Have you been working hard to meet a deadline? Do you have an important decision to make at home? Do you worry that you do not have enough time and you may make a mistake? Are you feeling irritated, angry and overwhelmed? Have you been so busy lately that you barely had any time to breathe?
Feeling stressed at work does not feel good. And unfortunately, it continues to happen to most of us. According to APA, work is the third largest source of stress for Americans. And trust me there is enough advice on this planet about how to manage your stress.
While exercising, starting a meditation practice and doing yoga are all amazing pieces of advice, they are also something that requires consistent efforts on your part. The results from these practices are not immediate and will not solve your stress on Day 1. Starting a new practice of any kind in your already busy routine can put you into a whole new level of anxiety.
I am not saying that one should not start these practices for long-term improvement. I want to say that they are not your go-tos at first when you are feeling overwhelmed.
In order to conserve energy now, what you need is a printable list below of actionable advice that you can do right away to use in the moment of feeling anxious and stressed…
Step 1: Breathe out all the air you can and breathe in. Repeat 2 times. If you are feeling anxious, breathing out helps to bring you back to deeper breathing.
Step 2: Close your eyes and see where in your body are you feeling your anxiety or overwhelm. Is it your heartbeat? Is it a pain in the back? Is it your stomach? Take your attention to that part of the body. (If closing eyes is too overwhelming, do it with eyes open and focus on an object instead while asking yourself those questions.)
Step 3: Say to yourself: I am feeling overwhelmed and anxious right now. It is completely safe for me to feel this way. I love myself. (Yes, it might seem odd and silly to say this but do it anyway.)
Step 4: Ask yourself: What one small and easy step can I do right now that I have been procrastinating on forever? (or what is one small and easy step that I can do right away that comes to my mind right at this moment)?
Step 5: Take the action and complete the small step that you thought about in Step 4.
Step 6: Express gratitude towards this one small step in your day that was very straightforward and easy.
Step 7: Continue with your work if you feel your anxiety has shifted. Else repeat Steps 1 to 6 few more times to help you get unstuck.
Remember, closing eyes and saying things to yourself might feel weird, awkward and not normal. It is okay to feel that way. You will be doing this for the first time. Anything you do for the first time usually feels odd.
What is important is taking the first step towards solving your overwhelm. You do not need any practice for this. All you need to do is print this article and post it on your table or pin it on Pinterest or bookmark it (please quickly choose one and do not overthink it) and keep it handy.
If you are feeling overwhelmed right now, follow steps 1 to 7. Take one step at a time. The first step itself will help you feel more relaxed to handle your problem with more confidence.
About Sneha: Sneha J is a stress management and confidence strategist and helps you get unstuck in your career, life, and relationships. Get her free 7 Step Roadmap to More Energy, More Connection and More Confidence here