Anxiety is a term used on a regular basis these days, but quite often in the wrong context. People are usually aware of when might be appropriate to use this word, but few truly understand what anxiety is and therefore use it to describe their current state when they are actually feeling something completely unrelated.
It is therefore important to understand exactly what anxiety is before we can take the steps to overcome it.
Definition of Anxiety
MedicalNewsToday defines anxiety as “nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying.” While this sounds relatively vague, it is the effect that these feelings have on the human body, and more specifically, your mind that we need to consider. According to research, anxiety can play tricks on your mind by making you feel as though you have no control over the situation and there is nothing you can do to prevent the worst case scenario. This then causes the mind to work overtime trying to rationalise the situation to no avail. The physical side of it refers to sweating, shaking, the pit feeling you get in your stomach and even the feeling as though you need to use the bathroom immediately.
Anxiety in the workplace
As you can imagine, anxiety at work can be a real obstacle to overcome. If you allow it, anxiety can rule your life and prevent you from succeeding in achieving your goals. Oftentimes, people feel anxious when starting a new job, meeting a new client for the first time, before giving a speech, going into an appraisal meeting or when being lectured by a superior. For most people, it is manageable and lasts only a few minutes before they realise the situation is not as bad as they perceived. But for others, the fear and sheer worry consumes them and takes over their logical reasoning. As such, it is vital that we know how to overcome anxiety.
Follow these 5 steps below to beat anxiety once and for all…
#1 Worried? Keep it up!
Yes. This sounds crazy, but in fact, if you are worried about a particular thing i.e. getting in a car, then practise being a passenger in a car and driving it until you no longer have that fear. If your work involves a long commute and driving is the only answer, you need to force yourself to rationalise the situation and drive your car as many times as you can until your initial worry become extinct.
#2 Be Aware of False Alarms
You may be sitting at your desk and all of a sudden you panic that you haven’t locked your front door, or that you left the oven on. You begin to worry and let these negative thoughts consume you. You need to recognise when you are having anxiety for no real reason. This ‘false alarm’ anxiety is one of the worst kinds because it comes out of nowhere and it truly is your mind playing tricks on you. Be sure to rationalise the situation, tell yourself that you did turn off the oven and lock the house door and retrace your steps carefully in your head until you are comfortable.
Self-talking is a practise that experts have found to work surprisingly well in stressful situations. This does not mean talking to yourself in first person, though, it means talking to yourself in third person to provide a sense of calmness and logical reasoning to the situation. As soon as you feel your heart racing and hands sweating, tell yourself “Alan (or whatever your name may be), you are fine. There is nothing to be nervous about and you are in full control of this situation. Take a deep breath and think rationally.”
While this may be difficult to do if you are experiencing anxiety at work, it is a practise you can do at home in the morning before work, during your lunch hour and on weekends to help train your mind and body to experience inner peace, even in stressful situations. Meditation helps to de-stress you whilst also clearing your body and mind of toxins. Meditation is proven to help people overcome anxiety.
#5 Herbal Remedies
Whilst there are over the counter supplements and pills that can be taken to help overcome anxiety, I have listed only the most natural and easily accessible options for anxiety sufferers to try out. This brings me to my final tip: herbal remedies. Teas such as Chamomile tea can work wonders when you are feeling stressed or nervous, and green tea helps to lower a rising heart rate (often a side effect of anxiety). Lemon balm is another herbal remedy proven to keep users more calm yet alert in stressful situations.
If these tips are not curbing your anxiety at all (remember to give it time, after all you are re-training how your brain thinks about certain situations!), then you may have to seek professional help. You can visit a therapist who specialises in anxiety disorders or even visit a doctor and to get prescribed over the counter pills.