Ever suffered from anxiety? I have, and it’s no picnic. About 10 years ago, I checked into the ER before a speaking engagement thinking I was having a heart attack. The electrocardiogram showed that my heart was as strong as ever. What had happened? I had had a panic attack, which is a sudden, overwhelming surge of anxiety and fear that mimics a heart attack. Doctors told me it had been induced by stress. That made sense. It was one of the most stressful periods of my life.
Numerous speaking engagements later, I had learned how to control feelings that commonly led to anxiety. I had learned that anxiety is often the result of fears (mostly based on things that haven’t happened yet) you may have about uncertain situations, places, and even people in your life.
This is a serious issue. A study by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at University of California, San Francisco, found that nearly half of 242 entrepreneurs surveyed reported having one or more lifetime mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults, a whopping 18 percent of the population.
If anxiety is beating up on you, you can reduce it with these helpful hacks.
1. Convince your brain that you’re safe
The most commonly suggested way to manage anxiety is to calm the nervous system by using diaphragmatic breathing (deep breathing). Doing it for a few minutes sends the brain the message that you’re not actually in any danger, and in return it will kick your body into relaxation mode instead of fight-or-flight. If any part of your brain is sending signals that you’re under threat (and in reality, you’re not), kick the fear by gently talking yourself out of it. Convince that part of your brain sending you into fight-or-flight mode that you are just fine.
2. Practice positive thinking
If you’re feeling anxious, move. Literally move — go outside…