SEPARATE YOUR FEELINGS FROM YOUR WORK AS BEST AS YOU CAN.
This is not to say that we should not care about our work. It’s that we should not care so much that we become entangled by our worries and erratic thoughts. When we feel anxious, our creativity and our productivity can become blocked.
If our work gets tangled up with our fears and feelings so much, how can we separate them from each other? Tough question. Here are my 7 answers:
1. Be the gardener of your thoughts. Maintain a peaceful, calm landscape in your mind. Sort the productive, healthy thoughts from the upsetting and disconcerting ones. Do this diligently and with care. This quote from Robin Sharma suggests how: “You have now learned that the mind is like a fertile garden and for it to flourish, you must nurture it daily. Never let the weeds of impure thought and action take the garden of your mind. Stand guard at the gateway of your mind.”
2. Understand that we concentrate better when we are not at peak anxiety. Although some excited energy is needed to create, when we are fraught with anxiety our creativity and productivity suffer. Never confuse being hysterical with doing good work.
3. Keep your focus trained on the present moment. Every time we worry, we take our focus away from the task in front of us. You can easily check this by seeing if your thoughts are wandering to things you have already done or something in the future you don’t have control over. Practice refocusing your attention on what is happening at the present time.
4. Build a plan of action. If you are feeling trapped or cornered in a not-so-good arrangement or predicament, try to figure out what thoughts and actions created this situation. Did you miss a meeting or an update? Did you feel too embarrassed to ask for help? After you determine what happened, build a plan to free yourself from the confined and restricted feeling you have. It often takes a simple text, phone call, or conversation to find relief.
5. Don’t cramp your own style. Don’t hide what you have to offer to the world. You can always scale back, but you can’t get back what you miss out on by being a wallflower, or by being silent, or by pretending you have nothing to say. By releasing what you have to give, you’ll experience a feeling of satisfaction, which becomes motivation to do more so you can continue to feel better.
6. Instead of focusing on being perfect, take risks and be brave. Anxiety and perfectionism are cousins. They are cousins who are no fun and who don’t get out very much. Decide to leave your anxiety and perfectionism at home today, and go out with a more adventurous attitude. Try the new program. Go for the more enticing option. Give a compliment to someone you are interested in. You will be okay. See how different it feels to be moving and grooving. Keep close to that feeling of being active because it is a surefire way to steer clear of Procrastination.
7. Develop a mantra to use when you feel anxious. Turn your fear on its head. For example, if you are worried about making a fool of yourself in public, craft a mantra to keep in your mind when you’re out in public. Instead of telling yourself “I’m going to say the wrong thing,” remind yourself of your new mantra, which is “I am going to connect easily and well with the people I meet today.” You’re going to speak to yourself anyway, so you might as well be kind and supportive!
Try this for yourself. Here’s a worksheet [a free PDF download] I created to help you put all of the steps above into action. The worksheet includes a section where you can design a mantra to combat the negative statements that may be preventing you from moving forward.
Anxiety is a mighty foe. Make sure to keep yourself fit against anxiety by treating yourself well, making good decisions, and being open with others when you need help. You can minimize your anxiety and make more room for productivity and joy.