How to Manage Anxiety
In Part 1 of this series on How to Manage Anxiety , we talked about breathing exercises.
Drop a comment below to share how the exercises helped you or what you noticed when you tried them.
Over the next few weeks, I'm going to share some tips on how to manage anxiety, especially for those who are considered High Performers. Maybe you're in a Leadership or Executive Level and you're excelling at your job, but deep inside, every day is a battle within yourself.
Together, we'll look at some strategies you can use in the moment of anxiety, that no one else even has to be aware of. Because, let's face it, you don't want everyone else to know just how anxious and uncertain you're feeling.
The next tool is Positive Visualization. I know it sounds kind of weird and "woo woo", but trust me, it works. I had a coach teach it to me a few years back, and it was helpful.
So, this is something you do prior to going into a stressful situation, meeting, or presentation that gives you anxiety. Think about the situation you're anxious about. Consider who's there and what the room is like. Then think about exactly what you're nervous about. What are you afraid is going to happen?
Once you've identified what exactly you're worried about, then I want you to visualize writing that worry down on a piece of paper. (Or you can actually write it down, as this could be even more impactful.) Imagine yourself crumpling up that piece of paper. Or actually crumpling it up, if you're physically doing this part of the activity.
Now, visualize yourself taking that crumpled up piece of paper - your biggest fear or worry about the situation that causes you anxiety - and throwing it into the trash or a fire, on your way into the situation, meeting, or presentation. Watch your hand throw it into the trash or fire. Watch it disappear. Close your eyes and allow your mind to recognize that you have thrown aware that fear. It's gone. It's important here that you truly imagine that you have gotten rid of that worry. It's gone.
Now, close your eyes and visualize the situation, meeting, or presentation. Think about every detail of the room, the people in the room, the equipment, the room arragements, and even the smells. Create a very real and clear picture in your mind. Now, I want you to visualize yourself in that situation. But imagine yourself at your best. What are you wearing? How do you look? Imagine yourself looking amazing, wearing clothing that make you look and feel your best. Visualize how you walk into the situation or room. Imagine yourself walking in full of confidence and grace. Imagine the details of how that feels, from your breathing to your movements, to your speech pattern. Visualize calm. Now visualize yourself giving the presentation, speaking during the meeting, or whatever you're doing in the situation that makes you anxious. As you visualize yourself, imagine that you are giving the best presentation. You are confident. You are speaking clearly. You have all your points lined out. Your handouts are amazing. As you imagine, consider all the details and nuances of the situation. What would success look like? How would it feel? Embrace those feelings. The visualization you create is a picture of having the situation go exactly as you'd like it to go. And finally, when your presentation, etc. is done, imagine how you feel, having done such an amazing job. How does it feel? How do you feel? Imagine and describe what it feels like to have mastered the situation?
Here's the other trick, DO NOT pick the crumpled up/burnt paper on the way out. So many of us just pick the anxiety back up each time, instead of letting it go once and for all. When I say throw it away, I mean throw it away FOR GOOD. Our biggest mistake it picking up our old anxieties, over and over again. Once you've done this, leave the fears the past. Manifest your own success!
This is something you can do as many times as necessary prior to any situation that makes you anxious. The idea is that by visualizing it, you begin to internalilze success. And by internalizing your success, it will become the actual outcome. You are basically predicting and planning your own success.
If you'd like more tips, or more individualized help on dealing with anxiety, please check out my website and schedule a free 15 minute consultation.