More salespeople suffer from anxiety than ever before. Here are tips that may reduce your anxiety, fear and worry as the end of the year approaches:
- Turn off worry. Excessive worry creates a list of things to feel concerned about. Shift your focus from your worries by paying attention to a project you’d like to complete. Maybe it’s trying to reconnect with a former customer or sell a new prospect. Concentrate on things other than your worries. What you tell yourself determines how you feel.
- Relax your body. Salespeople usually experience anxiety emotionally at first, and then intensely as a physical sensation. They may feel short of breath, muscles tensing and heart rate spikes. You can control your physical response to anxiety by using “progressive muscle relaxation.” It calls for tightening and loosening muscle groups throughout your body – your lower and upper legs, shoulders, and so on. Tighten each group for about 10 seconds and then let them go. Take a break for about 20 seconds and do the next set of muscles. Do this for at least two 20-minute sessions a day.
- Relax your mind. Try to conjure images to calm yourself using the technique of “guided visualization.” Think of going to the beach or being in a forest to experience the beauty and peace that visiting such places brings. If stilling your mind is difficult, try mediation. Play calming sounds, like a recording of ocean waves. Relax your muscles. Focus on your breathing or on an image.
- Think realistically. Consider two salespeople who are stuck in a traffic jam. One gets mad. The other accepts the inevitable. What you tell yourself determines how you feel. People who are prone to anxiety tend to fixate on thoughts about something going wrong. That makes them feel anxious. Try to replace negative thoughts with productive thoughts that reflect reality.
- Face your fears. Try to create a series of measures you need to use to face your fear. Write down the steps you’re planning to take. At the beginning, list something that makes you mildly uncomfortable. Don’t confront the most troubling situation until your last step.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise combats anxiety. When you feel anxious, your body reacts as it would to any danger. It releases adrenaline as part of its fight-or-flight response. Exercising affects several aspects of your physiology that anxiety activates. It helps minimize muscular tension and increases oxygen in your bloodstream. Create periods during the day when you give yourself the freedom to relax and recuperate.
Adapted from: Coping with Anxiety, by Edmund Bourne and Lorna Garano. Former director of the Anxiety Treatment Centers in California, Bourne earned his PhD in behavioral sciences. His bestsellers include The Anxiety Workbook and Beyond Phobia and Anxiety. Garano is a freelance writer.