Dealing with Anxiety as a Boss Mom

Our emotions are information.

I often ask clients to tell me what the good thing about anxiety and depression are -- a question that is frequently met with blank stares. I know the look. It says, "What are you talking about? This feeling stinks and can be totally debilitating, and is getting in my way."


Anxiety is your brain trying really hard to protect you. It's your brain thinking it's doing the right thing. Like a dog barking at the mail person - it sees a threat and is trying to help! It doesn't understand that THIS person coming up to your door isn't a threat - it's just doing what it thinks is it's job. It just doesn't always understand when we are safe and when it can shush and lie down.


Sometimes it's sneakier. Anxiety can be disguised in a lot of behaviors, and often we aren't aware of the fearful root cause. For example, one of my big neon flags is when I am procrastinating something. Somehow I keep not getting to that one to do list item -- or maybe it doesn't even make it on my list because I don't want to face it's existence in black and white! I have this task I am supposed to do, and I know it would serve me in some way to accomplish it, but I am procrastinating like a champ.


Another way anxiety can show up is irritability. Irritability and anxiety are often dance partners, which is not the best way to head into a business interaction or parenting and other relationships!


A fourth way anxiety shows up are as loose or weak boundaries. If we are anxious about something, or insecure about our own level of competence or a decision we have made, we often allow a lot of wiggle room for folks to take advantage. For example, if I have set my speaking rate at a certain price, but doubt my competence I might be tempted to give discounts or speak for free -- in a way that is unhealthy or unrealistic for my own life.


Anxiety when left unchecked, can definitely get in our way as business owners.


One way to get that barking dog to quiet down is to ask your brain, "What is the function of this anxiety? What is the education you are trying to give me right now?"


Okay so, anxiety is information and if left unchecked, can definitely get in our way. There are. Luckily solutions for this, and sometimes awareness is enough to give us kind of a kick in the butt to just become aware that oh, that's the pattern, that's the thing that I'm experiencing, I can name it, I know it. I have tools to deal with that.


Solution 1: Use the education for preparation


The help anxiety is trying to provide is preparation. For example, If I'm nervous about speaking in front of a group, a little anxiety might lead me to prepare a little bit. If I'm nervous about performing on stage, it might prompt me to go rehearse. If I'm nervous about an earthquake happening, I might put together an earthquake kit. So anxiety serves a really important function for us as humans. It won't let us forget about the things our brain thinks we should prepare for.