4 Things You Can Do Right Now If You Are Feeling Anxious Here are some quick things you can do when you are feeling anxious.

By Kerry Siggins

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A few weeks ago, I thought I had a panic attack. I was stuck in traffic, which is saying a lot since I live in a town of 20,000 people. Road construction and tourists clogged the roads, and I was annoyed. I was late to pick up my son from golf practice, and I was still reeling from the horrifying images of people hanging on to airplanes in Afghanistan. As the CEO of a fast-growing company, my to-do was weighing on me and pangs of guilt flooded me.

I really should be working instead of fighting traffic, I thought. I was also worried about my employees in Reno who were suffering from smoke inhalation due to catastrophic fires. I got home and told my husband we needed to buy a generator and a food-growing dome in preparation for the end of the world.

He replied, "That's not a terrible idea, but you need to take some breaths and stop reading the news."

As I sat at my desk trying to work, I felt disoriented and upset. My eyes and brain wouldn't focus on the board meeting agenda I was trying to create.

"Okay," I said to myself. "Enough is enough. I've got to get my thoughts and emotions under control. Being constantly agitated isn't sustainable, nor is it healthy. What can I do right now to help myself?"

When feeling anxious, which is pretty much the norm for most of us, you teach the body that living in constant stress is okay. But we all know that constant stress isn't okay; it wreaks havoc on our physical and mental health, damages relationships and makes us less effective at our jobs.

So what do you do to relieve anxiety when you are a busy executive or entrepreneur? Here is what I did.

1. Remove at least one controllable source of stress

First, I asked myself, "What's one stressor I am in control of that I can remove right now?" I deleted all news apps from my phone and committed to quit reading the news for at least a month. I don't watch TV, so it was all about creating more discipline around my phone-reading habits. Quitting the news has been the biggest game-changer to date. It's incredible how much better I feel when I am not cramming my brain with doom and gloom over which I have zero control. If you are still reading or watching the news, go cold turkey for a few days and see what happens.

Related: 9 Ways High-Performing Entrepreneurs Handle Stress

2. Move your body, outside

Second, I went for a walk and listened to relaxing, fun music that made me want to sing along. I tried to stay in the present moment, watching the clouds pass by in the sky, observing the birds and insects flittering about, and noticed the sun and breeze on my skin. I took big, deep breaths, exhaling loudly through my mouth, imagining stress escaping with each exhalation. The combination of moving my body, listening to music I love, being present in the fresh air and taking deep breaths calmed me quickly.

3. Pick two things you want to get done, do them and let the rest go

Third, I picked just two items off my to-do list, committing to get them done and saving the rest for the next day. After my walk, I felt more focused and completed the tasks. Then I smiled. I still accomplished two things while taking the pressure off of completing everything on my list, which was impossible anyway.

Related: Small Actions You Can Take to Decrease Stress at Home and Work

4. Get a good night's sleep

Fourth, I committed to getting a good night's sleep. After eating a healthy dinner, I took a bath, drank a mind-relaxing tea with ashwagandha instead of a glass of wine, listened to a guided mediation and turned the lights out by 9 p.m.

The next day, I felt better. I still wanted a growing dome, but I was good with forgoing the generator. I thought about looking at the news, but I realized it was just out of habit — something to do while waiting in line at the grocery store. I felt refreshed after sleeping for seven hours and working out in the morning. I picked up a book on meditation and natural healing, which has inspired me to let go of negative thought and emotion patterns and meditate more.

I still haven't read the news; it's going on three weeks, and I feel remarkably better. I meditate every day, read books instead of the news, and feel happier and more positive.

Simple doesn't mean easy, but if you are successful for one day, you can build upon it and try it again the next day. Practicing is how you create new patterns and habits, and you might be surprised at how much better you start to feel.

Related: 8 Reasons Sleep Is Crucial for Entrepreneurs and Leaders

Wavy Line
Kerry Siggins

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Chief Executive Officer

Kerry Siggins is the CEO of StoneAge, a global leader of high-pressure waterblast cleaning equipment. She was one of Colorado’s Top 25 Most Influential Young Professionals and was a finalist for Colorado’s CEO of the Year. She hosts the podcast Reflect Forward and authors a popular blog.

Editor's Pick

A Leader's Most Powerful Tool Is Executive Capital. Here's What It Is — and How to Earn It.
One Man's Casual Side Hustle Became an International Phenomenon — And It's on Track to See $15 Million in Revenue This Year
3 Reasons to Keep Posting on LinkedIn, Even If Nobody Is Engaging With You
Why a Strong Chief Financial Officer Is Crucial for Your Franchise — and What to Look for When Hiring One

Related Topics


Are These 17 Biases Affecting You as a Leader? The Answer Is Likely Yes — Here's How to Address Them.

Having biases is an inherent part of being human, but that doesn't mean we don't have the responsibility to manage them and make sure they don't impact the way we lead.

Business News

The Virgin Islands Want to Serve Elon Musk a Subpoena, But They Can't Find Him

Government officials would like to talk to Tesla's owner as part of an investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein case.

Starting a Business

Is AI Opening the Door for the 100x Founder'?

We often hear the term the 10x developer — but AI is creating a startup environment that dramatically speeds up the time and reduces the resources needed to launch.

Real Estate

5 Strategies for Real Estate Investors to Survive (and Thrive!) Amid Rising Interest Rates

Rising real estate interest rates are not a reason to stress — they are an opportunity to invest.