Chasing your most audacious goals can be very anxiety-provoking. The constant worries of what if this fails or what if I made a mistake. The anticipation for the future and all the unknowns it holds. You might find yourself in an anxiety spiral as you see followers drop off your social media platforms or email list. Heck, you might even feel anxious just reading this paragraph, and that’s okay. Learning to manage anxiety is key in a sustainable entrepreneurial journey.
The entrepreneurial world is full of fear, anxiety, self-doubt, comparison, and unknowns, but it’s also full of creativity, excitement, passion, and hope. If you’re an anxious soul, and your anxiety is keeping you benched, you’re in luck because you just scored me as your unofficial anxiety coach. I’m sharing with you tried and true tricks to help you manage your anxiety, so your anxiety doesn’t manage you. If you’re ready to coexist peacefully with your anxiety, let’s get to it!
4 Ways to Coexist Peacefully with Your Anxiety as an Entrepreneur
Move Your Body
When it comes to exercise, we have it all wrong. What is commonly used as a means to a smaller pant size, is actually the best anti-anxiety medicine you could have. Simply engaging in 20-minutes of aerobic exercise reduces anxiety faster than popping a Xanax.
When you engage in aerobic exercise, you send a signal of safety to your amygdala, which is responsible for activating your anxiety response. Your amygdala interprets that signal as a sign that you escaped danger and will then complete the anxiety loop. Once the loop has closed, adrenaline and cortisol stop dumping into your body, and your symptoms begin to subside.
If you’re ready to ditch the uncomfortable sensations of anxiety, step away from your computer, put down your phone, and get moving. All it takes is 20 minutes of increased heart to reduce anxiety.
Need a few ideas?
Take these for a spin:
- Jog in place
- Go for a brisk walk
- Bust out some burpees
- Blast your favorite tunes and have a solo dance party
Last but not least, If you have an event that you know will trigger anxiety, engage in aerobic activity before the event. This will help calm your amygdala and make it less likely to activate when in the triggering situation.
Get Out Of Your Head And Into Your Life
Are you guilty of thinking: “What if I fail?” “What if no one shows up?” “What if it’s too late?” “What if no one buys?” “What if I mess up?” “What if…”
When you engage in “what-if” thinking, you’re essentially saying, “let’s pretend.” Let’s pretend I fail. Let’s pretend no one shows up. Let’s pretend it’s too late. Let’s pretend I make a fool of myself on stage. I don’t know about you, but this is a worry game I don’t want to play, and neither should you. This style of thinking is fuel to your already raging anxiety fire.
The problem with worries is that they are based on hypothetical fears that most likely will never occur. Fears that present themself as nagging news as opposed to useful information. If you find yourself caught up in the worry game, start by identifying the worrisome thought.
Once you have identified the thought, come up with a plan for if that worry happens. Once you have a game plan, move on from that worry. If that worry creeps back into your thoughts, remind yourself of your plan, and move on again.
Another great way to get out of your head and into your life is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a fantastic way to pull you out of future-focused worries and plop you back into your life. The next time you feel anxious, ground yourself in the present moment.
What do you see? Hear? Smell? Taste? Feel? By focusing on the present moment, you can live in a state of what is as opposed to what if.
Rest and Reset
It’s easy to get swept up in the whirlwind and excitement of becoming the CEO of your life, but can I tell you a little secret?
Hustle without rest leads to burnout, and burnout isn’t sexy.
Trust me, I know from experience. So how does an anxious entrepreneur reduce anxiety when they feel they have to be on all the time? Delegate!
Recruit help and assign tasks to ensure you have time to rest and reset. Establish boundaries at work, schedule a digital detox, or, better yet, set a daily time to shut off from work.
If you are caught up in the false belief that self-care is selfish or that your business will not run without you, it’s time to shift your thinking. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Here are a few tips to help you show up as the rejuvenated, less anxious version of yourself:
- Bust out your Sharpie and schedule some self-care dates on your calendar. Dates, you will not cancel.
- Set aside time for activities that reset you mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally.
- Designate a daily set time where you will unplug from all technology, work, and that ever-growing to-do list, whether that be for an hour in the middle of the day or an hour before bed.
- Make sure you are getting 6 to 8 hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep every night.
When you lack deep, restorative sleep, you run the risk of having an amygdala that responds to triggers like a temperamental toddler who just found out they couldn’t have a toy. If you’re the MVP of late-night hustle, it’s time to work on your sleep hygiene. By establishing nighttime routines and rituals, you are more likely to shut down after a long day and drift off into deep, restful sleep.
Are you breathing? It sounds like a silly question, but it’s common for people to hold their breath, or breathe shallowly, when anxious, without being aware they’re doing so. To help reduce anxiety, and activate the relaxation response in your brain, you need to breathe.
When you breathe with intention and take long, slow, deep breaths, you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with rest and relaxation. This activation acts as a switch, taking your breathing from a state of emergency to a place of relaxation.
There are many ways to engage in breathwork, but the secret is to breathe from your belly as opposed to your chest. When you breathe from your belly, your diaphragm pushes on your vagus nerve, resulting in the activation of the relaxation response. A few of my go-to techniques are belly breathing, 4-7-8 breathing, alternate nostril breathing, and square breathing. The trick is, in order to see an improvement in anxiety symptoms, you need to practice breathwork twice a day. No exceptions!
If you want to learn more tricks and tips on how to manage anxiety so your anxiety doesn’t manage you, be sure to check out courageously.u on Instagram or Facebook. You can also pickup some best life goodies at courageouslyu.com.
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