It’s important to think about how you can properly manage your stress and anxiety. In fact, according to experts, doing so could boost your company’s success.
There are techniques to ease severe anxiety so you can succeed as an entrepreneur without compromising your health.
It’s no wonder that we entrepreneurs are concerned since we are so engaged in our businesses, both financially and emotionally. Entrepreneurs, according to a UCSF study, may be more sensitive to mental health issues than the general population.
“Eat shit for 4 years and drink champagne for the rest of your life,” remarked serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. The phrase was even turned into a poster at one point. The idea is that giving up everything for a few years, even basic concerns like what you’re doing is the best way to succeed with your startup.
Leaving aside the fact that this work ethic approach is one, but far from the only, winning formula — I like the “build slow and steady” approach — the stress and anxiety of operating a business rarely go away after the first few years. I’ve been the CEO of Jotform for 16 years and counting, and I can tell that the early days were challenging.
But first, let’s take a closer look at why we’re so worried.
Anxiety is a habit that may be broken.
An entrepreneur’s resting heart rate appears to be a worry at times. There is always something to do.
The list goes on and on: a shift in focus, a new competition, a coming launch, and so on.
Anxiety is a habit, according to Dr. Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist and associate professor at Brown University’s School of Public Health. It creates a trigger/behavior/reward loop by triggering particular behaviors — generally ways to escape unpleasant feelings, such as drinking alcohol or binge-watching Netflix — and creating a trigger/behavior/reward loop.
Worrying is one of the most typical anxiety habits, and it is probably all too familiar to any entrepreneur. While worrying provides people a sense of control, it is actually harmful, according to Dr. Brewer.
“There’s this correlation mistake that our brain thinks is causality… We might be overly concerned. We might come up with a solution, but it doesn’t mean we did so because we were worried.
And there’s plenty of proof that worrying narrows our concentration to the point where we can’t think creatively.”
Here are some expert-backed ways for dealing with anxiety to keep our thinking sharp and our worrying under control.
1. Dismiss the causal link:
You probably already know if you’re a worrier. Instead of allowing your worrying to go unabated, take a second to analyze whether your worries are actually producing important consequences.
We can investigate whether our brains are making false causal links, as Dr. Brewer tells Harvard Business Review’s The Anxious Achiever podcast. If we believe we need to be concerned in order to prepare for a terrible event, we can try the reverse. “We can plan without worrying and see which one comes out on top.”
Because, when we’re worried, it’s like turning on our car and pushing on the gas in normal, right? It doesn’t move us very far, but it does burn a lot of fuel.”
Recognizing whether or not you’re spending mental energy is the first step toward breaking the worry cycle.
These Techniques Aid Entrepreneurs in Dealing with Anxiety and Depression
2. Draw out your habit loops:
According to Dr. Brewer, knowing is half the battle. Recognizing your triggers can provide you with a great starting point, even if you can’t modify the behavior right away.
Every issue that arose, especially in the first few years of having my own business, increased my anxiety – from user issues to staff issues, it felt like I was constantly anxious.
It felt like I was always putting out fires. Not all forms of stress are harmful. It may even benefit us at times, but I soon had to admit that my triggers were everywhere, and I was becoming burned out. A typical day at work was a maze of tension. I needed to adapt, which for me meant learning to share.
Understanding the factors that cause you to worry can help you in developing a strategy for gradually reducing anxiety.
3. Develop self-awareness:
Recognizing your loops goes hand-in-hand with practicing self-awareness. Experts recommend practicing regular practice to increase self-awareness rather than just tuning in when anxiety arises.
MIT Sloan School of Management’s Trish Cotter and Kathleen Stetson with a team of accelerator program creators experimented with self-awareness.
“If entrepreneurs understood more about their own systems — their thoughts, feelings, and natural physical and emotional responses,” they suggested. “It could make better personal decisions in the face of the everyday demands of the business.”
They also presented a framework for self-awareness that included:
- recognizing current thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations
- naming those sensations
- reflecting on patterns throughout time
- making informed decisions based on self-reflection.
88 percent of participants had formed regular mindfulness practice at the end of the program. Where 93 percent of them believed that self-awareness practice may help entrepreneurs construct more successful enterprises.
Cotter and Stetson did not force participants to undertake a self-awareness practice, which is a significant drawback of the study.
“We perfectly stated the research-backed benefits and shown how it could be included into their already busy life.”
Entrepreneurs speak the language of achievements, and the numbers speak for themselves when it comes to self-awareness. Developing your own mindfulness practice can help you in getting that ideal state of mind.
4. Aim for good enough:
Finally, if you find yourself worrying about perfection, ask yourself if you could achieve the same results with less effort (and stress). “If we can find that sweet spot where we do a decent enough job for our managers or whatever,” Dr. Brewer says, “our bosses will be happy.”
“Our managers will be happier if we can find that sweet spot where we make a good enough job, which for most of us is a fine job for our bosses or whatever.”
In the end, it’s a return calculation. It’s better to concentrate your energy elsewhere if another day of constantly adjusting a project would only deliver slightly better results (like the above-mentioned self-awareness practice).
It may sound odd to entrepreneurs, but sometimes “good enough” is a better aim for your and your company’s overall health.
Although becoming a more balanced entrepreneur isn’t the stuff of viral tweets and posters, it has helped me in becoming a more balanced entrepreneur.
Over a previous couple of decades, I’ve worked hard to expand my business. I hope that the methods listed above can help you in reducing anxiety and being a healthier, happier, and possibly more successful entrepreneur.