3 Tips for Beating Feelings of Anxiety

While there are many different kinds of anxieties, the way to address it is universal. In three steps, here’s what to do.
dealing with anxiety

3 Tips for Beating Feelings of Anxiety

Have you been feeling anxious about something? When the wave of nervousness first hits, it can feel like climbing a mountain—every new stressor piles up and up until you’ve created an internal “fear cliff” the size of Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Today’s blog is about dealing with all kinds of anxiety. Regular feelings of anxiety, presentation anxiety, relationship anxiety, all of it. While there are many different kinds of fears and anxieties, no matter what kind you’re dealing with, the way to address it is universal. 

In three steps, here’s what to do:

1. Write out a worst-case scenario

At first, this advice might sound counterintuitive. “Write down my worst fears?! How can that help?” But if you’re dealing with anxiety right now, you’ve likely been playing a worst-case scenario in your head—over and over and over… 

You need to externalize your fears. By writing down the worst thing you can imagine happening in a journal, you can exorcize it and break that internal “feedback loop” that is currently playing in your head.

In practice, this might look like writing about:

  • a speech where you forget your lines
  • the end of your relationship
  • screwing up a work project and being reprimanded
  • something you forgot to do 
  • someone you’re afraid to disappoint 

2. Next, write how you’ll overcome that failure

Okay, so you’ve failed. Miserably. Now what happens? Write about the recovery.

In your recovery journal, you’re going to write about how you survived the events of your first journal. If you went through a huge breakup, what comes next? If you totally bombed that work presentation, what steps do you take to fix things? If you had a fear and the worst was confirmed, how do you move on?

Writing about how you recover from an awful thing happening will show you two things. Firstly, it’ll teach you that there’s hardly anything you can’t recover from. You are more resilient than you think, but you may not know that until you write about how you would get past something terrible.

Secondly, writing about how you rebound from a tough situation shows you that your worst fears might not actually be so bad. Sure, the worst outcome may be painful, hard and even embarrassing if it happens, but it’s still not the end of the world. 

3. Finally, write about incredible success

Okay, you’ve planned for what happens if you fail. But what if you succeed wildly instead? What if everything goes right and you get exactly what you want?

Writing about the incredible success that could happen in place of an anxious fear helps you realize that you might not be thinking about “the other side” of things—the side where good things can (and often do!) happen. 

Once you’ve established all three scenarios (failure, recovery and success), you’ll feel a lot more prepared to take on whatever you’re feeling anxious about. 

4. Bonus tip: practice, practice, practice 

If you’re dealing specifically with presentation anxiety or some other “performance” anxiety, the best way to overcome it is to practice your material. There is no substitute for knowing your stuff. Better yet, anxiety has a very hard time derailing you when you know what you’re talking about—even if you think you’ll flub your lines or fail at a speech, you’ll be very surprised to find yourself remembering exactly what to do in the moment. 

While you might still get anxious before a speech, presentation or play, being prepared is the best anxiety-killer out there. After all, there’s nothing anxiety can do to stop you from knowing what you know!

Need more specific anxiety advice? Talk to one of our coaches about it. 

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