When I start to get anxious, I begin to feel my heart race. My palms sweat and my breathing becomes labored. I feel like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. This can happen at any time, for any number of reasons. But, having Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the reasons aren’t always clear.
I share this for two reasons: because 1) October 10th was World Mental Health Day, and 2) I’ve recently learned something that I would like to live by regarding this.
A friend of mine – let’s call him J – taught me something a few weeks ago. He has started watching his two-year-old niece fairly often. Recently, J has started teaching her “rule number one: don’t panic.” This has apparently been helpful – especially for his brother who once caught the microwave on fire – and I was wondering how it might be a good rule for all of us to have in our everyday lives. Not just for those who have anxiety, but for everyone.
In business and in life, we all deal with mishaps, both big and small. We become overwhelmed by taking on too many projects. Partners become difficult to live with. Our computer crashes in the middle of an important report. Our children fail a class. And, yes, microwaves catch on fire. But no matter what happens … rule number one: don’t panic. By reminding ourselves of this, we can stop at the beginning of the situation and allow ourselves a moment to evaluate.
Is this actually the end of the world as I know it?
Is there anything I can do to fix it? (And if so, what can I do? If not, how can I move past this?)
What is my next step?
Telling ourselves to not panic won’t always work. That’s okay, though. Try to use rule number one whenever you can so that you can be better equipped to move forward.