In a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers at Northwestern University came to the conclusion that feelings of anxiety can lead to unethical behavior.

The study, summarized in the British Psychological Society's Research Digest, took 63 student participants and made them feel either neutral, calm, or anxious by playing different types of music.

The subjects then participated in simple tasks for pay, determining their own earnings with an easily cheated honor system.

The more anxious the participants, the more likely they were to cheat. As the researchers put it, "Anxiety increases threat perception, which in turn, results in self-interested unethical behaviors."

In other words, the more anxious you feel, the more likely you are to look out for yourself, even if it means breaking the rules.

It's just one more reason to learn how to manage and overcome anxiety, a powerful emotion that negatively affects everything from sleep to relationships.

If you're prone to anxiety, you're far from alone.

We seem to be living in anxious times. But there are things you can do to manage and even overcome anxiety before it kills and ruins your reputation.

1. Breathe.

Anxious people have poor breathing habits, which further fuels their anxiety. To control anxiety, work on slowing down and taking more controlled, slower, shallower breaths.

2. Let go of self-judgment.

Anxious people constantly pressure themselves to be perfect. They worry about saying or doing the wrong thing so they are perpetually judging their behavior. Learning how to accept and understand yourself without judgment--even when you're trying to improve--has a great calming effect.

3. Catch yourself.

Anxious feelings are often a warning sign, a signal that you're uncomfortable or unhappy in your current situation. Put together a list of questions you can ask yourself when you begin to feel anxious: What evidence do I have that something is really wrong? Is there a chance that I'm making this bigger than it is? What am I really upset about?

4. Speak your feelings.

Anxiety tends to get worse when you try to hide or fight it, possibly because of the additional stress of fighting your emotional state. Learn to speak what you're feeling--and if it's anxiety, be up front about it.

5. Manage your fears.

The most reliable way to cure anxiety is to simply learn how to manage it. Learn what frightens you in anxiety-inducing situations--whether it's loss of control, inadequacy, or something else altogether. Then learn to reassure yourself and lessen that fear. Get help if you need it.

There's no magic cure for anxiety but there are ways to manage it before it ruins you. With some proven techniques and a strong commitment, you can learn to lessen the affects of anxiety and improve your life--not to mention your ethics and reputation--considerably.