Fast Company’s Eating the Frog Won’t Boost Productivity article illustrates why it is smart to deal with an anxiety instead of overriding it. We tend to solve unpleasant problems with sensible behavior, not with tactics to pave over them. The first order of business is for us to understand what anxiety is, so that we can face it appropriately.
Anxiety, as if you really needed to worry about its definition, is undue, excessive concern about an event or outcome that you can’t control. You want to be pro-active so that things will end up as you wish them to. That’s normal. What’s abnormal is having panic attacks, tics, or forced behavior (e.g., rituals, crude language, gastric upsets, a loss of your voice) when you feel anxious. Let’s calm down with a quick look at the issue from A to Z.
These Tips from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA will help you tame your worry:
• Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
• Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
• Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
• Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
• Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
• Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
• Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
• Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get.
• Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
• Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
• Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
• Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
• Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
• Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
Banish tension with supportive beliefs that life isn’t as dire as your imagination makes it out to be. Legend has it that director Alfred Hitchcock once responded to actress Ingrid Bergman’s remark that “I don’t think I can give you that kind of emotion” with the advice, “Ingrid, fake it!” That’s what all of us need to do when we must forge past a fear holding us back from making progress.
Dream. Go to sleep with the goal of imagining the solution to some problem or other. You just might figure out what to do as you sleep.
Game on! Turn the goal into a game. Figure out how someone could win at what you want to do, then mimic the actions and mindsets that your fictional character had. Gather points as you make incremental gains into achieving the goal.
Hug yourself with a snack or entertainment distraction that takes your mind off the problem. Your brain will process unconscious thoughts while you relax instead of shutting down with worry. Helpful ideas can develop more easily that way.
Read. Books and magazines about how to do this or that fill store and library shelves. Not everything is on the worldwide web. Dead tree editions are known to soothe people who hold them, too. Study them to learn how to achieve your goal, and how to lower or end your anxiety.
Zap anxiety with laughter. It eases tension while validating it. Laughter can go a long way to empowering people to deal with just about anything, instead of dreading it.