I wish there was a hard and fast rule, a quick fix, an easy answer for overcoming personal and professional anxiety. I wish there was a way we could ‘get over’ certain fears or apprehensions, and move forward without anything holding us back. The unfortunate news is that there isn’t—yet, there are many strategies that can help to ease some of the constant pressure and empower us to move forward with level-headed minds.
The first step is to acknowledge what’s holding you back.
What are you afraid of? Is it failure? Is it success? Are you scared to step forward in your career? Are you nervous to talk to your boss about an issue you’re having? If you can first identify the source of your anxiety, it becomes easier to channel in on that doubt and combat it.
Make active steps to improve your mental and physical health.
This might sound like a no-brainer (punny) but in order to attack anxiety, you have to bolster your mind. Assess your sleeping patterns. Are you getting enough rest? Are you sleeping through the night? Are you allowing yourself enough time to wake up and get ready after your alarm?
Then think about your perspective. What does your self-talk look like? What are you focusing on first? Are you negative, or positive? Are you encouraging yourself, or feeling defeated before you even begin?
If your mental health is sound, turn to your physical health. Are you getting exercise? Making sure to stand or move around in intervals throughout the day? Stretching your muscles, burning calories, building stamina in some way?
Then look at your eating habits. What are you fueling your body with? Are you carb-loading, consuming a ton of fatty snacks, binge-eating late at night? Or are you eating foods that will give you natural energy?
Once these factors are assessed, you can begin to give yourself the strongest chance at battling anxiety. In having a well-rested mind, strong physical health, and good fuel, you’ll feel more empowered and confident in facing what’s holding you back.
Consider the distance.
Take a step back and see what you’re worrying over and how present it is in your life right now. Are you worrying over events that haven’t happened yet? Are you feeling anxious over a problem or issue that isn’t yours to take on?
See if there is anything you can take a break from, move away from, or simply put out of your mind until a later date. The distance between you and your problems can often give you a much-needed perspective refresher.
Take on one battle at a time.
There is no possible way to face everything at once. Know this, first and foremost, and then pick one item to face. If you are stressing over getting three projects done, for example, create a list for each of them start with one.
Working on one item at a time will help you to not only feel productive, but reduce your stress.
Create an ‘idea bank.’
This is very effective for anyone facing creative anxiety. Make a running list (that you can continually add to) of topics, ideas, and inspiration for writing (or whatever your creative passion is.) This can help organize you and keep you motivated to create, even when you’re feeling empty.
For someone overwhelmed by the magnitude of things to do, this is an essential resource for you to fall back on when you’re feeling creatively anxious or pressured.
Distract your mind with unconscious productivity.
When you’re feeling anxious, one of the best things to do is to distract your mind with something else. What works for me is to work on prompted writing, or jotting down whatever comes to mind in a guided creative journal. (Side note: This is my absolute favorite journal because all the ideas are already included within! Total productive distractions to give me a creative jolt!)
When you can distract your mind, while still being productive—you actively combat anxiety.
Whether you’re writing in a book, going for a walk, talking to friends, taking a nap, etc. getting your mind off the pressure and into productive release is essential for overcoming stress.
Move. Get up. Walk. Run. Workout. Get your blood pumping in some way so that you’re not sitting there, drowning in anxiousness. Sometimes your body needs a physical break in order to refresh, refocus, and reconquer.
Above all, keep going.
You’ll get through.
**Disclaimer: I am not a health professional; these are tips for overcoming anxiety. If you are facing clinically diagnosed anxiety or in need of serious medical attention, please seek advice from a doctor or healthcare professional.
Featured Image Credit: Annie Spratt