In today’s business culture, there’s constant pressure to be competitive, hard-working, and successful. But are we just not going to talk about the inevitable stress, nerves, and unease we may be dealing with as well?
We all encounter stressors and challenges in life, no matter how accustomed we are to our daily routine. It’s important to know that if you’re experiencing these feelings of anxiety, you’re not alone.
In fact, over 40 million American adults suffer from an anxiety disorder, or nearly 20% of our population. And COVID-19 is certainly not helping America’s anxiety. It’s very possible that you’re surrounded by individuals daily who suffer from the same thing, but they may just be hiding it. Even some of our favorite celebrities and role models are fighting the same fight, too.
Some of the most successful people we admire have overcome challenges to be where they are today:
- Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, most known for his ungodly athleticism and successful acting career, appears to many as a symbol of strength. Further to his vigor, he’s often cast in movies as the hero that saves the day. What many don’t know about him is his secret battle with mental health issues. In an interview with Express, he opened up about his struggles, saying “It took me a long time to realize it, but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it in. You’re not alone.”
- Kristen Bell, famous American actress, singer, and director, has experienced great success in her career. She has a bubbly personality and a cheery smile, but she also struggles with anxiety and depression. Kristen has been able to make great leaps forward by seeking professional help without shame.
- Television and radio personality, Carson Daly, recently went public about his fight with anxiety. Much of his work is done live on air for an audience of millions. This undoubtedly is anxiety-inducing, but he claims that his struggle with severe anxiety started at a young age. He internalized his anxiety in silence for years and eventually talked to a friend, realizing he wasn’t alone.
In order for these celebrities to be as successful as they are, they had to face their anxiety and find coping mechanisms that worked for them. Along with millions of Americans, I too suffer from anxiety. In addition to working for Manzella Marketing, I’m a full-time MBA student who constantly feels pressure to be successful in every phase of my life.
While everyone copes with anxiety in different ways, I’d like to share with you a few ways that have helped me take a step in the right direction. You may want to try them even if you don’t experience anxiety:
- Meditation App—While meditating is proven effective, I found it difficult to clear my mind while already being overwhelmed. It wasn’t until I discovered guided meditation, offered through meditation apps, that I was able to experience the true benefits of it. While all apps are different, most offer an array of guided meditations – which is really a narrated audio with soothing background noises – varying both in length and topic. Categories can include how to manage stress, improve your sleep, cope with anxiety, and be mindful at work. Although I prefer to meditate in a relaxing environment, I also find great benefit listening on my way to work or during my lunch break. Some of the most highly-rated meditation apps are: “Insight Timer”, “Calm” and “Headspace”.
- Exercise & Yoga—According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise and physical activity has benefits of reducing stress and tension, as well as improving mood, self-esteem, and sleep. It’s proven that even five minutes of aerobic exercise can make a positive change and begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
- Light Therapy—We all know of the benefits of natural sunlight and Vitamin D, but living in Western New York, we unfortunately may be suffering from a deprivation of natural sunlight. This can affect our mood, energy, focus, and sleep. After hearing people rave about light therapy, or “Happy Lights” as they’re called, I knew I needed to try one myself. They essentially simulate sunshine and can be used in the comfort of your own home. I have my light at my desk at home and use it while I do my work (and actually prefer it over a lamp!).
- Essential Oils—Some people find great benefits from essential oils. Here are some ways they can be used:
- Diffuse it at home using an essential oil diffuser
- Roll it directly on skin with an essential oil roll-on stick
- Wear an essential oil diffusing necklace
- (Be sure that this does not interfere with those around, so either do this in a private space or make sure those around you share the same enthusiasm about essential oils.)
- Calling a Friend or Family Member—This is a very important tool for coping with anxiety. Often talking to family or friends when you’re experiencing difficulties or feel as if you’re “stuck” can be very liberating and can really propel you to move forward.
- Invest Time in Yourself—Take a minute for yourself to do what YOU love or what makes YOU feel better. Whether it’s spending more time on your hobbies, listening to music, or enjoying time with family or friends, find things that make you feel good and happy– and include them in your regular routine.
While some of these options seem unrealistic as they require time (which many of us don’t have), I’d like to share this metaphor with you to possibly change your mind.
If I am in a car trying to make it to a destination, stopping for gas will take extra time. If I try to push through and don’t take time to fill up my tank, I may never make it to my destination. The little bit of time it may take each day to do things that are good for us might seem to be adding more to our busy schedule, but we must remember that sometimes we need to pull over and fill up our tank to reach our destination.
Through your journey, don’t be too hard on yourself and remember a step forward is a step in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, call a friend, or seek professional help. You have the power to be the boss of your own anxiety. Most importantly, don’t forget to be kind to others as they may be fighting battles of their own. A simple smile or hello can change someone’s day. Just remember, you’re not alone.