22 Jul Anxiety and Running a Business
Anxiety and running a Business – how to deal with it
There are plenty of reasons you can feel anxiety running a business. Many business owners feel social anxiety when they are out networking. It’s also very common to worry about paying the bills, and many entrpreneurs face nervous feelings when we are pitching for a new client. Social media too can induce feelings of panic when someone puts a negative comment on your post, or you find your engagement on social media is going down and you simply can’t face spending any more time on there as it is.
These are understandable responses to things that are a natural part of an entrepreneur’s life. It would be slightly odd if they didn’t induce some response in you.
Anxiety is a normal response to stress. Many, many years ago our ancestors would be out hunting and hear a rustle in the bushes. Our brains, or specifically a part of the brain called the amygdala, would flood us with chemicals to get us ready to fight or run. What would happen is that we would either fight the tiger that emerges from the bushes, run from it, or notice it was a leaf blowing about and there was no tiger. Gradually the levels of cortisol and adrenaline would come down.
Anxiety and running a business
However, as a business owner, we are constantly facing situations that can set this off. We have to deal with an irate client, or chase an invoice. A staff member calls in sick and we are short-handed, again. Our supplier emails to let us know that we can’t get that important part or material in order for us to fulfil an order. We get a letter telling us the rent is increasing, or a huge energy bill lands in our inbox.
These are a business owner’s equivalent to that tiger in the bushes and the problem is, they just keep coming.
This can keep our anxiety levels up and result in us feeling anxious almost all the time. It’s as if our amygdala is operating on overdrive, and flooding our brain with chemicals (adrenaline and cortisol being two of these). This can feel like our brain is hijacked by emotion. We can feel like we have brain fog, unable to think straight. It can also make us overly emotional, prone to tears or feeling on the edge of anger a lot of the time.
Once we are in this state, it’s a simple step to start questioning ourselves. We might start pondering whether this is the right choice for us? Are we really good enough? Should we just get a job instead?
Too much of this and our brains and bodies can believe that this heightened state of emotion is normal.
Anxiety as a business owner
What does anxiety feel like? It can feel like a feeling of tightness in the chest or a lump in the throat. You might be a feeling like the blood is rushing to your skin, so experiencing clammy hands, or tingling or numbness. Additionally, there could be a feeling of dizziness, lightheadedness or even disorientation. Of course, there’s also the proverbial knot in the stomach and the feeling you need to rush to the loo.
Long term, it can impact our appetite, making us eat more or wanting to eat less. It can result in headaches, aches and pains and even skin conditions. It can cause us to isolate ourselves from others, and affect our sleep. These are two things are have been found to be key in creating depression.
While anxiety can show up differently for different people, we do know that it’s not good for us and our bodies.