Anxiety can hit you over many things—traffic, social situations— all kinds of everyday normal life occurrences. But one of the most typical and insidious sources of anxiety can be your job and related fears around your performance. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional athlete, a CEO, an accountant or a rock and roll star.
A Little About Anxiety
Anxiety is a built-in survival mechanism, and sometimes it is very much needed to help you avoid or escape danger. But those of you familiar with or suffering from chronic anxiety recognize that the result of anxiety is an inflamed mind. It makes it difficult to take initiative, lead or perform with confidence. Anxiety can cripple you with doubt and leave you performing at less than your best. Consequences can include depression, guilt and even loss of employment.
Obviously, there are many recommended strategies for dealing with anxiety: breathing techniques, meditation, cognitive therapy, medications, and exercise. All of these are valid and useful tools in your battle against this undesirable state of mind. But there is another you can try, perhaps related to cognitive therapy. It involves building up your reserve of positive impressions of your performance, so that the negative thoughts and fears that lead to anxiety are displaced.
Anxiety occupies space in both your conscious and unconscious mind. But you can displace it with a daily recognition of your strengths and achievements. Here are some ways to do that:
Try building up your reserve of positivity about yourself and your performance each and every night. Take a notebook and each and every day and write down three things that you did well that day. You can also write down one thing or area that you would like to work to improve. Never cast anything in a negative light. It’s important to do this daily.
What To Remember About Stress
Surround yourself with visual cues of your worth and your great achievements. These could be anything, from a picture of loved ones, to a framed diploma, to pictures of people you admire, compare yourself to or want to be. You can even create a neurolinguistic symbol representing all the great things you have done and are capable of. Surround yourself with these everywhere, but especially in your office or area of work.
Another important thing to remember: be task oriented. Much of anxiety comes from thinking about the results of your work, and not about the work itself. A results oriented person is less engaged with doing what they are good at or what they love to do, and fear others’ perceptions. By being task oriented, you’re placing the focus on the process of your work – whether that’s practicing your swing if you’re a golf pro or your writing technique if that is crucial to how you make a living.
You’ll be surprised how much following these steps will take your focus on fears of a negative outcome when it comes to job performance. As the soothing litany in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi masterpiece Dune goes:
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
Alex is a blogger for Colley & Colley L.L.P., a personal injury law firm located in Austin, Texas. Being a writer for such a busy and prestigious firm can easily stress him out, so he remembers these tips to calm down and get through the day.