What do you do when you need to reduce your anxiety now? During this week’s episode of Reflect Forward, I share a story about a recent bout with anxiety and how I dealt with it. We all feel anxiety and these days, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by it. The good news is that there are steps you can take to get immediate relief.
Now for the story…
A few weeks ago, I thought I had a panic attack. I was stuck in traffic, and I was pissed off. I was late to pick up my son from golf practice. He gets nervous when I am late. I was still reeling from the horrifying images of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, my to-do list was weighing on me. “I really should be working instead of fighting traffic,” my brain said. I had even Googled “how do you know when civilization is ending?”
I sat at my desk, trying to work, and I felt disoriented and upset.
When feeling anxious, you teach the body that living under constant stress is okay. We all know that constant stress isn’t okay; it wreaks havoc on our physical and mental health, damages relationships, and makes us less effective at our jobs.
Here is what I did.
I asked myself, “What’s one stressor I am in control of that I can remove right now?” Then I deleted all news apps from my phone and committed to quit reading the news for at least a month. It has been the biggest game-changer to date. It’s incredible how much better I feel when I am not cramming my brain with doom and gloom over which I have zero control.
I went for a walk and listened to relaxing, fun music. I tried to stay in the present moment, watching the clouds pass by in the sky, seeing the birds and insects flittering about, and the sun and breeze on my skin. I took big, deep breaths imagining stress escaping with each exhalation. The combination of moving my body, listening to music I love, being in the fresh air, and taking deep breaths calmed me quickly.
Third, I picked two items on my to-do list, committing to get them done and saving the rest for the next day. After my walk, I felt more focused and completed the tasks. I still accomplished two things while taking the pressure off completing everything on my list, which was impossible anyway.
Fourth, I committed to getting a good night’s sleep. After eating a healthy dinner, I took a bath, drank herbal tea instead of a glass of wine, listened to a guided mediation, and turned the lights out by 9 pm.
The next day, I felt better.
You, too, can do these things when you are feeling anxious and stressed.
If it seems simple which doesn’t mean easy, but if you are successful for one day, you can build upon it and try it again the next day. And the next. And the next.
Question of the Week
This week’s question came from one of my employees who asked, “How do I become a better listener?” During the episode, I give examples of how to be a better listener using the suggestions below.
• Give Your Full Attention
• Practice Empathy
• Ask Open-Ended Questions
• Avoid Interrupting
• Use Nonverbal Cues
• Reflect and Summarize
• Manage Your Response
• Seek Feedback
Being a better listener is a valuable skill that can elevate your leadership in the business world. It fosters trust, enhances communication, and leads to better decision-making. By dedicating time and effort to improve your listening skills, you not only benefit your organization but also create a more inclusive and collaborative work environment. Remember, great leaders don't just speak; they listen actively and attentively.
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