Mark Twain once famously said, “I’ve had thousands of problems in my life, most of which never actually happened.” Countless people around the world can relate to Twain’s brilliant one-liner about the perils of drowning in anxiety and the jitters, and thankfully there are ways to shut this negative emotion down.
In a recent article written by Steven Berglas, a faculty member of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry and staff member of McLean Hospital for 25 years, Berglas describes how and why people tend to catastrophize the anticipated outcomes of even the happiest achievements of our lives — especially professional ones. Berglas writes, “You know you act in a manner that others call ‘paranoid’ — you worry that important people dislike you or are out to get you. Perhaps you reached out to said boss about said budget revisions and he hasn’t replied to your calls and emails. Now you’ve got the ‘no news is bad news’ jitters big time. When you are feeling anxious about an ambiguous situation, go through this checklist that I call S.T.O.P.”
You can read Bergals’s 4-step S.T.O.P. technique to shutting down your anxiety, as well as several other professional techniques, by visiting The Harvard Business Review. And if this is up your alley you might also want to check out this previous piece I wrote on how your relationship with eye contact could either be boosting or destroying your career: “Wall Street Journal Explains Ways How Eye Contact Is Boosting Or Killing Your Career”. I’ve also reattached Amy Cuddy’s brilliant TED Talk on body language in the workplace which is always a must-see.