10 ways to reduce anxiety and stress levels

High Anxiety (album)

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Below you will find 10 ways to reduce anxiety and stress levels in your personal and professional life. Anxiety and stress are loyal companions of anyone who works in the business world. Today you have to make a special effort to reduce anxiety and stress levels to protect your health and to enhance your performance.

We have tried all these techniques and know they work. So this is based on research as well as our own experiences.

The 10 techniques presented below can significantly help to reduce anxiety and stress levels in your life:

1 – Solution-focused attitude


One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to have a solution-focused attitude. In other words, it is essential to be focused on the solution rather than the problem. For example, let’s use my own real-life example when our luggage was lost by the airline and delivered only 1 month later. Moreover, when the luggage finally arrived, it was visible that all the bags were damaged beyond repair.

Getting really angry at this point is pointless since it already happened. Moreover, I could not learn anything from this situation since I had done everything right and it was completely out of my control. I did not panic or complain. Such negative emotions spill over and could increase my anxiety and stress levels. I needed to find ways to reduce anxiety and stress levels, not increase them.

I immediately adopted a solution-focused attitude, to reduce anxiety levels. The problem was clear – it is unfair that my luggage was damaged and I had to bear the cost. What could I do to correct it? A solution that I accepted was to send a formal letter of complaint to the airline and try to have them compensate me for the loss incurred.

Using this example, the steps to follow in adopting a solution-focused attitude to reduce anxiety levels can be summarized as follows:

1) Try to learn from the situation (if possible) to ensure that it does not happen again in the future.

2) Accept that it is a sunk cost (you cannot change it, it is in the past).

3) Focus on solving the problem. What can you do right now to improve this situation? Come up with a number of actions, don’t just stop at one (This is only appropriate for important problems. Insignificant problems do not deserve a large time investment and any good-enough-solution will be acceptable). Sometimes, as you continue brainstorming, you may come up with even better ideas than your original ideas.

4) If you struggle to find an appropriate solution, consider asking others for advice on what could be done to solve this problem (if relevant). You can ask your family, relatives, colleagues or post your question on Internet forums. Other people are likely have experienced the same problem and can share their lessons with you.

2 – Always forgive everybody and for anything


You need to do it for yourself. You need to do it to reduce anxiety and stress levels in your life. It does not mean that you will trust this person again, especially if this individual have not changed and does not deserve to be given another chance. You need to forgive so you do not carry a huge load with you and do not continue damaging your health.

If you will not make an effort to forgive everybody for everything than it will negatively affect your life by creating anger and unhappiness due to past events. To live up to your real potential and be truly effective as well as successful in your career, you need to ensure that you do not carry around this baggage.

Make this effort and it will greatly help you to reduce anxiety in your life.

3 – Responsibly live in the “now”


Eliminate worries about past events and things in the future that you cannot control. Yesterday ended last night. Tomorrow may never come. It most likely will come but there are no guarantees. Today is all you have for certain.

4 – Anticipate and prepare


Think of ways to reduce anxiety and stress levels in your life prior to unpleasant events occurring. Some stressful situations can be easily anticipated based on experience and general knowledge.

For example, the end of a work project is usually the most stressful time because the team often has to work late nights and weekends to deliver the document before the deadline. As a project manager or, even as a team member, you may prepare for such a situation by working harder at the beginning and setting internal deadlines (which occur before the external deadline) to ensure the deliverable is ready without any significant stress placed on the team or yourself.

You can talk to your co-workers about how to structure the project and plan better to reduce anxiety and stress levels by reducing the “crunch period”, and hence, reducing anxiety and stress levels on the team.

Another example is preparation for university examinations. Students know that examination preparation periods are highly stressful. Therefore, one can start working a little bit harder and much earlier to reduce anxiety and stress levels during the examination period.

5 – Delegate


Certain tasks can be delegated. Delegation makes your “to do list” shorter and helps to reduce anxiety and stress levels in one’s work and personal life. Delegation also allows lower level employees an opportunity to grow. Therefore, if done correctly, it is mutually beneficial.

If you do not have yet anyone reporting to you then delegation is still possible. In such a case, the task can be delegated to someone at the same level, usually with approval of your superior.

However, it is important to remember that delegation must be mutually beneficial. When delegating, it is important to delegate some authority together with responsibility. What this means is that you need to delegate the task together with the authority to make decisions to achieve the task. Only such delegation brings real value to both parties. If responsibility is delegated, but every minor decision about the task must still be made by you, than your time will not be freed and the other party will also not benefit from the exercise.

You may actually create more work by having to double-check everything. Your stress level is also likely to go up. And the lower level employee will not gain the true developmental benefits that delegation can offer. Moreover, his/her stress level is also likely to go up.

So, to reduce anxiety and the stress levels of all parties concerned, the next time you try to delegate – remember to delegate the appropriate amount of authority together with responsibility.

6 – Eliminate tasks


To reduce anxiety and stress levels in your life, some tasks can be completely eliminated. In other words, some tasks can be left undone. It is very important to eliminate unnecessary tasks, which do not bring any value or which bring value that is not worth the investment of your time and effort.

Eliminating such tasks generally does not have any tangible disadvantages but saves time for more important tasks. An example of such tasks could be reading junk email, carefully reading and replying to every email you are cc’d on, attending every “let’s go out for drinks” event with friends and handling tasks which are not your responsibility (such tasks should be redirected).

7- Learn to see the good in things


Learn to see the good side of any situation. In other words, try to see the glass half full rather than half empty. For example, if you were asked to present to an important client with only 24 hours notice, you can try to remind yourself that you were asked because you are a valuable part of the team and seen as a capable individual who is able to deliver at such short notice.

Moreover, after a successful presentation, you will further strengthen your reputation with your superiors because everyone will know the short deadline that you were presented with and how you still managed to prepare well and impress the client. Remembering that this is an opportunity to enhance your career growth will help to reduce anxiety and will allow you to focus 100% on the task to make sure you can take advantage of this opportunity.

8 – Use support you may have


Learn to use your support group to reduce anxiety and stress levels in your life. If you are in the middle of a very stressful situation at work, it may be very helpful to speak about it with somebody who cares about you and will have your best interests at heart. Just sharing your experience may help you to reduce anxiety and stress levels.

9 – Breathing correctly is important


Learn to breathe deeply and slowly in stressful situations. This will help you to reduce anxiety and stress levels and will facilitate more clear thinking and better decision-making. When breathing deeply, mental clarity improves due to increased oxygen intake. One breathing exercise that you can use follows:

Breath in – count slowly 1,2,3,4 (mentally)

Hold – count slowly 1,2,3,4 (mentally)

Breath out- count slowly 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 (mentally)

Repeat 5 times. Try it now – you will see the difference.

10 – Establish a stress-management routine


It is also helpful to establish a routine that you could follow to reduce anxiety and stress levels in your life. For most people, the daily activities are often similar. We follow certain more or less similar patterns during the workdays and undertake similar activities during the weekends.

You can think about the most efficient and pleasant way to do activities that you repeatedly do and try to use the new routine to reduce anxiety and stress levels in your life.

For example, if it feels that you never have enough time in the day to complete all your work and you know that your most productive time is in the morning (which is common), than try to block out your time in the mornings from all distractions and focus uninterruptedly on the most difficult work at that time. Make it a routine and try to ensure that others work around it (as long as it is professional and feasible to make such a request). This way you can complete your work on time, which will help you reduce anxiety and stress levels.

If you want to be truly successful then you have to accept that you will be in stressful situations. You cannot avoid it. Business is tough.

Therefore, to reduce anxiety and stress levels, you need to develop or adapt techniques to effectively manage anxiety and stress. The points above are techniques that are a good start in selecting your own arsenal of tricks that you can use to strengthen yourself.

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