Today’s world is more stressful than ever. The fast-paced, always-on environment many of us operate in is enough to cause anxiety among even the most organized leaders. Throw in the current global pandemic and an economic recession, and it’s no surprise that many people are experiencing doubts and fears in their personal and professional lives.
While stress is an inevitable part of life, it doesn’t have to consume you and get in the way of your success. That’s why we asked 15 members of Young Entrepreneur Council how they manage to overcome the mental and emotional stressors of living and working in the modern world. Try their practical, actionable strategies the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed at work or at home.
1. Try Your Best
Try your best. If you give your best effort, if and when you fail, you will be better able to accept that failure. We are imperfect creatures; we are going to make mistakes and we are going to fail. Fear, doubt and anxiety are natural emotions. Instead of pretending that they do not exist or that you are immune to them, focus on what you can control, which is your input.
2. Eliminate Distractions
Get rid of any distractions, such as your TV, and start to think more deeply. This creates inner strength and focus and sets you up to be far more productive and engaging with the few things you keep, the important essentials. The best retreat is a charge forward.
3. Stop Equating Setbacks With Failure
Remember that setbacks do not happen because you are a failure; they happen because not everything is meant for you. Setbacks trigger doubt, fear and anxiety to the point that you consider this as your new norm. This mentality can be your hurdle in thinking that there’s no point in doing something about your situation. Setbacks happen to everyone who takes chances. It is part of life. Have thicker skin and go on.
4. Study the Topics That Cause Your Fear and Doubt
You can overcome fear and doubt by researching and understanding the topics that bring on these feelings. Often, anxiety stems from uncertainty and self-doubt. Self-doubt occurs because we question our abilities. Learning about the things and building confidence in your skill set will help you resolve anxiety and fear.
5. Look on the Bright Side
Embrace the change in a COVID-19 world. Ever complain about traffic or feeling stuck in the office? Look on the bright side: Today you can work on your porch outside while enjoying the weather. You can work in the comfort of your home and avoid the stress of sitting in traffic and all of the other aspects of the pre-COVID work world you didn’t like before.
6. Build Your Emotional Intelligence
Like failure, fear and anxiety are part of the process at some point. The latter are usually controlled by our thoughts. It is important not to let them take over our actions because we will live in a limited way. Identifying the thoughts that cause anxiety, facing them and trying to work on them is an excellent way to move forward.
7. Remind Yourself It’s All in Your Head
Most people experience impostor syndrome at some point in their lives, but the trick is to remember that it’s in your head. You may doubt your abilities, but those around you don’t, which should give you enough confidence to keep moving forward. If you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t be in your current position, so remember that when you’re filled with doubt and anxiety.
8. Look at Your Daily Tasks From a New Perspective
If you take an inventory of your day-to-day activities, you’ll most likely find out that much of your tasks aren’t high-stakes decisions or actions. A good chunk of your anxiety, doubt and fear comes from doing what you know how to do in too little of time. Any stress that doesn’t fit in the above answer can be mitigated with proper research, education and practice.
9. Go for a Walk
So much of the doubt and anxiety we suffer from is self-created. It’s from sitting at our desk letting our thoughts take over. Getting up, going for a walk and getting some fresh air clears my head and helps me re-focus on the task at hand. Once I allow myself to take a step back and reassess what is bothering me, I usually realize it’s not worth the stress.
10. Plan Everything You Can
What I like to do is plan everything that I can. Since plans get mixed up from time to time because of unplanned circumstances, I also have a back-up plan for when that happens. While it’s important to have a positive mindset about your plans and hope things won’t go wrong, it’s also important to support the benefit of the doubt by planning for unexpected things.
11. Write Out Your Fear or Worry
I will often write out my fear or worry to help get rid of that stress. The act of writing it out changes the way my brain is working, which can help derail the internal stress and fear. Then, I rip up the paper and throw it out to symbolize that it can’t affect me any more so I can focus on the here and now.
12. Talk to a Mental Health Professional
Seek out professional help with your mental health. I see so many tips for dealing with anxiety, and while some of the tactical advice can be helpful, if what you’re experiencing is very different from how you’ve operated in the past, it’s important to seek professional help. Virtual options are perfect for times like these.
13. Give Yourself Dedicated Time to Worry
Set aside 30 minutes a day to allow yourself to worry. Doubt, fear and anxiety will grow as big as you let them, but by limiting the time you allow yourself to worry, you will prevent them from overwhelming your day. Of course, if something immediate comes up during the day, take action on it. But for bigger worries, save them for your 30-minute worry time.
14. Revisit Your Long-Term Goals
When I get overwhelmed or have fear about a particular issue, I try to plan and think long term. Although it doesn’t resolve issues I have at that time, it helps me plan more effectively and stay focused on our long-term goals.
15. Think Through the Worst-Case Scenario
Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? I often find that when fear sets in, it’s because we fear something unknown in the future. Spend a moment and imagine the worst-case scenario. In most cases, the likelihood of this happening is pretty low, and it usually isn’t as impactful as you make it out to be.- Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.