I recently watched another great movie starring Tom Hanks called Bridge of Spies. The main plot of the movie revolved around a Russian spy who was caught on American soil during the Cold War and efforts made to exchange him for an American U2 pilot captured in Russia. Tom Hanks played the role of the lawyer of this Russian spy and throughout the movie asks the spy whether he was worried about the situation he was in. Each time the spy looked back and asked, in the most honest tone, “would that help?”
Worrying is a natural response to anxiety caused by negative thoughts about what could happen. Very often what we think might happen is often worse than what actually happens, because as humans we have a tendency to think for the worst. However, worrying is counterproductive. It prevents action because it paralyzes action through anxiety. If you are too busy worrying about something, then that’s time you’re not spending doing something.
Given the opportunity, small business owners will have plenty to worry about; paying employees, making a profit, being successful, repaying a loan, the list goes on. Worrying does not get you anywhere, doing something does. Fortunately, there are simple actions you can do right now to alleviate your worrying so that you can continue working towards your business goals. The more you do these simple actions the better you will be at stopping all your worries.
Write down what worries you
It sounds simple enough. By writing down what you are worrying about you are immediately allowing your brain to think of other things. You’ve written it down so your brain doesn’t need to remember it. Write down everything which is worrying you, whether it is business-related or from your personal life. A University of Chicago study shows that what you will realise is that on paper your worries won’t seem as daunting.
Get on your feet
One of the most successful ways to stop worrying is to give your mind something else to think about. Go out for a walk, go cycling or do some sports. Exercise not only relaxes you but will also distract you and stop you from worrying. If you’re stilling worrying during exercise, then do something more intensive, such as climbing a tree. The American Association for the Advancement of Science produced a study that proves that when you are active you are not allowing your mind to worry.
Calm down and have some chocolate
When you find yourself worrying your heart will beat faster, making your brain work faster, meaning you will be worrying more and more. It’s a vicious cycle and you can stop it by closing your eyes and breath in and out slowly. Go in a quiet room or outside the office and just breathe slowly. This will calm your heart and, since you will be focusing on breathing, you won’t be focusing on what worries you. Once you are calm eat some chocolate, preferably dark, as the study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that, in small quantities, it can help calm your nerves.
Be mindful about worrying about worrying
Imagine your worries were a physical bully and that bully is chasing you down an alley. You have two options, keep running and hope to escape, or face your bully and be done with it. Running means you will be chased again by the bully over and over again. Facing your bully means that your bully will no longer be able to use fear to control you. Accepting what might happen and moving on leads to having less anxiety and being less depressed. This is what a study published in Behavioural Research has shown.