and have taught others. I’m sharing three of them below with you.
1. You find yourself worrying about this new year and focusing on what didn’t work last year.
Solution: Make a list of your accomplishments from the last 12 months. As you do that, you’ll begin to get a sense of inner power that will make you feel stronger, less fearful, and more confident that you will continue your success. Keep the list where you can see it and revisit it frequently.
Read them several times, and you’ll be able to list your intentions for 2020 and the actions you plan to take with more confidence and clarity.
2. Difficulty focusing on the present because you are so anxious about the future and the “unknown.” It becomes hard to think about your next steps or take action.
Solution: Take a time out and practice deep breathing for at least five minutes. This will help clear your mind and push out the worries and “future-tripping.”
Once you quiet your mind it will be easier to think and do your next steps. Even better would be to learn to meditate. You’ll be amazed at what a few minutes can do to your thinking and the sense of calm you can achieve.
3. Fortune telling or future predicting. You just know that something terrible is going to happen, your whole life will fall apart, you’ll lose your job, your home, your reputation, etc.
Solution: Take out a piece of paper if possible and list:
- Your fears of what may happen (your imagination is working hard for create doom).
- Why you think the worst? What’s the evidence? (There is none.)
- What you really know for sure at this moment. Remind yourself that the scenario you fear is not happening but is a product of FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real).
- Change the scenario from the worst to great possibilities. This will enable you to let go of that fear and anxiety and focus on being calm in the moment.
These are just three techniques. There are many more, but these can help right away. If anxiety continues, it’s always a good idea to get outside help.
Why suffer when you can get the right help? We are most anxious when we feel like we are alone, that no one is there with us and that it’s just up to us by ourselves. Be we can change that.
Make 2020 the year you connect with others, talk to friends who don’t judge but support you, and be part of a community greater than yourself that gives you the security and stability you need for success.
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