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Harnessing anxiety

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Embrace your fear and anxiety

Anxiety can have benefits if you learn how to harness it. The emotion of anxiety evolved to protect us - managing stress may be more useful than banishing it.
Having some anxiety - especially when faced with a stressful situation - isn't necessarily bad and can actually be helpful. There are a few reasons why.

The right amount of anxiety improves performance

Too much anxiety can be debilitating but a normal amount is meant to keep us safe. According to the Yerkes-Dodson Law, increasing amounts of stress can improve performance - but only up to a certain point. Past that point, anxiety tends to become less useful.
The first step to tame anxiety is to recognise that you are feeling overly anxious and try to reduce it. One way is to engage in deep breathing, that can take place anytime and anywhere.

Anxiety can help you recognise what isn't working

Anxiety itself is not the problem. Think of anxiety as an alarm for you to examine what is causing your anxiety. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you rather than suppressing those feelings.

Accepting anxiety can help you face your fears

If you find yourself overestimating the risk of something terrible happening, start by acknowledging your anxiety and looking at it objectively. Remind yourself that this is the emotional reaction that occurs when you anticipate bad things will happen. Be patient and kind with yourself, the way you would be with a friend, as you take small, manageable steps to confront your fears. It is an opportunity to learn how to accept and tolerate anxiety.

Anxiety can breed conscientiousness

Anxious people tend to be careful and cautious, and they can channel those tendencies into conscientiousness. The goal is to create a plan that will help reduce your worries and calm your fears, and then follow through.

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