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2 min

Are you frequently overwhelmed by worries, even about minor things?

This could be a sign of anxiety.

While anxiety is a common feeling involving unease, worry, or fear - particularly during periods of uncertainty, change, or high-stress situations - if not addressed, it can evolve to be pervasive.

Anxiety can make it difficult to focus on our work and impact productivity and well-being.

According to a study by Champion Health in the UK, 60% of employees experience some form of anxiety.

This statistic is concerning, but what's more troubling is that many people suffer in silence, unaware or unwilling to acknowledge their struggles.

Throughout my journey, I've encountered numerous moments where, in retrospect, anxiety was a silent battle for me.

Externally, I appeared successful, but I was wrestling with persistent worries and self-doubt internally.

Thankfully, with professional help and a supportive personal network, I've learned to manage these challenges better.

My experiences have underscored the need to openly discuss anxiety and educate ourselves on coping mechanisms and support options.

To get some practical insights and tips on this topic, I reached out to my friend Dana Berri.

Dana is a licensed psychologist with expertise in applying Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) techniques.

Here are 3 invaluable tips she shared on managing anxiety:

1. Befriend your anxiety and allow it to be:

Contrary to the common advice we often hear telling us ‘not to worry’, a positive approach for managing anxiety involves intentionally allowing ourselves to explore these worries and letting the worry run its course.

Ask yourself: ↳What am I thinking about right now? ↳On a scale of 1-10, how stressful do I feel? ↳Explore the worst-case and best-case scenarios and their probability.

2. Reframe your thoughts:

Once you have identified these negative thoughts, try transforming them into more positive or constructive ones. E.g. ‘I will never be good at this’ to ‘This may be challenging now, but with practice, I can improve my skills over time.’

3. Lean on problem-solving:

Apply a problem-solving approach once you've identified and reframed negative thoughts.

1. Identify the Concern: ‘What's the specific concern that's causing anxiety?’

2. Ask the Right Questions and focus on what’s helpful rather than what is right or wrong: Instead of dwelling on the worst-case scenario, redirect your focus. E.g. ‘What aspects of this situation are within my control?, is this thought helping me get what I want?’

3. Set Realistic Goals: E.g. If you're anxious about an upcoming presentation, dedicate specific time to preparation.

4. Consider the Variables: Determine which variables you can influence and take action. E.g. You can’t control your manager’s mood, but you can plan to leave home early to avoid peak traffic.

PS: Approach your feelings with kindness and curiosity.