Passive vs. Active Anxiety Management

In what ways are you passively managing your anxiety? By that we mean, how are you letting anxiety subtly get the better of you? How is anxiety changing your behavior and outlook? How are you dealing with your anxiety in ways that give you temporary relief but do nothing to resolve the anxiety itself?

Here are some of our favorite ways to passive manage anxiety at Good Startups HQ:

  • Exercise a lot
  • Eat
  • Drink alcohol
  • Watch Netflix
  • Sing karaoke (loudly, perhaps even while drunk)
  • Let uncomfortable emails pile up in the inbox
  • Avoid having conversations on topics we don’t like
  • Go shopping

What are you doing to avoid feeling the discomfort of your anxiety? Make a list. Better yet, crowd-source the list by having everyone on your team list their favorite distractions and soothing practices.

Now, what about active anxiety management — those things that make you feel better because they are actually addressing the anxiety itself instead of diverting your attention from it? These practices generally take more active engagement and leave you feeling more enlivened instead of just numb.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Taking at least four deep breaths
  • Getting up and moving around
  • Listing the next steps to take on a huge project (these are usually small steps like sending an email or setting up a meeting) and then taking it.
  • Noticing when we’re feeling anxious and where we notice that feeling in our bodies, then letting it be OK to feel that
  • Having a frank conversation with that person we’ve been avoiding
  • Appreciating something specific about our colleagues (take it to the next level by sharing that appreciation with them)
  • Calling a friend and connecting with them for a few minutes

What would you add to this list for your personal or team practices? Comment in the section below.