Anxiety can creep up the thermometer quickly and throw us into an emotional spiral of fear or uncertainty. Anxiety can paralyze our ability to think and make decisions, especially during trying times like these. A hamster wheel of rumination can start spinning inside of our heads. It distracts us from being able to lead effectively, make important decisions, and be the example our staff members need.
There are several techniques that you can quickly use to reduce the anxiety and get you back on track! Here are some ideas for you to try. Give them a chance and see what works for you. Here is another resource that just came in from The Chopra Center: “6 Ways to Reduce Anxiety and Make a Paradigm Shift.”
Acknowledge What You Are Feeling
Increasing awareness, acknowledging what you are feeling and talking about it out loud with a trusted friend, colleague, or coach can release pressure immediately. Those of you who have had coaching most likely have experienced relief simply from verbalizing what is bothering you. Something magical occurs for us as humans, when we verbalize, out loud, what is bothering us. It truly helps for our own mind to hear, in our own voice what is concerning us and often lowers the stress around the issue immediately! Talk it out! Many times, when I invite a client to share what they are experiencing or feeling, after they have verbalized, they say “Now that I am talking about this out loud, I am realizing it is not as big an issue.”
There is so much research and neuroscience backing up the mental and emotional release that occurs when we journal. It can be something as simple as writing down a few words or thoughts that are bothering you. Getting those thoughts out our of our head and onto paper prevents those thoughts from tumbling around inside our heads, where they often grow and get bigger! Holding these thoughts inside our head, often Increases our emotional and mental anxiety. Get it out of your head by writing it out!
Practice mindfulness, taking a moment to simply close your eyes and breathe, pay attention to you breath, close out the rest of the world and go inward to find peace in your breath. 5-10 focused breaths can change the way you feel, think and respond. Breathe it out!
Physical & Emotional Safety
Physical safety is on the top of our minds these days, not just for ourselves, but also for our loved ones who may be at higher risk. Don’t let novel coronavirus creep into your mind. A virus of the mind can be much more damaging and create increased stress, which also lowers the strength of our immune system. In addition, many can be concerned about financial safety as well. Here is a You Tube video I recently made with friend and LCSW, Theresa London. If you feel your anxiety reeling out of control, try this amazing EFT technique, called tapping.
Limit TV and News Time
During times like this we can become obsessed with watching or listening or researching on the internet for the latest information, increasing our anxiety levels. Limit yourself, pick a few reliable sources and limit your time. My husband and I limit our time to 20 minutes a day. In addition, I listen to one podcast about COVID-19 per day to stay educated. Filter it out!
Listen to your favorite music. There are so many musicians playing their music for free and they are uplifting and positive. Try to listen to upbeat music that uplifts your spirit. There is music designed for stress release; here is a link to what I listen to in the background while I am working. By the way, this link has had more than twenty million hits! There is a lot of research around music and the how different frequencies impact us in unique ways. This link is to 852HZ, which allows us to let go of fear, ruminating thoughts and anxiety.
Again, there’s lots of research and scientific evidence about practicing gratitude. In a moment of high stress or anxiety, stop, take a breath, and ask yourself “what am I grateful for in this moment?” This will bring you back to the present moment, which is really all we are in control of at any given time. Practicing Gratitude creates an opportunity to stay in the present moment and lowers anxiety.
As a leader, it is more important than ever right now to remain centered and calm and be the example for your staff members. Share this with your staff members and invite them to challenge each other to dial down the anxiety and stay in the present moment. The Present Moment is where we have control and can make choices. Practice being present. Practice the courage of being the example of a great leader. Now is the time for leaders to shine.