Whether you are an employee or run your own business, you will face situations that need you to put on a brave face. However, when dealing with various stakeholders for professional matters, it is also possible to experience fear and anxiety.
Furthermore, with prevalent cutthroat competition, it is more difficult for businesses to thrive. Entrepreneurs and employees alike, suffer from stress, fear and anxiety, often in silence and isolation.
Overcome Work-Related Fear & Anxiety
Dealing with fear and anxiety requires you to consciously think about these feelings. Along with seeking professional help and support, you can include simple changes in the way you approach circumstances.
The following actionable points can help you take control of your fear and anxiety:
1. Focus on Awareness
Before you begin working on overcoming your fear, you need to be aware that your fear and anxiety are creating a negative impact on your mental health. Be aware of your thoughts when you confront an emotionally challenging situation.
It’s easy to get attached to your thoughts and feelings and in the process, you tend to analyze the probable outcomes of a conflicting situation. Your fear often stems from the imagined consequences that are far from reality. It is the anticipation of the experiences that cause fear in you. Identify the exact fear that you experience. Put a name to that feeling and acknowledge its existence.
Seek professional help from a medical practitioner or life coach to help you get through this stage. You may have to answer some uncomfortable questions asked by them. But if you partake in these exercises, you will get a clear understanding of what you want and what’s inhibiting you from achieving them.
For instance, certain people are afraid of the unknown and the lack of information. If you’re one of them, try to get the information or knowledge that you require to examine a situation based on facts rather than wasting time in speculation.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Fear and anxiety often arise when your mind is at unrest. Mindfulness is one of the most effective practices to calm your mind. Developing mindful awareness will also lead to better retention, improved communication and enhanced ability to relate with others, including your colleagues and customers.
You may often experience your mind getting carried away in thoughts other than your present. This is where mindfulness steps in. Instead of curbing your thoughts from flowing, let them pass and observe them without retaliating. Gradually, resume your focus on your breathing. With regular practice, you can train your mind to return to the present moment.
When thinking about the consequences of a stressful situation or delving deep into memories, you can easily get caught up in old thoughts and the mistakes you’ve made. You need to move on, come to terms with the present and be more focused.
Mindfulness involves focusing on the ‘here and now’. This will help you develop a creative approach and enable solution-oriented planning. With regular practice, you will get less tangled with worries about the future or regrets over the past.
3. Breathe to Control Anxiety
People often suggest deep breathing as a way to help one relax and reduce anxiety. This is because quick and short breaths often trigger anxious symptoms into action, while taking deeper breaths can help control them.
Some common indications of anxiety include nervousness, restlessness, feelings of being in danger, panic or dread, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, increased or heavy sweating, trembling, muscle twitching, weakness, and lethargy.
For deep breathing, you need to breathe from the diaphragm, as that will boost oxygen supply to the brain. By controlling your breathing, you can control the occurrence of other anxiety symptoms. If you knowingly take deep breaths, your body will calm down. You can also follow the 7/11 breathing technique that helps in inhaling ample amount of oxygen, in turn, normalizing your heart rate.
If you start to feel anxious or fearful, follow these four steps:
- Focus on your breath
- Breathe in (count to 7 in your mind)
- Slowly breathe out (count to 11 in your mind)
Consciously following these steps for a minute or two, you’ll feel less anxious and under control of the situation.
4. Practice Relaxation Techniques
You can also try the progressive muscle relaxation exercise. This entails a two-step process wherein you first tense specific muscle groups and then relax them in a systematic manner. This is effective in calming the body’s stress response and helps prevent anxiety attacks.
With regular practice, you will feel completely relaxed and find your anxiety to be under control. Fear and anxiety often lead to tensed muscles, and with muscle relaxation exercises, you will be able to recognize when you are starting to feel anxious.
Additionally, working out regularly can help you enjoy good physical and mental health. In fact, experts believe that exercise helps release anxiety in several ways, including:
- By releasing brain chemicals like endorphins, which are associated with easing depression.
- By controlling the body temperature, which helps people calm down.
- By enhancing your immune system, reducing the chances of depression.
5. Practice Emotional Freedom Technique
This is one of the lesser-known techniques to achieve mental peace. The Emotional Freedom Technique is a psychological acupressure technique that helps to optimize your emotional health. It involves tapping with fingertips and voicing affirmative statements to release the ‘emotional block.’
You can practice it yourself too. Use your fingertips to tap the meridian points on your body, while thinking about the fear you face. The tapping helps balance energy at the meridian points that are disturbed when you experience fear, anxiety or stress. This technique will alleviate the sensation and gradually diminish the fear altogether.
To Sum Up
Behind every fear and anxiety, there lies a need to be reassured of your own safety. As a result, you often get into the flight-and-fight mode. You cannot always rely on your natural instincts to deal with psychologically challenging circumstances.
Consulting a life coach or medical practitioner can help you examine where your fears are stemming from. Preparedness to deal with your fears and anxieties can help you make sound decisions each time, without worrying about suffering unsavory consequences.