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Op/Ed

Tips to reduce anxiety and self-doubt so you can get back to work

Person feeling stress at work

Stephen King said, “Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction can be a difficult, lonely job; it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub. There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt.”

Most people believe that anxiety, self-doubt, writers go together like graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate.

The universality of self-doubt

I’d argue that self-doubt goes along with almost every profession.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an artist, scientist or entrepreneur. We all have those little nagging voices in the back of our minds.

You know, those voices in our head that say, “you can’t;” “you’re going to fail;” “what makes you think you’re so smart;” and “no one is going to want your product.” I believe that even the most arrogant people I know have self-doubt. They’ve just found a way to portray themselves more confident.

How do you deal with self-doubt?

I’ve tried a lot of things to deal with my doubt. One of the things that helps me the most is to address my negativity:

“What’s the worst that can happen?”
“What are the consequences of failing?”
“Why I am struggling with this particular project?”

This lets those voices in our head rage on. We haven’t thought about the reality of the situation. I have to put boundaries on my self-doubt. This means that I allow myself to ponder the outcome for a few minutes, but then I sit back down to work.

Stay in a routine

Routine can also help you deal with your doubt. Instead of letting your mind race, take time to practice mindfulness.

Many of the anxieties we deal with every day never actually come to fruition. It’s all in our head, unless we procrastinate and don’t get the job done.

Instead of thinking about your to-do list and doubting your abilities to get it all done, just start to work.

Don’t forget to take regular breaks and enjoy life

Give your mind a break from work sometimes. When you’re an entrepreneur or self-employed, you need time away from the pressures of work.

Reward yourself for tackling a huge project, whether or not you are successful. Remember that we learn just as much, sometimes more, in our failures than we might in our accomplishments.

Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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