Anxiety is something most people have experienced at some point in their life. Unfortunately, too many people live with it constantly. It can range in intensity from a slight nervousness and muscle tension, to a gripping sensation and nausea in the pit of your stomach and having difficulty taking a deep breath. It can present as an inability to sit still, or just a general feeling of being stressed and overwhelmed. It makes it hard to relax and can actually get worse when we stop. (This is often what unconsciously drives an insatiable need to keep moving and be busy.)
As an entrepreneur, a parent, and/or a spouse, you are constantly making decisions, taking risks and stretching yourself. This comes with its fair share of anxiety. Learning to handle your anxiety is integral because the bigger your business, the bigger the risks and the greater the exposure. If you’re not aware of it and get a handle on it, it will limit your growth and your success.
Anxiety, whatever form it takes, is a symptom of fear. If it is not addressed, it will often present at night in the form of a panic attack or difficulty sleeping. This is because at night when you are tired, your defenses are down. When things are quiet, you have less distractions. In the day it’s easier to distract yourself being busy.
So what do you do when you feel anxious?
First, you want to help your body move into a more calm state. Try the breathing the square technique: picture a square in your mind. (Or draw one on a piece of paper). Breathe in for one section corner to corner then out to the next corner. Continue doing this and make your way around the square, breathing deeply in and out through your nose (or you can breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth).
This is great exercise for helping to calm your system. When you are calm you can think more clearly and creatively and find solutions much more easily!
Next, you want to embrace the fear that is the root of the anxiety. Take a piece of paper and finish this sentence as many times as you can: “What I’m afraid of is….”
As you identify your fears, some of them may seem ridiculous. Most fear is False Evidence Appearing Real and so seem very silly when held up to the bright shining light of awareness, so get them out of your head and on to the paper!
If they do seem to have some merit then sit down and make a plan of action to resolve the issue. This will go a long way in helping to calm your anxiety.
Next time I’ll be addressing some of the other common, but often unconscious, symptoms of fear and some tips for handling them, so stay tuned…