Tips to Lessen Anxiety

March 1, 2005
You may not always be able to do much about a stressful situation, but there are some things you can do to lessen or avoid the unpleasant symptoms

The anxiety I am talking about is that suffered by everyday workers, going about their business in a state of stress and discomfort, worrying excessively about events or activities or circumstances that may, or may not, even happen. Potential causes of work-related anxiety include being overworked, working longer hours, lack of clear instructions from employers, new management techniques, performance related benefits/pay increases, fear of losing your job/redundancies, and/or harassment or bullying in the workplace.

If a stressful situation is prolonged, the more likely you are to become anxious about it, especially if you feel powerless to do anything about it. You may not always be able to do much about it, but there are some things you can do to lessen or avoid the unpleasant symptoms!

  • At work, when you're feeling overwhelmed, go somewhere quiet and take six deep breaths - breathe in deeply, filling your lungs with air, and breathe out slowly.
  • Consider the consequences of whatever you do, and don't do anything that might lead you to tell a lie about it afterwards or indulge in any other kind of cover-up.
  • Don't rely on memory - write it down. An Old Chinese proverb says, "The palest ink is better than the most retentive memory."
  • Don't stress or rush - take the time to ask directions or get clear instructions.
  • Know the difference between "needs" and "preferences" and don't get too hung up with "preferences".
  • Take up meditation or Yoga or some other form of relaxation program - make it a part of your life and find time to practice at least one relaxation technique every day.
  • Learn to say no!
  • Don't fool yourself into thinking you are "weak" - watch your "self-talk" - keep it upbeat and positive.
  • Make a list of the things that worry you or cause you stress. Look at each item realistically - list the real or imagined outcomes you associate with each item. Study them carefully - what, if anything, can you do about any of the things you've noted. Check back to your list each week and note any changes you feel regarding each item. Many times, writing it down helps and produces clarity. You will soon be able to discern which fears are foundless, and for the other fears, you will be able to brainstorm ideas that will allow you to tame them, if not conquer them.
  • Don't be scared to speak up if there are situations at work that are causing you sleepless nights. You could keep going, trying to tolerate it, but this will merely add to the pressures on you and increase the stress you are already enduring, and before you know it, you are in anxiety mode. Choose somebody in a position to help you and with whom you feel confident to share your concerns, and express yourself clearly and calmly.

Remember, what we focus on is what we attract into our reality. So concentrate your focus on the things you do want in your life, rather than the things you don't want. "Positive thinking" is not merely a catchphrase. You deserve an extraordinary life, but it is up to you to achieve it.

Written by Terri Levine, MCC, PCC, MS, CCC-SLP is the President of Comprehensive Coaching U - The Professionals' Coach Training Program, a popular Master Certified personal and business Coach, sought after Public Speaker, and Author of bestseller, "Work Yourself Happy" & "Coaching for an Extraordinary Life". She can be contacted via the website or by telephone: 215-699-4949.