These are anxiety-producing times. The economy is in a dither, and every leader I come in contact with is expressing new levels of anxiety that is impacting their ability to focus on the important work of leadership. Here’s a couple of quick strategies/tools I often share with leaders, and they report powerful results from these practices.
Not only is anxiety a habit, it also has a cumulative memory, so it quickly piles higher in an escalating manner. Here are two quick tools you can use in the moment along with reframing the story (shift the story you’re telling yourself to a new one that serves you better) and inviting play.
1. Feel your feet. Simply bringing awareness to the bottom of your foot and feeling the skin of the sole of your foot and feeling the sole of the inside of your shoe (or feeling the ground if you’re barefooted) can do wonders for grounding you and giving your breathing a chance to slow down and drop lower in your body. This can bring focus, clarity, and calm.
2. Controlled breathing. Often the anxiety response in our heads is caused by a physiological phenomenon where the body “does” the anxiety stuff that then triggers the brain to identify (or simply respond to) anxiety. So, to interrupt that automatic cycle, awareness of calming your breathing, slowing it down, dropping it into your low belly, and mindfully stretching your in-breath to match the beats of your exhale will make a difference in your ability to approach tasks from a clear head rather than an automatic anxiety place.
Try it and let me know what results you observe!