Struggles with stress and anxiety can be frustrating, but have you ever considered anxiety to be a positive thing?
In her book Nervous Energy: Harness the Power of Your Anxiety, clinical psychologist Chloe Carmichael argues that anxiety is actually a positive that can be used to your advantage. Through simple techniques that make you more aware of your emotions, you can become in control of your anxiety and begin to optimize your mental health for more success. I want to share with you three ways you can begin to harness your nervous energy to have a happier and more successful career and life.
1. Embrace Your Anxiety
To high-achieving individuals, anxiety might seem like something to be ashamed about or to hide, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The first step to using that anxiety for more success is to acknowledge and embrace it. As Carmichael says, anxiety is actually a healthy function of our brains. Your mind is stimulating preparatory behaviors for what will be a stressful event. Once you are able to harness these preparatory impulses effectively, you will find that your anxiety is a plus that will encourage and aid you in your success.
2. Meditation and Mindfulness
Once you've begun to recognize and acknowledge your anxiety, meditation and mindfulness can help you begin to understand it more deeply. Understanding it equips you to soothe your emotions, tackle the stressor, or do whatever needs to be done to address the anxiety. By practicing mindfulness and meditation, we are able to listen deeply to our anxiety and what actions it's calling us to do. Carmichael teaches mindfulness and a few simple breathing techniques in her book that will help you stay grounded.
3. Name Your Emotions
Naming your emotions sounds simple, but it might be more difficult than you think. One technique Carmichael suggests is to make your to-do list for the day and label each task with the emotion you feel. Knowing what your emotional state will be during each activity can help you prepare effectively for the event, and is a great way to channel those anxious feelings into tangible actions.
As busy entrepreneurs with fast-paced lives, we may be prone to only see how our anxiety and stress holds us back--and overlook the secret of how it can actually propel us forward. I challenge you to see anxiety as a potential superpower that, when harnessed correctly, can drive you to do bigger and better things than ever before.