Do You Have What It Takes Deal With Anxiety Like A True Expert? | Help others to deal with Anxiety in addition to Yourself!
If you are a CEO or Senior Leader, or an Entrepreneur or a Business Owner then this article will be one of the most important articles you will ever read. As a leader, you are the emotional wifi of your company. In this pandemic what you and your employees or followers are facing is not just a threat to physical health but also mental health.
Let me begin with a quote from Victor Frankl:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl.
The nature of this crisis from an impact perspective:
What you need to understand as a leader is in the past twenty years there is an epidemic that has already spread to most parts of the world silently. It is an epidemic of anxiety and panic. The world has experienced uncertainties like global terrorism, Global Warming and the deterioration of the environment, and economic instability.
Here are some of the threats and trials the world has faced:
- Fires, floods, tsunamis, typhoons, earthquakes – Natural disasters of
- Economic depression – especially that of 2008
- Technological changes leading to disruption
- Ambiguous impact of technologies like artificial intelligence
- Rapid Pace of Modern living
- Nuclear Proliferation
People have not got enough time to adapt to these changes yet and now they are facing additionally a new and silent enemy – The Pandemic. Now everyone on the planet is facing two invisible silent enemies each working collaboratively with each other, so to speak – Epidemic of Stress + Global Pandemic(Use a visual)
Hence, people are already strung up because of this epidemic of anxiety. Over and above this epidemic another pandemic has come resulting in an escalation of already present stress levels to alarming proportions. Moreover, what is really disconcerting is that you and your employees or followers are separated due to social distancing and lockdown. Your people are silently suffering, alone with minimal access to you and you too may be suffering alone as it gets pretty lonely at the top with a huge burden of responsibility weighing on your head to save your company, figure out the ways you need to adapt and the constant presence of uncertainty as our world morphs into a completely different reality that we have never faced before.
In addition to the cumulative stress that your people are experiencing due to external circumstances, they are also magnifying the anxiety by wrong habitual negative thoughts, wrong habits of smoking, drinking, and other substance abuse all leading to stress and thus fueling anxiety.
You can see the layers of sources for stress:
Here they are:
- Foundational Societal Epidemic of Anxiety – This already exists
- New Global Health Crisis as never seen before resulting in huge anxiety source – the anxiety of exposure to the virus
- Loneliness due to isolation as a result of Lockdown leading to further anxiety
- Large Scale Economic Depression to the level we have never experienced before
- Anxiety due to threat of Business Collapse or Job Loss
- Self-induced anxiety due to faulty thoughts which are habitual in nature
- Additional stress leading to further escalation of anxiety due to substance abuse like smoking and drinking
- Poor Lifestyle choices such as overeating, lack of exercise, inadequate or lack of sleep and presence of lifestyle diseases
- Bad news from the media and friends. Bombardment of sad, frustrating and irritating news
- Unclear values and limiting beliefs that are being used by individuals to create a larger than life dark reality which is not true and leading to debilitating anxiety accompanied by a lack of direction in life
The biggest danger for you as a leader and your employees or followers is that this cumulative long term stress can lead to anxiety disorders that can be very destructive. On one side your people have a lack of direction in their lives and on the other side they feel stuck due to high anxiety, fear, and even phobia. In a nutshell, all this will lead to you not feeling well and when you do not feel well you will not be able to think well which will lead to wrong decisions, wrong actions, and ultimately ruinous results.
The only way to turn this around is to take charge of your emotions. It is time for emotional mastery as never before. If you do not have emotional mastery then it is your dire need right now. You need emotional mastery as a leader because your emotions especially anxiety is contagious and you can freely spread it to your employees. Your employees’ anxiety will also rub off onto you.
Your aim as a leader is to take charge of your feeling, feel deliberately good, think right, decide right, and get the right results. Feel good – think right – decide right Do good and get the right results.
The Virtuous Cycle
This is the virtuous cycle you need to crank up in your company and in yourself. Taking control of your emotions and choosing to feel good no matter what the circumstances are while grounding yourself, in reality, is the key to putting yourself in the right state of mind to think through and make the right decisions
How do you deal with anxiety in healthy and effective ways?
The first step is to recognize that you are anxious. Even though anxiety is an epidemic and people are drowning in it, recognizing anxiety is much more difficult than you may expect it to be.
What is the difference between fear and anxiety? Fear is a natural reaction to a noticeable and actual threat to your physical well being.
Anxiety is an inexplicable dread in the absence of an evident threat. Anxiety often feels useless, abnormal, and is not helpful.
Here are some characteristics
- Inability to identify why you are fearful
- You have an irrational explanation for the fear
- The threat you feel is predominantly in the future
- You constantly or intermittently feel something bad is going to happen
- You are struggling to find a solution and eliminate the sense of dread
- The more you become aware that you are anxious the more intense it becomes
I am giving below some of the symptoms for anxiety. Please note that to truly diagnose that you are anxious you need to take professional help where they will put you through a certain test and decide whether you are anxious are not. The list given below is for you to recognize that you are anxious to the point that you take professional help if you feel necessary. Please note that you are solely responsible for your health and wellbeing.
The Symptoms of Anxiety
- A feeling of exhaustion or fatigue
- Inability to experience fun, joy or any feeling of achievement
- Inability to think through even run of a mill, standard problems
- You are constantly bombarded with negative internal pictures, thoughts, and self-talk
- You feel you are losing your mind
- You feel you are dying
- You have trouble focusing
- You are procrastinating and your productivity is in its pits
- Inability to sleep in the night or disturbed sleep
- You are physically stiff and tense
- You are irritable
- You are avoiding people more and more and keeping away from social interactions
- You are slipping on your everyday responsibilities
Feeling your mind has gone blank
The Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
Please also note that you can get physical symptoms which you may mistake for physical illness or disease. Here are some symptoms:
- You are trembling or shaking
- You feel dizzy
- You have shortness of breath
- You have diarrhea
- Frequent visit to the toilet for urination
- You have a headache
- You keep sweating, sometimes profusely
- You have twitches
- You feel you have a stomach disorder
Many people with anxiety also suffer from depression. Please also note that depression and anxiety are bidirectional. Hence, it will be a good idea to take professional help. If you are anxious and depressed, each feeds the other escalating the problem to dangerous levels. Once that happens a feeling of hopelessness will emerge and persists which will soon turn int suicidal thoughts. If at any point in time you even begin to contemplate suicide it is a clear indication that you need immediate professional help.
Here are some steps you can take to get grips of anxiety. Please note that some of these are general steps you can take till you meet a professional. It is always better to seek the help of a professional. Please use your wisdom and common sense and seek help depending on the severity of your anxiety.
Steps you can take to get rid of Anxiety!
- Exercise: If you do physical exercise it will change the habitual physiological patterns that induce anxiety and you will begin to sense a relief. Please be careful with exercise and make sure that you are fit to do so without any physical harm. Consult your doctor before you embark on any exercise
- Stress Management: Learn to manage your stress. Stress has always been the precursor to anxiety
- Get a Good Nights Sleep: Sleep is very important for your mental health. Do you have poor sleeping habits? Are you staying awake, watching Netflix, and losing out on sleep. Change your sleeping habits
- Practice Yoga Relaxation techniques: Learn Yoga from a qualified teacher. Practice it correctly and regularly
- Connect with your loved ones and friends: Do not tackle this alone. Reach out to friends. This is especially important now because of the LockDown and Social Distancing
- Learn to Eliminate Negative Pictures, Self-Talk, and Thoughts: Get in touch with an NLP(Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Expert as he or she will have powerful strategies and tools to eliminate your anxiety and depression. Make sure that you contact ones who are proficient and known to get results
- Guard the inner fortress of your mind: Do not watch the news as it is full of negative images, sadness, and anxiety-ridden messages. Do not read the news either. Get updates of the news only periodically just be alert and aware of the situation around you. Please note that every negative image you see becomes a permanent memory in your subconscious mind and can fuel your anxiety and depression
- Eat Healthy Diet: Consult a qualified nutritionist. Eat fresh, whole food. Drink a lot of water. Get rid of carbonated sodas or sweetened fruit juices.
- Start helping others: Helping others in different ways can make you feel really good. Enlist for some volunteer work once the lockdown is over and it is safe to meet others while maintaining social distancing and all other precautions
- Work on your Business: This is very important. Most people work in the business and soon the business is out of touch with the changes in reality. Get the help of a good Business Consultant
- Define your Purpose: Purpose can guard you against negativity, inspire you, and motivate you no matter how much the world around you is falling apart. It also builds long term resilience which is very important in this Global Health Crisis. Get the help of Consultant or a Coach for this
- Define your Values: Values are the engine that drives all your actions. You may have no clarity of your values or you may have acquired it randomly. Get the help of an NLP Practioner who will help you to define your values and install it in your subconscious mind
- Learn to Control your Emotional State: It is not the external events that impact us, it is the meaning we give to the external events that cause us all the trouble. When you are in an anxious state of mind you will begin to give dark and hopeless meanings to events, people, and everything around you. You are looking through the ugly, dirty, and black glasses of anxiety thus coloring everything around you.
- Learn specialized tools and techniques: There are some wonderful tools to handle anxiety and root it out. Learn them and use them. Take the help of a professional.
Do something you enjoy: Choose something you enjoyed in the past and you have not done it for a long time
Please note that his article is not a substitute for getting medical or professional help. Anxiety is a serious problem if it is not a garden variety and is an Anxiety Disorder. It is not a smart idea to deal with it on your own. Get Help.
Your employees or followers too will be anxious in these times. You as a leader should guide them by putting them in touch with a professional.
Let me conclude by this great quote by Victor Frankl
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Victor Frankl