How can you handle paralyzing performance anxiety at work?
Clammy hands, sweating, panic, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating. These are all symptoms of anxiety that can cripple you if you don’t get a handle on that anxiety.
Schedule a Worry Session Each Day or Once a Week
This may sound crazy, but it will free you from having to worry throughout the day, every day. Over time, your body is going to say, “Give me a break!”
During your worry session, write down specifically what you are worrying about. What you’ll be doing is capturing all that free floating stuff and reducing it to capsule sized opportunities in disguise.
After capturing your worries, you can then write down 5-10 solutions for each worry. Then, choose one of those solutions and put it down as a task for your next day.
You see that by turning the worry into a problem solving session you are harnessing that “worry energy” into positive solutions!
Design A Peaceful Environment
Look for a screen saver or computer background that contains a peaceful nature scene or a saying that will help remind you that all is well. You can also bring in photos that will anchor you to relaxing images or memories. You may want to invest in a small lamp to give your soft light, or in an inexpensive water fountain for your desk.
Fear to Gratitude
Often, we are focused on the worst case scenarios. In this exercise, write down your fears on the left hand side of the page. On the right hand side of the page, write a countering statement. Picture yourself as a compassionate friend and coach. What would that person say to you? Write it down!
Then, take the right hand column of helpful statements, and record those into a recorder. Or, if you have a smart phone, you can record it right on your phone. Listen to those statements over and over, on the way to work, before you go to bed, and when you get up. You’ll be training your brain to respond to positive cues, instead of the worry laden scary thoughts.
At the beginning of each day, ask yourself, How can I improve 1% in my key result areas today? Or, just think about 1% improvement. By doing this, you will be training your subconscious mind to automatically find ways to improve.
If the anxiety is overwhelming and extremely paralyzing, don’t wait for it to get worse. Most companies have an Employee Assistance Program. Call it! Their services are free, and they are there to help you! Or, if you don’t want to go through them, call the number for mental health on the back of your insurance card. You may think you are too proud, or too strong, or that you will be admitting you’re crazy if you reach out for help. But it’s that kind of thinking that will keep you stuck! If you have a bad back, is it crazy to go for physical therapy? No!
In the same way, a good licensed counselor will help coach you through your anxiety, and you will come out stronger than you went in.
So, in conclusion, don’t be afraid to reach out. Schedule worry time for yourself. Think 1% improvement. Change your fear into gratitude. Along the way, remember to take the time to sleep, eat, and exercise in a way that will build your physical reserves. Cut down on the caffeine and sugar. Feed your body with good, nutritional food. Feed your spirit and emotions with good friends, with counseling, and with prayer and meditation. I hope this will help you as you boost your performance to make it the best ever!