I have a big project at work and it’s making me so anxious that it’s ruining my life.

Deep breath, says our elder. Here are some tips that can help.

Dear EWC

I am a researcher at the university and I am working on a very difficult project, which requires the management of a large amount of money to be shared between the partner universities. I am not officially responsible for this (my boss is), but I am practically in charge of the whole thing. I am not used to this kind of task and have no experience in this. Since the beginning, this project had some budget issues and I managed to solve them all for now, but I have developed a very strong anxiety on this job. I have a strong fear that something could go wrong and every time an email arrives, I have a very bad reaction and I can’t sleep at night. This issue is ruining my evenings and weekends. Even though I am helped by other colleagues, I feel responsible for this project. I am sure that my reaction is disproportionate. The project is going quite well after all, and I am able to solve all the criticalities. However, I developed a bad emotional reaction to all the tasks related to this project and I really don’t know how to get out of this. How can I gain back my work/life balance and see things from the right perspective? Thank you very much for reading this and for the advice you may give me.

Jan4you replies

First, let me thank you for your patience while you waited for a response from us. Your letter and what you are going through is important to me. I can appreciate the untypical responsibility but as you have already said, you are managing this task well. Has anything improved since you first wrote to us?
Anxiety is when our minds react more to a stressor in a mental/physical way. Often our minds project what bad could happen when actually at the very moment you are handling this task. So evaluate for yourself, how much of your thinking is the “what ifs” rather than the reality of what truly is happening?
FEAR = False Evidence that Appears Real! So check your mindset first.
Next to gain more control over your bodily reaction check your breathing. Take moments throughout the day and night, where you slow down your breathing and use your mind instead to calm that racing voice in your head sending you negative thoughts.

Start by breathing in deeply through your nose. Next let your breaths out very, very slowly through your mouth, teeth, and lips slightly apart. Blow out that breath slowly as if there is a lit candle and you just want to make the candlelight flicker, but not blow out completely.
Keep doing this centered breathing, over and over. Check the muscles throughout your body for tightness. Starting with forehead, eyelids, jaw, and neck. Make sure they are relaxed as you continue your centered deep breathing.
Now mentally, envision a really serene place where there is no stress. You are totally free to be serene and calm. I like to be on a beach, listen to the waves and feel the sun on my skin as I do center breathing.
I bet if you keep taking out moments to practice this centered breathing. But use it especially as you lay in bed, quieting your body and mind.

Lastly, I want you to make a list of all your accomplishments. Little to big. Like, you are on time. You are a good team member. You finish what you start. You have a nice smile. You appreciate the life and gifts you have been given!
Put on good music to help this centered breathing. Relax the muscles throughout your body. Trust me, it works!
Then let me know your final accomplishment = you finished this task proudly and gratefully!
I have hope for you. I believe in you!
Now keep telling yourself only good words.

Sending you hope, courage and the belief that you are the best one for this task. May you grow in confidence and know how much I appreciate you and your perseverance.

Letter #: 447214
Category: Self-Improvement

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