Overcoming Stress and Anxiety

Blog written by Irene Poku

In these times of immense uncertainty, we are all prone to worrying about what the future holds. However, it’s imperative to be mindful of your wellbeing by not worrying about issues that are not within your control. Worrying is overthinking things and it leads to anxiety and stress.

Constant worrying about the worst-case scenario leads to rumination, which is the focused attention on one’s distress and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions. If not checked, this will result in ill health e.g. reduced immunity and inability to make sound decisions. The key to battling the worrying, anxiety, and the stress feedback loop is to stop before you spiral. Instead of suppressing the emotion, you can use this 3 step process to acknowledge the emotions and break the circuit.

1. Catch it – acknowledge the emotion and the thought e.g. what sensations am I feeling

Perhaps you are at risk of losing your job and you feel anxious about your next employment opportunity. 

You cannot stop thinking about the possibility of getting into financial difficulties.

2. Check it – is it true i.e. an irrefutable fact, is there proof?

(i) Although you may be at risk, you may not lose your job after all

(ii) Even if you lost your job, you may be eligible for financial assistance, mortgage break, etc. to tide you over

(iii) Currently you cannot be 100% certain that the worst-case scenario that is causing your sleepless nights 

will occur.

3. Change it – rewrite the thought, look on the bright side and choose a positive story

Change your thoughts to the most positive option that could happen

(i) You may get to keep your job

(ii) You may get a new job within the next few months

(iii) As one door closes another opens – new opportunities to change jobs, retrain or set up your own business!

In most cases, the issues you worry about do not materialise. Analyse the issues and distinguish between those that are within your influence and those that are not. This way, you focus your time and energy only on things you can control.

Monitor how you feel on a daily basis in order to determine actions that elevate your mood and repeat those actions often. In the same vein, stop actions that make you feel low.

Some helpful tips to combat worrying, stress, and anxiety are:

● Acts of kindness (to yourself and to others)

● Practising gratitude

● Meditation

● Connecting with friends

● Physical exercise.

Incorporate as many of these in your daily schedule to improve your wellbeing.

Last but not least, if you feel overwhelmed (by worry, stress, and anxiety), seek help and don’t suffer in silence.

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day!

“Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present” – Albert Camus

Irene Poku

Personal and Business Coach