Anxiety is a common experience—particularly in the workplace—but that doesn’t mean common solutions are a guaranteed fix. If the power of positivity alone isn’t enough to prevent anxiety, what else can you try?

Here are six ways to manage anxiety and improve your mindset in and out of the workplace—and you can start these today.

Identify Positive Feelings

Focusing on how you don’t want to feel can make those negative thoughts pop up more often and more persistently and simply avoiding anxiety-inducing thoughts can only delay problems. Instead, bring your attention to feelings you do want. For example, maybe you want to feel calmer, more in control and confident, or carefree. Concentrating on how you'd like to feel can make it easier to start working toward that goal.

Mind Over Body

“Fake it till you make it” may not help your career, but it’s been proven to help anxiety. The way you behave can affect the biological feedback your nervous system receives. So, if you feel anxious and behave in ways that reflect that—think, hand wringing, foot tapping, fist clenching, and rapid breathing—your sympathetic nervous system will remain on alert. Instead, engaging in actions that reflect calm like progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and stretching, can signal the part of your nervous system responsible for relaxation to take over.

Breathe Easy

Focusing on your breath and intentionally changing your breathing rate can help increase your emotional control. During anxious moments, if you notice rapid or shallow breathing, try the following exercise:

  1. If possible, find a peaceful area at your workplace where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Take a few moments to focus on your breath.
  3. Allow your breath to flow as deeply into your abdomen as feels natural, without forcing it.
  4. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  5. Gradually allow your breath to slow to a steady rhythm.

Routines Rule

If you feel anxious, mindfully following routines like making a cup of tea or tidying your desk, can help you stay in the present moment instead of worrying about what happened in the past or stressing over future what-ifs. As you go about your routine, take note of every detail, such as the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations around you. This will help distract you from anxiety-provoking thoughts.

Relax Your Muscles

Anyone who's ever had a knot in their back during a challenging day in the office knows that anxious feelings can lead to tight, tense muscles. Taking a quick break to stretch, go for a short walk, or even just change your posture, can release physical tension, alleviate stress, and allow your mind to have an easier time doing the same. 

Notice the Change

As soon as you notice any positive change to your mood, acknowledge it! This can compound the effects of your progress and retrain your brain to focus on positive feelings, rather than negative emotions. Celebrate small victories, whether it's completing a task, overcoming a challenge, or simply feeling a moment of calm amidst the workday chaos.

Want more info? Check out the full article and others like it on The Upside here.