Anxiety daily routine / 2
How to deal with it
I survived my second speech, as you may have guessed.
In the previous article, I described how does it feel live daily with anxiety. If you’re still here probably it’s because you experimented anxiety too, and you want to know if is possible to deal with it and how.
In this article I’m trying to share some techniques to manage anxiety, let’s see them together, with more daily routine of anxiety gently provided by an incredible anxious me!
Imagine: the business developer calls us and says “Next month the Super-Big-And-Scary-Client-We-Cannot-Lose will come to our office to discuss our new proposal, I need your help to close the deal, don’t disappoint me!”.
There are different ways to defeat bad anxiety: we need to train ourselves for about 3 weeks to manage it and here I explain some techniques. Plus, we can do some quick trick before the anxious moment and even some hacks runtime. Let’s see the group of long-term techniques first:
Set a SMART goal
When we need to do something is useful set a goal with this characteristics:
- Specific, not ambiguous, clear and accurate;
- Measurable. We need to check time by time if we’re doing good or if we need to change something in order to reach our objective;
- Achievable or attainable. Set a goal which is too high to obtain is demotivating, set a goal ridiculously low will affect the next characteristic;
- Relevant, important for us, something we really want to obtain;
- Time-bound, defined in time, with a start and end date.
Manage your time
To reach our goals is important to learn how to manage our time. One thing to do, and it’s not easy as it seems, is lean to say no.
There are a lot of things we do that are not important for us, nor urgent. The Eisenhower matrix come in help to let us determine which task are urgent (just do it) and important (schedule it), which ones are urgent for someone else (delegate) and which one may seem important but are in fact are not. That’s the group of activities we need to stop doing in order to get the others done.
Create a personal Database of Happiness
Our brain is amazing but has a weak spot useful for our mission. In fact, it doesn’t understand the difference between a real memory or a lie we made up to it.
In the same way, it starts the negative thinking process, we can start a positive one by imagining successful moments, satisfaction feelings and good emotions.
For example, if we have to meet a customer, we can imagine the moment when he smiles at our proposals, the moment when he signed the contract, the moment when our chief congratulates to us for the great job we have done, the feeling of satisfaction while exiting out the meeting room.
Our brain, as I said before, couldn’t understand that’s are fake memories, and will store them as real. Doing this every day, making up future success memories, will create the “database of happiness”.
I will show you how to use it, just keep reading.
Find your secret gesture
Find a gesture that’s discreet and easy to make. The common suggestion is to join the thumb with middle finger, like holding a fidget spinner:
Doing this gesture while thinking of good memories allows your brain to connect them, creating a bond which is really useful for our mission.
Again, I will show how to use it, I promise.
Fast forward: today is the day, in 10 minutes the Super-Big-And-Scary-Client-We-Cannot-Lose will be here, my hands are sweaty, my neck is stuck but my knees are made out of jelly… I’M PANICKING! What now?
Now is the time for the quick tricks I mentioned before! Let’s see them.
The coachman pose can be made while sitting. Legs not crossed, arms neither, hands on knees. Eyes closed. Take a breath in 3 seconds, old it for another 3 and then release the air in 3 seconds. Repeat it for at least 5 minutes.
Control breathing is a great way to relax our body, and also our mind will be clearer.
Power posing is a technique that I personally recommend to do in empty room or even better in a toilet (have a little faith in me).
It consists in posing like a superhero: Superman or Wonder Woman, Obama, Frank Underwood from House of Cards, Beyonce…
Holding the pose for 2 minutes help increase testosterone and cognitive functions, and decrease cortisol, one of the hormones causing depression.
SELECT * FROM happiness;
Use the database of happiness. Take 5 minutes to retrieve all the good memories meticulously created and embrace the nice feelings.
DON’T CALM DOWN
How many times we hear the words “Take it easy, calm down and everything will be fine”. And you immediately think “IF I COULD CALM DOWN I WILL DO IT YOU A##§O£€!”.
Well, I’m here to say yes, don’t calm down! Let the anxiety the control of our body, let it grow and expand… It’s an actual method to let anxiety disappear, take some time to experience it at maximum power so it naturally exhausts its strength and goes away.
Now: after hours of meeting is our turn to impress the Super-Big-And-Scary-Client-We-Cannot-Lose: the business developer is looking at us, waiting for our words to conquer the client’s heart and close the contract… but we can’t talk, our throat is knotted by a professional marine. Plus, we’re sweating and feeling uncomfortable… we know what the quickest escape route is, but running away from the meeting equals being fired! What can we do to combat that feeling? How can we deal with it now?
As I promised, here are some runtime hacks.
Use your secret gesture
Remember the discreet gesture I told you to find? That’s the time to use it. The more natural it seems, the easier will be doing it in front of other people. while talking or listening to the customer/mother in law/HR specialist during the job interview. You could do it with your hand in pocket or with the arms behind the back.
Doing the gesture will bring back the memories from the happiness’ database, empowering us with the good feelings associated.
Breathing is essential (if we want to live). Control the breathing is important.
Holding a hand on our stomach will help us regulate the rhythm of breathing, slowing it to feel less anxious. That’s commonly known as the Napoleon pose.
These are just fews tips to help you (and me) manage anxiety. I still exercise to improve my control on it, and I’ll be delighted to know about your techniques and experiences.
The ones who are experiencing anxiety every day spend a lot of time thinking about imminent disastrous future, paralyzed by overwhelming feelings. Taking a Pomodoro each day to learn how to manage stress and anxiety is not a waste of time.
This article addresses serious and delicate arguments. Severe anxiety could lead to panic attacks and/or depression.
If you’re experiencing high anxiety level, panic attacks or depression don’t be ashamed of asking for help.