(Beating Workplace Anxiety – Part II)
Anxiety can affect your work productivity and damage relationships with your co-workers. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with anxiety so that you can reduce or even eliminate the effect it has on your life and your career.
* Breathe - Take a deeeeeep breath
Anxiety sabotages your ability to breath deep, instead encouraging fast shallow breathing. “If we are breathing very shallowly, we are going to feel anxious,” says Dr. Katherine Falk, an integrative psychiatrist in New York City. “If we begin to breathe from the belly, that will calm our mind." Simple breathing techniques can assist in bringing awareness to your inhalations and exhalations. Once you master the art of deep breathing, this powerful tool can be used anywhere you feel the need to relax - at your desk, in a meeting, on your commute, or grocery shopping with the family.
* Practice time management
Easier said than done? Yes. Worth the effort? Definitely. In our super-fast paced, hurry-up world, it seems there’s never enough hours in the day. Often we manufacture our personal stress by consistently attempting to squeeze in more things than can be reasonably accomplished in a particular span of time. Why do we do that? Pushed by everyone from boss, spouse, friends, family, and society to do and be more, we take the “I think I can” little-train-that-could motto a bit too far. The key is to:
* Take a break
- Learn to say “NO.”
- Prioritize tasks.
- Schedule enough time to complete each task or project.
Time off is critical to the rejuvenation of both body and mind. Breaks throughout the day including a mandatory lunch break will make you more productive and less vulnerable to mounting stress.
Extended time off in the form of a vacation is one of the best ways to rejuvenate a weary body and mind. The world will not end if you take a week off. Promise.
* Focus on healthy habits
Of course, no list would be complete without a mention of healthy vs. non-healthy habits. But don’t let the commonness of this advice lessen its importance in your mind.
Healthy food choices. Regular exercise. Getting enough sleep. Which of these important stress/anxiety fighting tools do you struggle with most? Tackle that one first. Remember that unhealthy habits seem to catch on in days - hours even - while healthy habits take time to become a part of your routine. Maintain reasonable expectations and allow yourself permission to mess up, but resist the urge to give up seeking the benefits of healthier eating, sleeping and exercise habits.
* Avoid people and situations that stress you out
I hear the chuckling and see the head shaking. But seriously, think about who and what it is that gets under your skin and raises the roof on your blood pressure. Maybe it’s the evening news. If so, skip it. If traffic’s a bear on the shortest route home, spend a few extra minutes on a more scenic route and enjoy the drive more.
While the list of people who cause you stress may be long and impossible to remove entirely from your life, a little ingenuity will likely limit the number of times your paths cross. If it’s within your means to end a particular relationship, do so.
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