Make anxiety work for you

Working in issues management, I’ve learned over and again that anxiety is contagious. The fight or flight response is meant to protect us, individually, but also as a group. New mothers, nervous managers presenting a concept to peers, first-timers singing karaoke with workmates, trauma nurses, tinder daters…you know how it feels – your nerves and discomfort easily transfer to the person you most want to impress, comfort or connect with. It’s a human trait that we signal our weakness and fear like a huge, flashing neon and the people most likely to read and feel it are those we care most about. So think that over. You have the most to lose when losing your cool around your most-loveds.

I’ve learned the hardest way possible to pay attention to your vocal tone, body language, the words you choose and any other way you can express your feelings. I’m also daily reminded by my child’s unadulterated reactions to my stress that it’s up to me to control myself.

The fact is that stress and anxiety are mental constructs, reactions you can choose and they’re scaleable. Anybody who’s missed or narrowly missed a flight knows your attitude matters. Shriek, cry and blame if you want, or accept and deal. Maybe ask for a stopover. It is up to you. The people around you may be taking their cues from and reacting to your chosen response. I know I want to teach my son to roll with and see setbacks as potential adventures, at least lessons. Point is, you do get to decide, and you can do that in advance or just in the split second; you still choose who and how you are. Anxiety is a both a mental and physical response, check which one is ruling you and if it’s working for, or against you.

Please feel welcome to talk to me through the comments, I love your feedback.

Photo credit: porschelinn via Visualhunt / CC BY