4 Ways to Help Always Worried Asian Founders
Don’t let it ruin your productivity
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
To a certain extent, all founders are worriers.
It’s hard to blame them, especially when they’re thinking about things like: when will the business turn a profit or was he a good hire or what will the investors say?
Those, plus a myriad of other things occupy the minds of most entrepreneurs when running the day-to-day operations of the company.
Though warranted, keep in mind that worrying can affect one’s productivity. It can cause one to lose focus on the task at hand or cause tension in one’s relationship with other team members.
Wanda Thibodeaux writes in an Inc. article, “[W]orry is an emotion that, if not handled in the right way can keep you from reaching the enormous potential you have inside yourself.”
Here are four ways entrepreneurs can keep their anxiety in check.
1. Focus on the present
Worrying makes you focus on the future instead of the present moment. But the thing is, the future is full of what-ifs, of things beyond our control. Remind yourself that what you do today will impact the future, so it’s best to deal with the present with as much care and attention as possible.
“So go ahead and complete your risk management, but once that’s done, just focus on the present,” Thibodeaux writes. “Try to look for and enjoy the positive things happening around you in the moment.”
She also adds practices like meditation can help when you are trying to stay mindful of the here and now.
2. Sleep early
Most entrepreneurs are used to running on just a few hours of sleep. But don’t let this be the norm if you want to get rid of pessimistic thoughts.
Findings from a study published in the journal Cognitive Therapy and Research show that people who sleep for shorter periods of time and go to bed very late at night have more repetitive negative thoughts than others. This was also found true for participants who described themselves as “evening types.”
“Making sure that sleep is obtained during the right time of day may be an inexpensive and easily disseminable intervention for individuals who are bothered by intrusive thoughts,” says Jacob Nota of Binghamton University in the U.S., one of the study’s researchers.
3. Use worry as a motivator
If you find that you can’t seem to stop worrying, use it as a motivator to prompt you to action. A paper by Kate Sweeny, psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, posits that worrying does have its upside, particularly in preventive and protective behavior.
“Women who reported moderate amounts of worry, compared to women reporting relatively low or high levels of worry, are more likely to get screened for cancer. It seems that both too much and too little worry can interfere with motivation, but the right amount of worry can motivate without paralyzing,” Sweeny says.
Sweeny notes three explanations for worry’s motivating effects, as reported by ScienceDaily. First, worry signals that the situation is serious and requires action. Second, worrying about a stressor keeps it on top of one’s mind and prompts people toward action. Lastly, the unpleasant feeling of worry motivates people to find ways to reduce their worry.
4. Write about it
For chronic worriers, simply writing about your feelings can help you perform an upcoming stressful task more efficiently, according to a study by Michigan State University.
Lead author Hans Schroder says worrying takes up cognitive resources, likening people who struggle with worry as constantly multitasking. They are accomplishing one task, he says, while trying to monitor and suppress their worries at the same time.
“Our findings show that if you get these worries out of your head through expressive writing, those cognitive resources are freed up to work toward the task you’re completing and you become more efficient,” Schroder says.
A similar study in 2011 by the University of Chicago found that students who are prone to test anxiety improved their test scores after they’ve been given 10 minutes to write about what was causing them fear.
So the next time you feel anxious about an event or a task, it’s time to whip out your pen and paper and get writing.