No matter the triggers, we all experience anxiety in our lives from time to time. When those moments happen, it’s possible to lose sight of what’s actually important to us. We start being driven by worries and fears, rather than our values and interests. We also may unintentionally disengage from our jobs, children, friends, hobbies, communities, and many other areas that are important to us when we struggle to manage our anxiety.
Some key components for managing anxiety and stress which can be applied to all areas of life include:
- Mindfulness – Anxiety lives in the past and in the future, so it’s important to stay in the present rather than dwelling on what has happened or what may happen.
- Identifying Meaning – Whether it’s kids, spouses, traveling, or anything in between, focusing on values large and small that give us purpose can pull us out of our anxiety.
- Commitment to Value-Driven Action – When our anxious minds urge us to worry about what might be, using mindfulness and meaning to select an action that is in line with our core values in the present moment can feel motivating and refreshing.
A common area where anxiety can take over is at work. Some specific tips to create Mindfulness, Meaning, and Value-Driven Action at work include:
- Infuse your environment with meaning – Whether it’s a photo of your kids, a calendar of Mediterranean beaches that you one day hope to visit, or that leftover dinner that your spouse whipped up for you last night, bring reminders of what is most dear to you into your work space for motivation.
- Utilize your 5 senses – Think of activities that can pleasantly engage your 5 senses while at work for a quick break such as a favorite tea or coffee drink, Sudoku or crossword puzzles, fidget objects such as magnets or silly putty, or a favorite song of the moment.
- Find an accountability buddy – Having a coworker to whom you can announce your intended committed actions for the day can be helpful to hold you accountable; knowing that you will be reporting back to him/her whether you’ve completed your goal.
Comments and opinions are from Dr. Madeline William, Psy.D., alone. She is a licensed-psychologist who treats patients using LiveHealth Online Psychology.
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