Wellbeing

3 essential ways to overcome anxiety and keep kicking goals

- April 26, 2023 3 MIN READ
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Many successful people deal with anxiety on a daily basis. From worrying about the worst-case scenarios and the ‘what ifs’, to dwelling on mistakes, comparing themselves to others, and spiralling when things aren’t going according to plan – which is probably most of the time, writes corporate wellbeing coach and naturopath, Vesna Hrsto.

Anxiety can be exhausting for high achievers driven to excel in their careers, businesses, and personal lives. High achievers are always focused on the goal and can be shaken when expectations are not met.

However, while anxiety is common, it can be a barrier to higher levels of productivity.

Why? Because anxiety disrupts our focus. According to management studies in the workplace:

  • 1 hour of uninterrupted focus is equivalent to 3 hours of work, and vice versa
  • 3 hours of interrupted focus is equivalent to 1 hour of work.

The good news is there are several solutions that high achievers can use to overcome anxiety and skyrocket their productivity.

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Subtract

Most high achievers are over-scheduled and struggle to let go of things. And over-scheduling leads to overwhelm. The state of overwhelm triggers stress hormones, such as adrenalin, that shift us out of the rational, decision-making part of the brain – the prefrontal cortex – and therefore we become less productive.

It takes a lot of discipline to subtract tasks from your plate, cut back and focus on one or two projects at a time.

When you subtract, you improve your focus, prevent burnout, lower stress and enhance your decision-making abilities.

Escape thought traps

There is no doubt that in business we have challenges to overcome, and when we’re in the right headspace, problem-solving becomes infinitely easier.

For many high achievers, challenges are often catastrophised. They zone in on the problem and allow it to repeat in their minds, or they create an unrealistic scenario. For example, a month of cash flow issues and all of a sudden you’re worried that the business will tank and go broke. Although your rational brain knows it’s highly unlikely, when you’re stuck in this mental loop, even the most outrageous scenarios seem believable.

This kind of thinking undermines performance.

Remind yourself how many challenges you’ve already overcome in business or life; look for examples that are similar to your current situation. This will help settle the irrational mind.

Listen to Vesna Hrsto on the Flying Solo podcast:

Feed your brain

Your brain is built on the same nutritional building blocks that build the rest of your body. How those nutrients get in there is by what you consume. Diet plays a significant role in our ability to handle stress, stay calm and enhance productivity.

The dehydrated brain: when we don’t drink enough water we struggle to get the right chemicals to produce serotonin in our brain. It’s been found that being just half a litre dehydrated can increase our stress hormones which are associated with anxiety.

Glucose is an essential fuel for the brain: Glucose disruption is a common cause of anxiety. A drop in blood glucose levels will trigger adrenalin and symptoms that are similar to anxiety.

I always recommend that my anxious clients stop any fasting or restrictive eating. Instead they should eat breakfast within 20 minutes of rising and they should also eat every three to four hours to keep their glucose levels balanced. This will reduce anxiety and improve mood and energy. Be sure to reduce your sugar intake, as additional sugars will cause glucose disruption and make symptoms worse.

Avoid the rollercoaster and caffeinate later. When I tell my anxious clients to cut out caffeine, some feel that it’s impossible. Caffeine is linked to anxiety, and reducing or removing it altogether is important. My golden rule is not to have any caffeine on an empty stomach, as it will disrupt glucose levels and stimulate cortisol release (another stress hormone). Have breakfast first, followed by a coffee if you need it.

There are many simple ways to combat anxiety so you can reach new levels of productivity in your work, with more ease and more energy.

For more expert tips on anxiety and mental health, head to our Health & Wellbeing section.


This article was first published on Kochie’s Business Builders, read the original here.

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How to calm anxiety in 20 seconds and get your focus back

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