Brief 

Leaders can tame their feelings of anxiety by not blaming others for their feelings, avoiding dwelling on anxious thoughts, getting organized and by creating structure and renewing relationships to feel connected and supported, writes Marlene Chism. “Much of our anxiety is due to our unmanaged thoughts about the situation, and not so much the situation itself,” Chism writes.

 

Insight

The leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum is anxiety. “By 2030, the cost to the global economy of all mental health problems could amount to $16 trillion,” WEF reports. That’s just eight years away.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders in the United States affect over 40 million adults every year. Is there any wonder? We’re living in times of uncertainty and instability:

From political division, conspiracy theories, quiet quitting, racial tensions, social unrest, recession and global warming, there’s an abundance of concerns that affect our well-being, and productivity. While we might not be able to solve a global problem, we can take practical steps to cope in times of certainty. Here are seven practical ways to reduce anxiety in difficult times.

 

1. Challenge your thoughts

Much of our anxiety is due to our unmanaged thoughts about the situation, and not so much the situation itself. Whether it’s obsessing about politics, focusing on world problems, or concerns about a future that isn’t here yet, many of our thoughts are simply ideas, opinions, beliefs or philosophical points of view.

We can’t stop thinking thoughts, but we can stop believing every thought that we think. Remind yourself that just because you think something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. When you notice a negative or repetitive thought, say to yourself, “Thanks for sharing,” then decide to shift your attention.

 

2. Stop ruminating

Rumination is defined as engaging in a repetitive negative thought process that loops continuously in the mind without end or completion. This habit creates new neuro-connections for the purpose of repetitive thinking. These habitual thoughts over time create deep grooves in the neuro-circuits of the brain that only builds on the negativity.

 

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