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The Top 10 Fears That Hold People Back in Life, According to a Psychotherapist

Whether your fears involve your relationship, career, death, or discomfort, staying inside your comfort zone will ensure you live a small life.

In fact, as a therapist, I see a lot of people work so hard to prevent themselves from ever feeling anxious that they actually develop depression. Their efforts to make themselves stay comfortable inadvertently backfire. They live boring, safe lives that are void of the risk and excitement they need to feel fully alive.

Here are the top 10 fears that hold people back in life:

1. Change

We live in an ever-changing world, and it is happening more rapidly than ever before. Despite this fact however, there are many people who fear change, and so they resist it.

This can cause you to miss out on many good opportunities that come your way. You run the risk of being stagnant and staying stuck in a rut when you avoid change.

2. Loneliness

The fear of loneliness can sometimes cause people to resist living alone or even to stay in bad relationships. Or, the fear of loneliness causes people to obsessively use social media to the extent that they miss out on making face-to-face connections.

And while it’s smart to ward off loneliness (studies show it’s just as harmful to your health as smoking), it’s important to surround yourself with healthy people and healthy social interactions.

3. Failure

One of the most common fears on earth is the fear of failure. It’s embarrassing to fail. And it may reinforce your beliefs that you don’t measure up.

You also might avoid doing anything where success isn’t guaranteed. Ultimately, you’ll miss out on all the life lessons and opportunities that might help you find success.

4. Rejection

Many people avoid things like meeting new people or trying to enter into a new relationship because of the fear of rejection. Even individuals who are already married avoid asking a long-time spouse for something imagining that the person will say no.

Whether you fear asking that attractive person out on a date or asking your boss for a raise, the fear of rejection could keep you stuck. And while rejection stings, it doesn’t hurt as much as a missed opportunity.

5. Uncertainty

People often avoid trying something different for fear of uncertainty. After all, there’s no guarantee that doing something new will make life better.

But staying the same is one surefire way to stay stagnant. Whether you’re afraid to accept a new job or you’re afraid to move to a new city, don’t let the fear of uncertainty hold you back.

6. Something Bad Happening

It is an unfortunate and inevitable fact that bad things will happen in life. And sometimes, the fear of doom prevents people from enjoying life.

You can’t prevent bad things from happening all the time. But don’t let that fear stop you from living a rich, full life that’s also full of good things.

7. Getting Hurt

Hopefully your parents or a trusted adult taught you to look both ways before you cross the street so that you wouldn’t get hurt. But, quite often, our fears of getting cause us to become emotionally overprotective of ourselves.

Your fear of uncomfortable feelings and emotional wounds might prevent you from making deep, meaningful connections. Or, it might stop you from being vulnerable at work. But, without emotional risk, there aren’t any rewards.

8. Being Judged

It’s normal to want to be liked. But, the fear of being judged can prevent you from being your true self.

The truth is, some people will judge you harshly no matter what. But, trusting that you’re mentally strong enough to live according to your values, is key to living your best life.

9. Inadequacy

Another fear shared by many people is the feeling of not being good enough. If you feel like you don’t measure up, you might become an underachiever. Or, you might become a perfectionist in an effort to try and prove your worth.

The fear of inadequacy can be deep-rooted. And while it’s hard to face it head-on, you’ll never succeed until you feel worthy of your success.

10. Loss of Freedom

A certain amount of this fear can be healthy, but it becomes a problem when it holds you back in life. For many people, the fear of the loss of freedom becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, someone who wants to live a free life, might avoid getting a job with a steady income. Consequently, they might miss out on the freedom that comes with financial stability. So it’s important to consider what you’re giving up when you fear losing certain freedoms.

 

By Amy MorinAuthor, “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”

Source: The Top 10 Fears That Hold People Back in Life, According to a Psychotherapist

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4 Tips on How to Make Board Meetings Less Stressful and More Productive, From an Actual Board Member and CEO

For far too many CEOs, board meetings are a cause of stress. They send their teams in a frenzy pulling together materials, there are late-night fire drills of prep sessions, and the meetings feel like one big show-and-tell.

We can all agree that boards are incredibly important: According to a 2019 survey, 94 percent of private companies report increased revenue after putting a board in place. In my experience–both leading meetings as a CEO and attending as a board member and investor–your time together is a tremendous opportunity to dig into your toughest problems as a business.

Here are my top learnings on how to make your board meetings as productive as possible.

1. Have the right people around the table.

The outcome of any meeting is based on who’s in the room. Just like choosing investors, you should think of your board members as serious, long-term partners. You need to vet them and ensure that the people around the table have meaningful and diverse perspectives. For example, my board at LearnVest included a fintech visionary who built and sold his company for almost a billion dollars and a seasoned investor who’s backed internet changing companies like Facebook.

Having board members with directly applicable experience matters. As I always say, if you were going to hike Kilimanjaro, you’d want to talk to people who have been-there, done-that. You’d ask them when to go, what to pack, and their best advice for getting to the top.

As you assemble your board, make sure that you’re building a diverse team–the typical board has a median of only 1.5 women. Ensure diversity in all ways–gender, age, experience, expertise, and beyond. Doing so enables a mix of perspectives that will make for better discussions and smarter business decisions.

Ultimately, your board is an extension of your core team. Get to know them the way you would any senior leader at your company.

2. Focus 95 percent of the time on the tough stuff.

Plain and simple, start the meeting with your worst problems. Dive right into whatever challenge is truly keeping you up at night, and do so at the top of the meeting while everyone is fresh.

Remember: A “good” meeting doesn’t mean you make yourself and your company look like everything is working perfectly. In a growing company, that’ll never be the case. That said, a board meeting is also not the time to unveil surprises. If the problems are especially difficult, be sure to communicate with everyone in advance, giving ample time to process the issues, and then use the meeting for problem-solving. The more transparent you are as a leader, the more your board will trust you. That may mean revealing that a new product launch didn’t go as planned, or that your new senior hire is creating tension. When you treat them like they’re in the weeds with you, they’ll be that much more helpful in getting the work done.

At the end of the day, the board is there to work for you. They’re also owners in the company and want you and the business to succeed.

3. Be prepared and prepare others.

Your time together in a board meeting is limited, so your prep work counts. There are a few simple things that I consider must-dos:

  • First, establish your board meeting dates at the beginning of the year. This ensures that the meetings get on everyone’s (very busy) calendars far in advance and increases the likelihood of everyone attending in person.
  • Second, share these board dates with your senior leadership team. Regardless of whether they’ll actually be in the room presenting, you’ll likely tap them to put briefing materials together. Advance warning will help them carve out enough time to do so.
  • Third, send briefing materials to the entire board a few days in advance of the meeting. Give everyone time to digest and sit with the information. Set the expectation that the board comes to the table ready to roll up their sleeves and work–not to simply watch the CEO present each slide. This is crucial to avoiding blindsiding the board.

4. Assign homework.

The board is there to support the CEO and help the company. So leverage them. Give the board meaningful tasks: Can they make a helpful intro? Close an important hire? I’ve been asked to do all sorts of things, like going with a CEO to scout the company’s next location before they signed a new lease.

Your board should help you throughout the entire year. Company challenges will never align perfectly to your scheduled board meetings. Ask for that extra white-boarding session, and whenever you send an update over email, highlight your clear asks in yellow. It’s simple, but it works.

Here’s to board meetings that make your company that much stronger, more productive, and sustainable.

By: Alexa von Tobel Founder and managing partner, Inspired Capital@alexavontobel

Source: 4 Tips on How to Make Board Meetings Less Stressful and More Productive, From an Actual Board Member and CEO

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Being a Board member in a community or condo association is hard work. Listening and working with residents to help resolve their issues or present their ideas can also be stressful. Our guest coach this episode is Board Certified psychiatrist, Dr. Mehra, who will coach us on how to deal with stressful and difficult board meetings and conversations. Have an issue or question for the Condo Coaches? Email us at help@thecondocoaches.com, or visit us at http://thecondocoaches.com. The Condo Coaches is hosted by a team of volunteers across the State of Florida with legal, educational, and informational resources that assist board members and residents living under a condominium or homeowner’s association. The goal of the program is to help associations run effectively, efficiently, and on budget while helping residents who live in these communities address common concerns and resolve any issues with the Board of Directors. Each week The Condo Coaches offer helpful tips and advice on everyday problems, electing volunteer board members and learning the do’s and don’ts of living in a community association. Website: TheCondoCoaches.com Email: help@thecondocoaches.com Phone: 813.331.5415 Facebook: facebook.com/thecondocoaches

Chronically Tardy People Have These Traits In Common

This story originally appeared on LearnVest as “How to Stop Being That Person Who’s Always Late.”My name is Jennifer, and I’m chronically late.

My knack for running behind has caused me to be known as “the late one” in my friend group, show up to work under-prepared, and even miss international flights (the new ticket that cost me $200 still stings).

So you’d think I would have learned to nip my tardiness in the bud. But just recently, I was 30 minutes late to a dinner *I* arranged, and I had no excuse when I found my visibly disappointed friend waiting outside.

It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. When I was little, my mom would set the clocks ahead by 5 minutes so we could leave the house ahead of schedule. To no one’s surprise, this never worked. These days I can sometimes blame the NYC subways, but even when I drove everywhere, you could count on me to arrive 10 to 15 minutes late.

It’s not that I like this feeling. I’m certain my anxiety knowing my friends are waiting on me, or the unwarranted grudge I feel toward others when I’m trying to rush through them, isn’t healthy.

So why do I do it? Time-management expert and all-around early person Laura Vanderkam has the scoop on why some people are prone to lateness, and how to reverse it.

You Have No Idea How Long Something Really Takes

There’s one morning commute in particular I count as a personal victory. I was having a good hair day and the weather was agreeable, requiring zero outfit changes, so I was out the door in 20 minutes flat. The subway was speedy that day, getting me into the office after another 20.

I know this was a fluke, and Vanderkam explains I may be framing my morning routine based on these unrealistic measures. That’s why, when I snooze my alarm twice thinking I can get ready in 20 minutes again, I’m usually running into the office an hour and a half later in a frenzy.

The Fix: The best way to figure out where you’re spending your time is to actually track it. “It becomes harder to tell yourself your commute takes 20 minutes when three days in a row it’s taken 35 to 40,” Vanderkam says. “You start to question the story when you have evidence that’s different.”

Track your recurring habits, from your average commute time (not the one time there was no traffic) to how long it takes to get groceries. And don’t forget to account for constituent elements, like how long it takes to drive to the store, bag your items and put them away once you’re home.

RELATED: How a Time Audit Can Reboot Your Work-Life Balance

You’re Wildly Optimistic

This may sound like a good thing, but Vanderkam says late people are too optimistic. “People think, ‘I can be productive and fit it all in,’ and of course it doesn’t all fit in,” she says.

I relate to this whole-heartedly. It stresses me out leaving the house without straightening up, so I’ll do that last-minute thinking I can finish up in time. This is rarely the case.

The Fix: A little dose of pessimism can safeguard you from being late. Account for the things that could go wrong — like needing to clean your living room before leaving, or a stalled subway line — and add 15 minutes to your travel time.

“Often people are so far off in estimates that a 15-minute buffer will make them barely on time,” Vanderkam says.

You Don’t End Things On Time

I’ve been late to my next engagement because I’m unable to wrap up the one I’m already in, usually because I feel awkward leaving when the other person isn’t ready. This is pretty common among people-pleasers, Vanderkam notes.

The Fix: Vanderkam recommends setting alarm on your watch or phone for when you have to move on. “That way, it’s the alarm telling you it’s time to go, not just you saying so,” she says.

RELATED: Is Multitasking Killing Your Productivity? Try Monotasking Instead

You’re Not Thinking About the Consequences

Your tardiness can have bigger consequences than being a few minutes late.

When you make a person wait, you’re saying your time is more important than theirs. “They may not care, but it’s still a message you’re sending, and you have to know it could upset your friends long-term,” Vanderkam says.

Then there’s the case of being late when the other party isn’t flexible — a doctor’s appointment, a job interview, or in my case, a flight out of town.

The Fix: A little empathy can go a long way. “Knowing that guilt factor is there can actually help you,” Vanderkam says. “It’s not important enough to have an empty dishwasher than it is to have my friend be mad at me.”

Oh, and that knotted feeling in my gut when I know I’m running behind? I could tap into that when I’m tempted to fit in one more to-do before leaving home. A small reminder of the worst that can happen — an upset friend, a missed flight — can be the kick in the pants you need to stick to a realistic schedule.

It’s only been a few days since I’ve taken Vanderkam’s advice, but so far, all signs are looking up. When I met up with the same friend from before to catch a movie, I saw the shortest time it would take me to get there was 25 minutes. I tacked on 15 for my ETA and ended up arriving first. While I had to wait a few minutes for her to get there, I realized how calm I felt. And honestly, waiting just a little bit for my punctual friend wasn’t the end of the world.

RELATED: Sunday Habits That Jump-Start Job Success All Week Long

LearnVest is a simple plan for your money. Read our helpful personal finance articles, use our budgeting tools and talk with one of our financial planners to help start making progress toward your financial goals.

LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc. that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Please consult a financial adviser for advice specific to your financial situation. LearnVest Planning Services and any third-parties listed, discussed, identified or otherwise appearing herein are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies. LearnVest, Inc. is wholly owned by NM Planning, LLC, a subsidiary of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Source: Chronically Tardy People Have These Traits In Common

Do you have friends who are chronically late? And they make excuses? Well, there may be a reason for their tardiness and it has something to do with the vernacular we use these days. Squire Barnes reports. For more info, please go to http://www.globalnews.ca

Best Stress Medication? This Doctor Says It’s RediCalm Doctor Formulated

The Biological Cause of Anxiety

Scientists have identified why it can be so difficult to escape the cycle of negative behavior.Your mood is strongly influenced by two key neurotransmitters, GABA and serotonin. When levels are low, anxious thoughts fill your mind and you don’t you feel like yourself.

But promoting healthy levels of GABA and serotonin helps restore your mind to a state of calm. More importantly, this feeling is maintained even when you are faced with a stressful situation.

Prescription medication is often considered the only treatment for anxiety. However, a new group of doctors are advocating for a more natural approach.

“Our Research Confirms a Natural Approach Is Best”

Dr. Hoffman reveals new clinical evidence supporting the use of natural remedies for anxiety relief.

Ronald Hoffman, MD, has been practicing for over 30 years in New York City and is an internationally recognized expert in integrative medicine. He and his team of researchers have been investigating the most effective alternative remedies to boost levels of GABA and serotonin naturally.

“After months of research and testing, we arrived at a formula of 5 natural ingredients that outperformed all others in terms of safety and effectiveness,” Dr. Hoffman states. “Following the results of the placebo-controlled clinical study, we decided to release the formula to the public.”

Ashwagandha

Passion Flower

L-Theanine

Lemon Balm

5-HTP:

The Clinical Study

  • More than 2 out of 3 participants experienced anxiety relief within just 30 minutes of taking RediCalm.
  • More than 95% of participants felt improvement in their overall anxiety level over the course of 30 days.
  • None of the participants reported any negative side effects.
  • Every participant said that they would recommend RediCalm to a friend or relative.

Each of the ingredients in the RediCalm formula has a long-standing history of safety and effectiveness.

RediCalm can be taken with most prescription and over-the-counter medications. When taken as directed, RediCalm is safe, poses no short-term or long-term health risks, and is not addictive or habit-forming.

As with any dietary supplement, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor or healthcare provider before taking RediCalm. Please visit our Safety Facts page for more information about contraindications and possible side effects.

* For more details, click here to view the complete results of the study.

Source: Clinically Proven Natural Stress Relief

8 Simple Steps to Relieve Stress

Stress is never good for you or your health. But with almost 54% of the Americans, stress has become part of their lives. It can be stress from work, family or could be of dealing with financial issues. Whatever the cause of stress, it isn’t good for your health.

Here are 8 simple steps to relieve stress from your everyday life.

Understand the Source of Stress

When it comes to stress, it’s surprising that most people don’t even realize they are stressed. Common indications of stress include tense muscles, clenched jaws, and hands or a feeling of cramps in your stomach. Other telling symptoms are frustrations and anger.

Whenever you feel stressed, find out the reason for your stress. One of the most common stress factors includes financial problems. Enlist help. Talk to a financial advisor. They will help you guide you out of your financial situation. For instance, they will guide you on how to deal with debt collectors effectively.

Other sources of stress could be your workplace or family issues. Find out how you can deal with them. Don’t leave everything to time. Try to find solutions for your issues. This will help you use your energy is a positive way, which can also be a great stress buster.

Practice Deep Breathing Techniques

When you are stressed, your body starts releasing stress hormones. When you feel an increase in heart beat and your breathing get quicker, sit down and practice deep breathing. Deep breathing activates your nervous system which in turn will help your body to relax.

Start by focusing on your breathing. Take a deep breath. Breathe through your nose. Fill up your lungs with air. Slowly release the breath through your mouth. Practice for 10x times. Bring down your breathing rate. Feel your body relaxing.

Exercise

One reason for the increase in stress for many people is the decrease in physical activity. Your body needs physical stress, to give the brain some rest to relieve itself of all the mental stress.

When you exercise, your body releases hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain killers and help your body in combating stress. The release of these hormones also improves your sleep quality, thus improving mood and reducing stress.

Some forms of exercise you can try out are walking, running, yoga, dancing, swimming etc.

Use Your Senses

Sensory experience can help you deal with stress is an effective manner. When you employ the use of your five senses, you become more aware of your surroundings which help you relieve stress in a calming manner. Here’s how you can employ the use each of each sense to relieve stress:

Sight: Close your eyes and imagine your happy place. It could be your childhood home or just a beautiful place you went to recently. Another way to use your sight is to go outdoors. Go to a park or a scenic place. Talk a walk around. You can also put flowers in your home to enlighten it.

Hearing: Listen to some calming, good music. You can also turn on some background classical music to help you relax.

Smell: Light candles or burn essential oils. Some good calming scents you can try are Lavender, Germanium, Neroli, Rose, and Sandalwood.

Touch: Relax your muscles and body with a good massage. Get a professional masseur to unknot the tensions in your muscles. Give your spouse or partner a good kiss. Hug your children closely. Taking a warm bath or resting under a warm blanket will also do the trick.

Taste: Mindless eating can add inches to your waistline. That can also be a source of constant stress for most people. Whenever you eat, enjoy the entire experience. Take small bites and savor the flavor with each bite. Enjoy your favorite snack or meal. Give it time. Some stress relieving foods you can try out are dark chocolate, citrus foods and foods containing omega 3 fatty acids. You can also try drinking calming, herbal teas.

Unplug from the World

When most people feel stressed, they turn to media. They watch TV or scroll through their cell phones mindlessly. The idea is to switch off the stress by focusing on something else. But research concludes that the use of media including smart phones actually increases stress levels.

Unplug from the world and media. Even if you don’t feel stressed on a particular day, don’t let media entertain you. Turn off the TV for the rest of the day. Go without using the Wi-Fi on your cell phone for a day. Turn off your cell phone when you get home. If you can’t do it daily, do it at least three or four times in a week.

Get Together with Family and Friends

The right way to forget about your stress is by spending time with family and friends. Plan an outdoor picnic together. Laugh and smile together. Discuss your problems. Be each other’s support system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

When you spend time with your loved ones, your body releases oxytocin. Oxytocin is a natural stress reliever. This is especially true for women and children.

Source: 8 Simple Steps to Relieve Stress

The misery is real: A third of the world is stressed, worried and in pain, Gallup report finds

Image result for STRESSED PEOPLE

About a third of people worldwide were stressed, worried and in pain last year, and more than half of Americans feel pressure and strain. That’s according to the 2019 Global Emotions Report, Gallup’s annual snapshot of the world’s emotional state.

Chad, a North African country beset by violence, was the most negative country in the world last year, the report found, and Paraguay and Panama led a host of Latin American countries atop the list of most positive countries.

The USA? Well, we’re more stressed than almost anybody.

Most Americans (55%) recall feeling stressed during much of the day in 2018. That’s more than all but three other countries, including top-ranking Greece (59%), which has led the world in stress since 2012.

Nearly half of Americans felt worried (45%) and more than a fifth (22%) felt angry, they told Gallup – both up from 2017. Americans’ stress increased, too, topping the global average by 20 percentage points.

“Even as their economy roared, more Americans were stressed, angry and worried last year than they have been at most points during the past decade,” Julie Ray, a Gallup editor, wrote in a summary report.

A country where 66% feel pain

Americans were more stressed than residents of Chad, the world’s saddest and most pain-stricken population. Fifty-one percent of Chadians report stress last year, along with 54% reporting sadness. Two-thirds there felt worried, and 66% felt physical pain.

“The country’s overall score at least partly reflects the violence, displacement and the collapse of basic services in parts of Chad that have affected thousands of families,” Gallup says in an analysis, noting seven out of 10 residents struggled to afford food that year.

West African nations of Niger and Sierra Leone follow Chad in Gallup’s report, which ranks each nation based on resident responses to phone and face-to-face interviews with about 1,000 adults worldwide. Iraq and Iran follow, respectively, in the top five.

A vaccine drive in the village of Agang in the Ouaddai highlands region of eastern Chad, bordering west Sudan on March 25, 2019.

Latin American countries are the most positive. But why?

A train of Latin American countries leads the most-positive list. Guatemala, Mexico and El Salvador follow top-ranked Paraguay and Panama in a tie. All of the top 10 most-positive nations are Latin American save one: Indonesia.

“I think it’s not a coincidence,” says Ricardo Ainslie, a Mexican-born psychologist and a director at the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas-Austin. “Latin Americans tend to be so family-focused that I think that provides a sense of ‘Whatever happens, I’ve always got this. (Family) is always my bedrock.’ ”

Indeed, Gallup notes its scores strongly relate, in part, the presence of social networks, and Latin American nations prevail on its positive list “year after year.”

The Gutierrez family, diplaced by floods, prepare for breakfast in a temporary shelter in Asuncion, Paraguay, Friday, April 5, 2019.

Gallup posed questions to residents of more than 140 countries for the lists, asking about the positive (“Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?”) and the negative (“How about sadness?”).

A family focus in top-ranked Paraguay bleeds into day-to-day culture, says Barbara Ganson, a Florida Atlantic University professor and editor of “Contemporary Paraguay: Politics, Society, and the Environment.”

Paraguayans typically work from 7 to 11 a.m., she says, before returning home for lunch and relaxation with family. They finish work from 3 to 7 p.m.

“Family-work balance is very different from what we experience here in the United States and in many other countries,” Ganson says.

Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The misery is real: A third of the world is stressed, worried and in pain, Gallup report finds

Source: The misery is real: A third of the world is stressed, worried and in pain, Gallup report finds

Feeling Stressed? Try These 3 Meditation Techniques – Serenity Gibbons

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Stress negatively impacts businesses each day. Overworked, overwhelmed employees often feel as though they’re running in circles, never quite getting anything accomplished. Over time, this feeling can lead to burnout, severe job dissatisfaction, and susceptibility to a number of diseases and illnesses.

The positive effects of meditation have been well documented over the years, but time-challenged professionals hardly have time to go to yoga every day. Luckily, you don’t have to take a regular class to put valuable meditation techniques into use in your everyday life. Here are some meditation practices you can bring into your daily stressful situations:

Related: Meditation—Your Way

1. Practice mindful awareness.

One of the most useful aspects of yoga for your daily life is mindful awareness. In a meditation session, this involves merely clearing your mind and focusing on the present moment. By centering yourself and thinking only about your breathing and posture, you can move yourself away from the stresses of the day and truly be in the moment.

There are tricks you can employ in your daily life, too, without closing your eyes and sitting still. Try using observation to appreciate the environment around you—as you wash your hands, focus on the feeling of the water as it hits your skin, or as you open a door, truly feel the doorknob. You can also focus on one object to the exclusion of all else to relax your mind, like a leaf blowing on a tree outside your office window or a dust particle floating through the air—anything that provides an appreciation for natural objects.

Raj Jana, the founder of JavaPresse Coffee Company, created a meditative practice through something as simple as grinding his morning coffee. “In this period of mandatory downtime,” Jana explains, “my hands are too busy to text, and I’m too occupied to think.” All of his energy and focus is devoted to grinding the coffee, from noticing how his hands are moving to taking in the aroma of the beans.

2. Find a mantra.

Mantras are often associated with the word “om” and are used in many meditation sessions to refocus the mind. But your mantra can be any word you choose. Popular modern mantras include Norman Vincent Peale’s “I change my thoughts, I change my world” and Gandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Choose a saying that reminds you of your own goals and dreams and use that mantra to quiet your mind and center your thoughts.

When you find yourself feeling overly stressed, find a quiet place where you can clear your mind and relax. In time, you’ll likely find that you can use that mantra in any stressful situation to calm yourself. Your colleagues will respect your ability to remain cool under pressure and react to every situation professionally.

Related: 19 Calming Quotes to Help You Stress Less

3. Just breathe.

There’s a reason breathing is so closely connected to yoga and meditation. When you take deep breaths, it actually tricks the body into reversing the physiological effects of burnout, such as rapid heartbeat, tense muscles and dilated pupils. Deep breaths slow your heart rate, improve oxygen delivery and lower your blood pressure, effectively reducing the health problems that can result from too much stress.

For best results, practice breathing exercises when you’re alone. When a stressful situation arises, you’ll then be well versed in the art and able to put it to use to calm your mind, even if you’re in a business meeting or facing a hostile co-worker in your office. You can choose from several different types of breathing exercises to find the one that works best for you, including abdominal breathing, progressive relaxation and guided visualization using an online meditation audio tool.

Abdominal breathing—also called diaphragmatic breathing—is all about taking deep breaths, rather than the shallow ones we’re used to, to get oxygen into your body. The goal is to inhale slowly through your nose until your stomach pushes out and then exhale for an equal amount of time. This reduces stress and helps with digestion.

Progressive relaxation is a similar method of pushing your muscles to an extreme and then relaxing them. In progressive muscle relaxation, you tense your muscles up in sections, such as focusing on your neck and shoulders. You then let the tension go and absorb the relaxation through your muscles and body.

Guided visualization focuses on heightening your senses to achieve relaxation. The guidance may ask you to picture a peaceful nature scene, like a waterfall, or a healing light bursting throughout your body. One good tool for guided visualization is the Stop, Breathe & Think app, which offers guided meditations for specific needs, such as sleep or anxiety.

When used correctly, meditation is a great way to battle the many stresses professionals face every day. By practicing these exercises when not in a stressful situation, you can prepare yourself to use them when others are around.

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