The prevalence of anxiety is on the rise. In the past two years, the prevalence has increased by 25% – mostly in women and youth.
Anxiety is not an excuse for staying stuck, procrastinating, or making bad choices, whether in life or business.
Let’s look at what anxiety is and is not.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an abnormal sense of apprehension and fear that is often marked by physical signs and symptoms. When one is anxious, they have self-doubt that they will have the ability to cope with the situation or person making them anxious.
Being nervous is different than anxiety. When you are nervous, you may feel like being anxious, but the difference is that once the situation is past, you have done the thing, and you feel better. With anxiety, doubtful what-if thoughts continue to come into your brain and you don’t have a sense of peace.
Worry is more of a dwelling on negative thoughts, and I believe it’s a choice. It’s possible for worry to lead to anxiety, but the worry is not genetic and despite environmental triggers, worry is something you can choose to stop whereas anxiety may not be without help from a therapist or medication.
It is important to differentiate between the three – anxiety, nervousness, and worry. A pet peeve of mine is hearing people say they are behaving a certain way or making certain choices because they have anxiety. Anxiety is a clinical diagnosis but that doesn’t make it an excuse.
Who has anxiety?
Approximately 31% of adults in the US have anxiety. Women are twice as likely as men, 23% versus 14%.
Only 37 percent of people with anxiety seek treatment.
As I mentioned before, the prevalence of anxiety has increased by 25% over the past two years, most often in women and youth.
Anxiety is not an excuse for not taking action in life and business
But you have a choice. You can choose to let anxiety control your thoughts, emotions, choices, and behaviors, or you can choose to take action to navigate anxiety and take control of your thoughts.
How can you recognize anxiety?
Signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
- Fatigue due to the inability to sleep
- Unexplained stomach aches
- Outbursts of anger
- Racing heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
To navigate anxiety, you must recognize the triggers.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, it is important to pause and evaluate what is going on in your life.
Did you have an argument with someone?
Do you have a presentation or speaking engagement on the horizon?
Are you preparing to travel?
Do you have guests coming to visit?
Maybe you have unexpected expenses piling up.
Or maybe your child is going through a difficult time.
Do you have a sales call or big meetings on the calendar?
What is making you anxious?
The emphasis here is on the mind-body connection.
Once you identify the symptom and what the trigger is, you can create a strategy to navigate the situation without letting anxiety hold you back.
The key is being aware.
Anxiety is not an excuse to stay stuck
There will always be an opportunity to be anxious. It’s part of life especially if you have a genetic predisposition.
There can be an alteration in your DNA and there is epigenetics. . . generational environmental influences such as trauma.
Life is full of experiences, good and bad, that will trigger anxious thoughts whether you have a clinical diagnosis or not.
But it is never an excuse to overthink and stay stuck. God made our brains in such a miraculous way that we can change the neuropathways – from thinking negative what-if thoughts to being grateful and thinking positive thoughts.
Fear accompanies anxiety. What-if thoughts will ebb and flow but with anxiety, they are more likely to overwhelm you and keep you from acting.
Instead of using anxiety as an excuse to not act or to sit in a place of indecision, adopt strategies and tools to navigate the anxiety.
If you have an idea or feel a pull toward something, that is God nudging you toward your calling. When you don’t take action, you are doing a disservice to the people He’s calling you to serve.
It’s a choice.
A reminder from scripture: Romans 12:2 – Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Anxiety is not an excuse for behavior choices
We know from science and scripture that our beliefs trigger our thoughts, and our thoughts influence our emotions and feelings. Emotions and feelings determine our choices and behaviors.
This cycle determines your outcomes because your thoughts produce your results.
Let’s say you are anxious about what steps to take to begin your business. As a result, you think you can’t do it, you don’t have the ability or resources, someone else is already doing it, etc. How do these thoughts make you feel? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that your emotions may be sadness, fear, doubt, helplessness, frustration, being overwhelmed, inadequacy, and maybe even resentment. These emotions make you feel less than motivated, unworthy, sluggish, confused, and hopeless, and you lack confidence.
As a result, you sit on the couch and watch Netflix instead of working on your action steps to start and grow your business. The outcome? You don’t have a solid foundation for your business, and you have minimal, if any, results. And the people God has called you to serve can’t find you and don’t get the help they need.
What if you change your beliefs and thoughts and avoid using anxiety as an excuse?
What you focus on is what you create.
Instead of doubting, now you believe that God is calling you and you have a purpose to fulfill. And you believe that if He’s calling you, he will equip you. He will put the right people and information in your path.
You’ve lived a journey with many experiences that have led you right to where you are today, and you now have the insight that others need.
Positive thoughts that you can do the work, that God is equipping you, and that you’ve already got all you need inside of you lead you to joyful, hopeful, inspired emotions.
As a result, you feel excited and confident.
Now you are motivated to accomplish the right tasks in the right order to bring your business to life and attract your soulmate clients.
You are eager to accept the abundance God has in store for you when you pursue your purpose.
The outcome? You start and grow a business to have a meaningful impact in the world while making money to support your family, live in abundance and joy and give more through charitable giving.
It’s not easy to navigate anxiety.
I just gave an example of how your beliefs and thoughts influence your outcomes. It may seem easy, but it’s not. You must take daily action to navigate anxiety.
I suggest journaling. Write the negative beliefs and thoughts. Document the emotions and feelings they trigger. Then write out the action or lack thereof, that you will take because of those emotions and feelings. What outcomes will follow?
Then, on the same page, write the opposite. Write positive beliefs and thoughts. Document the emotions and feelings they trigger. Then write out the action that you will take. Lastly, document the outcomes you will achieve by taking that action.
The more you catch those negative beliefs and what-if thoughts and challenge them, the faster you will be able to change them. If the what-if thoughts aren’t rational or realistic, if someone you love and respect wouldn’t be thinking them too, then change them. The more you practice this mind modeling method, the more control you’ll have (with God’s help of course) over your thoughts and the more confident you will be to make decisions.
You will alleviate overthinking.
What-if thoughts will dissipate.
You will become more confident and make decisions that move you to the next level of impact and success.
Another tip to help you navigate anxiety
Stay aligned with your core values. When you align with your core values in every decision that you make, you will overthink less and be able to feel less anxious. If you haven’t already identified your core values, listen to episode 213.
And of course, you can always use Scripture as a resource to navigate anxiety. A couple of go-to verses for me are:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you
Anxiety is a reason to avoid social media when you start your business
The reason I feel so strongly about avoiding social media when you start a business is because of the negative beliefs and thoughts it can trigger.
The distractions of what you “should” be doing, the advice from others who may not be aligned with your values, the pressure to be present and create content that could disappear tomorrow, the comparison, and the doubt. All these things result in more anxiety and worry about your business.
In addition, you might see things on social media that will tempt you to believe things that are not scriptural, like manifesting clients and money, or that the Universe will guide you. Listen, God created the universe, and all good and perfect gifts come from him. If you are confused about manifestation or its legitimacy from a scripture perspective, listen to episode 167.
The best way to start a business
Purpose to Results™ combines mindset, strategy, and action. You need all three but without distractions to build the foundation first. Using the Purpose to Results™ Method will help alleviate anxiety and overthinking when starting a business.
Once you have built the foundation and your content is on a platform you own and control, you can use social media to build relationships and have fun. But do not attempt to build your business on social media. It will delay your ability to have a meaningful impact and make money.
I want to leave you with this. It is possible to start and grow a business with simplicity, ease, and grace. To follow your God-led calling and purpose to have a meaningful impact and make money – without added anxiety and stress.
More information on anxiety and entrepreneurship can be found by listening to episode 161.
Free Resource for Navigating Anxiety
I encourage you to download my free eBook – Alleviate anxiety by developing healthy habits for a healthy mind. You’ll enjoy the exercises and having a guide to journaling using the 5C’s journaling method.
To learn even more about navigating anxiety including my journey with anxiety, check out my book, “You, Me, and Anxiety: Take Action Over Anxiety to enjoy being you”.