There are occasions when feeling anxious is normal and understandable as a business leader. I recall a professor writing on the board during a business class: "What keeps you awake at night?"

Often, we lose sleep over things we can’t control, get the sweaty palms before giving a speech, experience dry mouth when waiting for an answer to close the deal, or any other physical symptoms that indicate anxiety may be present. Being a business owner places you in a variety of circumstances where you may feel anxious, but it is something to concern yourself with if you find that it is interfering with the day-to-day activities of your job.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. These feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships. In fact, there are a variety of anxiety disorders--combined, they account for the most common mental disorder.

There are three types of anxiety disorders: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. Each can be debilitating with irrational fears and worries. However, anxiety in general can be disruptive and here are the five Ps to manage it:

1. Perspective

Place things in perspective by thinking of the worst-case scenario. What can be the worst thing that can happen as a result of what I am experiencing? Often what we perceive as the worst case simply isn't rationale and actually not the worst. Putting things in perspective means looking at what is truly real and what is a problem that is imaginary or rather built up in your mind. A key point to anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome as defined by Google. With this being the case think through all the possibilities to discover that everything in fact has an outcome and that it often isn't as dire as perceived. What you will find to be practical is to realize that what will be will be and to let it go.

2. Pray

We often save our spirituality for Sunday not realizing the power of prayer during the workweek. Prayer is for more than asking God for something, but also finding solace for where you are at a certain point in life or even within the day. Pray to seek meaning of what causes you to fret. You will find a peace and stillness that often accompanies prayer. Curtis Jackson, the entrepreneur also known as 50 Cent, has said that you should either pray or worry but not to do both. When anxiety creeps up on you say a prayer to release those feelings that you haven't been able to shake by worrying.

3. Permission

Give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling and then let go to move on. A moment of recognizing what you feel is real may be just what you need to move past a moment of dread. See yourself experiencing that feeling and then allowing it to be released by taking in air and breathing deeply. We often feel out of control of our emotions, but if you give yourself permission to feel then you will have some semblance of control which allows you to then move beyond feeling anxious.

4. Physician

Seek the care of a psychiatrist who can help you with psychotherapy, coping and possible medication that will alleviate intense reoccurring anxiety. There are practices to help people learn to cope with their anxiety and the accompanying fear. It may be breathing techniques, or actual Psychotherapy: According to WebMD, psychotherapy (a type of counseling) addresses the emotional response to mental illness. It is a process in which trained mental health professionals help people by talking through strategies for understanding and dealing with their disorder. It furthers states that cognitive-behavioral therapy is useful whereby a candidate learns to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings.

5. Physical

Aside from taking supplements to counter any nutritional deficiencies you should work out and exercise. Exercise doesn't have to mean hitting the gym and working up a sweat--it can be walking around the parking lot or doing chores around the office. It is expending energy that can be released. It also allows you think about the task at hand as opposed to fretting about something that may or may not happen. So when you start feeling tense, anxious and fearful, start moving. While physical movement will have mental benefits, if you are able to work your heart through cardio exercise it will create feel good endorphins, which is both physically rewarding and mentally beneficial. You can't get it wrong by getting physical.

Published on: Jul 29, 2015