Even the most confident executive can have a panic or anxiety attack.
Take my word on it. I’ve been there.
Yesterday my beloved well-maintained and regularly serviced laptop’s screen started to show a weird shade of blue with images in pink.
It brought back memories of the time I was working on a quarterly report for a listed audit client and we had a deadline of 8 pm to get the documents across to the client’s Company Secretary so he could do his work and file the documents with the Securities & Exchange Bureau of India.
The team was hard at work when the unthinkable happened.
A piping hot mug of coffee spilled on my laptop and all over my dress. My team was worried that I was scalded while I was worried that our key document was lost. The computer screen had gone a frightening shade of black.
It was an anxiety-ridden moment and it felt like a lifetime while we waited for our IT technician to come and save us.
Then I started giggling which horrified my team. The truth is, it was a reaction to somehow ease the anxiety that was building up inside of me and I was not going to cry in front of the group of young professionals who were equally close to tears.
It didn’t matter who had spilled the coffee or that I had coffee stains on my outfit. What mattered was somehow saving the situation. Our cool as a cucumber IT technician turned out to be the hero of the day.
His key concern was to check if the hard drive was safe and while I went to clean up, he used an industrial strength blow dryer on the laptop. I later learned that he had seen these mishaps before. We hadn’t.
About 30 minutes later, we were able to retrieve the hard drive which was installed in a substitute laptop and work continued. We actually got our report in a full hour before our agreed deadline.
So when I saw the screen go weird yesterday, I knew this could be handled. I called out to Archangel Michael for support and immediately called my computer guy who told me to observe the computer and to start taking backups of all my important files as a security measure.
As of this morning, my laptop is okay although I’m still monitoring it. Backups are in place and I even got a spot of digital de-cluttering done.
Both times, it was situational anxiety where the odds meant I didn’t have control over the situation. I only had control over myself.
I’ve learned a lot about anxiety since and in this post, I’m sharing my understanding and 9 tactics to build resilience to anxiety and to cope with those unforeseen mishaps.
How to take charge when anxiety raises its head
Anxiety is the feeling of fear or apprehension that is intense enough to disrupt one’s daily activities. It hits anyone at any point in their lives, regardless of age and gender.
If you suffer from anxiety and let anxiety overcome you, you are effectively handing over a permission slip to stress and unhappiness to overrule you, by being paralyzed by anxiety.
You need to learn how to overcome it or at least reduce its effects. Here are a few tactics to help you conquer anxiety.
You can try one, some or all. The choice is yours based on what works for you.
Be the master of your thoughts
Inability to control your thinking strengthens your tendency for anxiety. Anxiety gains momentum when you entertain negative thoughts.
Try this self-coaching exercise that involves relaxation and affirmations to improve your self-belief is by retraining your thought processes, whether conscious or sub-conscious.
Practice self-discipline and control over your feelings
Anxiety is like taking a ride on a roller coaster. Once you start entertaining negative thoughts and fears, they become a mantra that keeps perpetuating itself. The best thing to do is to cut them off right then and there. Distract yourself, divert your thoughts, or go talk to someone and have him or her correct your fears.
If you need help with these 2 tactics, I invite you to check out Do You Dare to take the 7 Day Positivity Challenge? where I show you how to go on a positive thought mental diet.
Trust your Inner Self
In today’s modern age, it is quite normal to think of oneself in terms of how others see us or what our ego dictates to the complete exclusion of our inner self and the intuitive faculty that we all possess.
Begin to trust your inner self and renew your connection with it. It might be scary at first but be persistent and keep testing the strength of your connection.
The best way is to observe how you feel when you make the connection and the resulting choices. Keep a diary to understand how your inner self communicates with you.
Always think of the glass as being half-full. To think it is half-empty will only result in a never-ending cycle of negative thinking. Thoughts give birth to thoughts, and what you fill your mind with will spill over into reality.
Our mental mantras become self-fulfilling prophecies. When we allow thoughts to perpetuate in our minds, they burst forth into reality as, as was said, self-fulfilling prophecies.
The key is not to go “I won’t think negatively. I won’t think negatively.” Rather, you should force yourself to fixate on positive thoughts.
Write a list of the things you want to be and the things you want to happen in your life, enough that you could say every single morning within 3 minutes, to yourself.
Then every morning, when you wake up or before you leave for work or school, say your affirmations to yourself.
Example: “I am competent, articulate, and I will succeed in (what you need to achieve during the day) today!” Then throughout the day, when you catch yourself worrying, stop in your tracks, and force yourself to enumerate 5 things you are thankful for today. Repeat as needed.
Keep yourself busy and on the go
Never allow yourself to have idle moments.
The moment you get up from bed, keep yourself busy right away and keep moving throughout the day. Volunteer to clean the house for the day or tell somebody that you will do the dishes for dinner. You can also read books or magazines, engage in exercise, or meditate; to keep yourself from worrying/anxiety.
Being idle will not solve your problems and the moments when your mind isn’t busy doing something worthwhile will only invite more anxiety.
Work out a plan and try to accomplish it
Whether it’s how to improve yourself or a plan to solve the very problem that is causing your anxieties, doing this exercise would let you see that you can do something about your situation. This would also help you realize that you have control over yourself. Increasing control over your own life leads you to feel less anxious, because anxiety is an issue of control: the lack of it.
Consult someone that can be trusted
Sharing your worries with another person lightens the worries and puts them in the proper perspective. The premise is that you talk with the aim to lessen your anxiety. Many times when we are in the throes of a crisis, we find our objectivity impaired. At such times, a trusted confidant can provide that much needed grounding and objectivity.
Take a dose of laughter – its the best medicine
Laughter can ease your burdens. Be in the company of amusing friends or indulge in activities that can put laughter in your life, like watching The Pink Panther cartoon.
Practice breathing exercises when anxiety to mitigate anxiety
Taking deep breaths fills our lungs with much needed oxygen which also helps to relax the muscles. Try to build breathing exercises into your morning exercise routine and repeat during the day when you feel anxiety creeping up on you. Alternate nostril breathing is suggested.
Resource: Breathe and meditate to manage stress
Unless there is an extreme case of problems requiring medical intervention or professional help, anxiety is manageable, if you know how to get around it.
Have you ever faced a situation where your otherwise confident self was derailed by an event that set off an anxiety attack? How did you cope?
Please share your insights in the comments box below. You never know who needs to read it right now.
Want to take your self-improvement journey further? Click here for Karmic Ally Coaching’s Self-Improvement Strategies Workbook
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