Those of us with anxiety often play out a compilation of narratives in which the worst that can happen ultimately does. These thoughts are sometimes triggered by presentations, projects, and challenges at work. Whereas these thoughts may be difficult to work through, it is not impossible. Here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me to overcome anxiety in the workplace.
Own It! I’m nervous. I’m worried. I’m scared. Acknowledge the feelings you have, and do not run from them. By accepting that you are in a vulnerable state and deciding to work through it, you stop yourself from freaking out ABOUT freaking out. Now all you have to do is figure out how to work through these feelings.
Take a Few Deep Breaths. How annoying is it when you are upset or talking faster than you can think and someone says, “Calm down. Take a breath?” Pretty annoying. However when it comes to one of my work panic attacks, taking deep breaths helps me to regain control over my mind and body. Now I can think clearly, and see that I am more than likely making my situation bigger than it is. The only breathing technique that has worked for me is inhaling slowly through my nose, and then exhaling slowly through my mouth. However, there are numerous breathing techniques that may be a better fit for you. Try researching a few, and practicing them at a time when you don’t feel anxiety so you are equipped with techniques when you really need them.
Get Physical. If you have a few minutes before that meeting or even better a meal time before the big presentation you are dreading, get up and stretch or walk. Just get moving! It’s hard to focus on what “could” happen, when you are present in the moment. Physical activity forces your mind to pay attention to something else. And a little exercise never hurts.
Go Outside. If you can get some physical activity in outside, even better! Nature always calms me down and helps me to wheel in all of those mind-racing thoughts in. Even if you only have five minutes, I highly recommend getting some fresh air. Connecting with nature helps me to acknowledge my life’s purpose and not to sweat the small stuff.
Negate Negative Thoughts With Positive Thoughts. Through years of practice, I am finally getting good at pointing out self-depreciating thoughts and negating them with positive and true affirmations. As soon as “You can’t do that” pops in my head, I negate it with “Why not me? I am more than capable.” Or, more often than not, I’ll turn to a Bible verse: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Now these are just some of the ways that I make it through my trying times at work. I know how it feels to constantly feel like it’s the end of the world when partaking on a new career journey, leading a project, giving a presentation and other various experiences that come along with pursuing successful careers. Although these tips work for me (most of the time), they may not work for you, but the only way you can be defeated is if you quit. Research tips for overcoming anxiety, read inspirational books, and if it feels like more than you can handle, don’t go it alone. Seek attention from a mental health professional. Whatever steps you take, do not give up on yourself. There is purpose for your life, and you can have your career and life dreams, as long as you don’t let fear stop you.