Most of us experience anxiety from time to time. It’s totally natural, and in some contexts, it can actually be a benefit – equipping us with more focus and energy we can use to resolve whatever issues ail us.
But for some of us, anxiety is a crippling problem. If anxiety is taking over your thoughts and dictating your behaviors, you won’t be able to lead your business effectively.
So, what should you do?
Anxiety Management Options (High-Level)
From a high level, there are only a handful of broad ways for you to manage your anxiety. These include:
- Self-management. You can practice anxiety management on your own, using commonly known techniques. In the moment, these strategies can help you calm down from a particularly anxiety-inducing event. In the broader context, daily repetition of these management strategies can help you reduce the anxiety you feel and act more decisively in the face of your anxiety. That said, these management strategies have their limitations, and if you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, they may not be enough to help you.
- Online therapy. Anxiety therapy is an option for anyone struggling with anxiety – and it’s even more valuable for people who don’t see results from self-management strategies. Whether you see a therapist in person or online, your dedicated psychological professional can help you better understand the root causes of your anxiety and provide you with a disorder diagnosis, if appropriate. Your therapist can also recommend new anxiety management strategies, provide you with active psychotherapy, and may be able to prescribe you medication or connect you to a resource who can.
- Medication. Millions of people who suffer from regular anxiety can actively manage it successfully without the use of dedicated medication. However, for some people, prescription medication may be a practical necessity.
Anxiety Management Strategies
These are some of the best anxiety management strategies that help leaders effectively manage teams and run organizations.
- Root cause analysis. A simple root cause analysis can help you identify the true root causes of your anxiety. Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders experience anxiety even with no prompt; but for most of us, anxiety is a byproduct of certain environments or circumstances. For example, you may experience heightened anxiety before giving a public speech or during weeks when you know you have to work long hours. If you’re able to identify the source of your anxiety, you may be able to more effectively manage it; what is the reasoning for your fear or apprehension? Is it possible to eliminate this anxiety source altogether?
- Physical exercise. One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is by physically exercising – and it provides you with a host of other health benefits as well. Make time to exercise every day, even if you’re just briskly walking around the block. The superior blood circulation and rush of endorphins can help you stay anxiety-free for the rest of the day.
- Substance abuse elimination. Many people turn to substances to help them cope with anxiety, such as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. But almost invariably, these substances make matters worse. You’re much better off avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and even caffeine if you’re trying to manage your anxiety.
- Healthy eating habits. Healthier eating habits can also make you feel less anxious, especially if you practice them consistently. Make sure you drink plenty of water every day and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to avoid junk food and overeating, both of which can make your anxiety and stress levels spike.
- Relaxation and sleep. Anxiety is tied to stress, so it’s not surprising to learn that when people overwork themselves, they tend to experience more anxiety. You can fight back against this by deliberately scheduling more opportunities for relaxation and sleep. Try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, take small breaks throughout the day, and take occasional vacations from work.
- Mental exercises and meditation. For many people, mental exercises are an indispensable tool for managing anxiety. Deep breathing and meditation can help clear your mind of invasive thoughts and allow you to focus on the present moment. And simple tricks like counting or observing sensory experiences can help you center yourself.
One Day at a Time
No matter how you choose to tackle your anxiety problem, it’s important to zoom out and take things one day at a time. Nobody can completely eliminate their anxiety, nor should they; anxiety serves a useful purpose for the human mind.
Instead, it’s your job to manage your anxiety on a day-to-day basis, getting through each day individually, and occasionally, each event throughout the day individually. With these strategies and the benefit of online therapy, you can improve your confidence and your position as a leader.
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