Based on what I’m hearing from senior leaders here in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and worldwide, as well as hundreds of webinar attendees, there is A LOT of emotion around shifting to the next level of normal, especially returning to work in an office or any type of shared work space. Just the thought can be enough to raise our heart rate!

While 100% understandable, this type of emotion can have long-term deleterious effects on culture, wellness, productivity, and company growth. This type of thinking triggers a fight or flight response, which is a primitive way of thinking and certainly not a mental space wherein the best version of us or our colleagues can operate.

The result is a decreased ability to focus and be productive, as well as a decreased innovative ability. As if this isn’t enough, we can compromise our immune systems if we are in a self-induced and constant state of worry, fear, or anxiety, which can make our thoughts a self-fulling prophecy (i.e. we get sick).

Has anyone lay awake at night in the last few months catastrophizing about what will happen if we get sick or what the future may have in store? If so, you are definitely not alone, and this lack of sleep is a big blow to your immunity in and of itself.

Let’s take a step back and think about the courage and confidence we’ve had to tap into over the course of our lives. Have you ever overcome an adversity in your past? Most of us have, and we can rise to the occasion again.

Ready for good news? There are ways to manage your mindset and use the emotions you’re feeling to your advantage, rather than allowing them to disable the best version of you.

Here’s where to start so you and your team can be as calm and productive as possible in the coming months.

1) Acknowledgment.

Acknowledge fear and anxiety with yourself and your team directly, in a tone that is calm and confident. For example:

I notice there is a lot of emotion about going back to work, and that’s completely understandable.

By facing fear, really looking it in the eyes, and making peace with it, we disable its ability to frighten us.

2) Gratitude.

Have a moment of gratitude and compassion for yourself, your colleagues, and your clients. For example:

I am grateful for the health of myself and my colleagues, for the work that I am able to do, and for the clients I serve.

Taking a step outside of yourself can be very powerful.

3) Prioritization.

Decide what you have control over, and take action toward those things. For example:

I tape off six feet around my desk, ask colleagues to keep this distance, and ride the elevator by myself.

Lack of control is the great driver of anxiety and fear, so take some control over what you can in your inner and outer world.

4) Setting expectations.

Choose one or two words that set your intention for the day. For example:

Today I choose to remain calm and present.

Really think about how you want to be remembered once we pass through this particular period in history, and start living into that person today.

Whether it’s going back to work or venturing out in public in any of a number of ways, let’s take control of our emotions and the stories we tell ourselves in an effort to tap into the best version of us. Our families, colleagues, community, companies, and the world are depending on it.

Originally published on Ellevate.