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7 Ways to Deal with Anxiety and Boost Performance

  •  Posted on May 15, 2023  by  | No Comments

Guest Blog by Clare Davis (for Euro London)

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week from 15th to 21st May and the theme is ‘Anxiety’. Most of us do feel anxious at times at work due to our busy workloads which may include deadlines to meet, presentations to give, and a long To-Do List.

There is a positive side to feeling anxious because anxiety is a natural reaction when we are under pressure and overwhelmed. Our adrenaline kicks in to help us achieve the tasks efficiently.

On the other hand, we don’t want the feeling of anxiety to become negative, where we are not productive because anxiety takes over our thoughts. This may feel like a nagging feeling of worry and unease that creeps up on you.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is worrying about events that may occur in the future. It’s something that everyone feels at some point in their lives, especially when under pressure. It can take many different forms, from general feelings of stress and overwhelm, to more specific fears such as performance anxiety.

Anxiety can be mild, such as feeling nervous about a client meeting, or severe and crippling, making it difficult to do everyday tasks. Our brain can go into fight, flight, or freeze mode, causing us to react emotionally and be unable to cope when we would normally cope very well. In my Mental Health Chats YouTube interview with Tricia Maitland, she goes into great detail about ‘What Anxiety Feels Like’ and how our brain reacts when feeling anxious.

We should aim to train our brains to be more positive and relaxed in overwhelming situations at work. You could start doing exercises to help yourself be more productive and manage the overwhelm. 

Here are 7 ways that can help you deal with anxiety when it strikes:

  1. Stop and breathe.
    Deep breathing can help reduce anxiety by slowing down your heart rate and relaxing your muscles. Fenella Hemus talks us through a breathing exercise for anxiety on the Mental Health Chats YouTube and Podcast series on anxiety. There are many breathing exercises you can practice every day to help you stay focused and grounded.
  2. Communicate with colleagues.
    Talking to others can help you feel more connected and supported. Consider having lunch with a colleague or reaching out for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Do not feel ashamed that you are feeling anxious. Explain how you feel and tell them you need support. Just confiding in someone can help you change your mindset.
  3. Focus on the solution, not the problem.
    Psychologists, Grant and O’Connor from the University of Sydney looked into the difference in outcomes when we focus on the problem compared to the solution. When we are feeling anxious, we tend to get fixated on the problem. By changing our mindset to find solutions, we are more likely to get positive outcomes quicker and more efficiently.
  4. Take a break and change the scene.
    When we are in a state of overwhelm, it can be helpful to take a break and change the scene to give your mind a rest. This will help us reframe our thoughts and perceptions about the situation, calming down our minds to tackle the situation more positively.
  5. Stop and focus exercise.
    In order to significantly improve how to deal with anxiety, you may do a focus exercise to calm your body and compose your mind to think clearly. You may like to use of my 21-Day High-Intensity Neural Training (HINT) Programme when you are in a state of burden.
  6. Reassess the situation.
    So often when we are anxious, we become stuck, only thinking from one perspective. If we look at the situation from a different angle, we can often find another solution that could work. If you think about situations in new ways, changing your mindset, you will improve your coping skills to overcome anxiety in the long term.
  7. Use positive self-talk.
    Negative self-talk can contribute to anxiety. Instead, try using positive affirmations to boost your confidence and reduce stress. You may say something to yourself as simple as “I can do this” or “I am confident and know how to find a solution.”

Regardless of what strategies you use to deal with anxiety, it is essential that you get bring emotional fitness into your life every day. Emotional fitness exercises can be done on a daily basis. Here is the link to my activity book, Emotional Fitness: A to Z for Positive Mental Health, which outlines easy exercises to bring into your every day.

In the workplace, Mental Health First Aiders have a very important role to play in your organisation. They work with managers to help spot the signs of mental health concerns, open up conversations to help team members who are in need, and use preventative measures for emotional fitness for all. Nova Associates runs the 2-day Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England Course for organisations. Find out more through our website where you can also get a free guide on how to implement a culture of positive mental health in your workplace.

Clare Davis, the CEO and Founder of Nova Associates, is a management and mental health trainer, coach, author, and facilitator who works with individuals and organisations to help them use their focus to bring out untapped potential in the workplace. Clare shows through real-world examples how the valuable skills that each person brings to your organisation can help your mission. To find out more about how you can manage anxiety within your team, schedule a free Strategy Call and let her assist you to bring positivity to your workplace.


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