Anxiety is a sign to pay attention and bring your A-game. You can turn it into drama, a false cataclysmic feeling, or you can use it as a performance enhancement tool. Here are the three primary sources of anxiety and what to do about it:
1. Fear of loss. Too often we worry that we could lose respect or love if we fail at something. But most often these are unfounded concerns or faulty assumptions driven by a fearful, tired or undirected mind. The next time you feel anxiety, take a few deep breathes and ask, “Can I use this energy to prepare to gain something versus sit here and fear losing something? What action could I take to ready myself and minimize the chances things won’t go well?” Then brainstorm actions you can take to move forward. Sometimes the easiest way to wipe out anxiety is to get a little momentum.
2. Fear of hardship. A lot of anxiety comes from feeling like we aren’t strong or capable enough to handle a difficult situation. But we have to question this assumption as well. Often, we’ve been through a lot worse and survived. And now we can use the anxiety to take a step back and better prepare for this upcoming challenge. We can turn anxiety into a strength, into a preparation weapon. Look, no matter what is coming up, you can handle it if you prepare, ask for help, and open yourself to learning and being courageous in tough situations. The tools to manage the difficulties of life are within.
3. Fear of disappointment. Often anxiety comes from the fear that we’ll feel sad or experience negative feelings if things don’t turn out well. But perhaps it’s time to focus on the journey rather than the destination. Just focus on bringing your best to the situation at hand, and remember that everything will turn out well as long as you’re open to learning and asking for help along the way. All will be well as long as you stay in motion toward your dreams.