Your Route to the Top: How to stop worrying

Take charge. Worrying is good in moderation, as it keeps you on your toes, but wallowing is pointless. You can prepare your team until they know the presentation inside out; you can't change anything once they're delivering it. Accept what you can't change and get on with the things you can.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Manage expectations. Set clear goals with your colleagues and clients, but recognise that these will change. If demands get excessive and timescales unrealistic, appraise the situation. Pinpoint worries and communicate them to your team.

Get to the heart. If you're worried about a meeting, is it more your relationship with the client or your fear of failure? Understand the root of your anxiety and do something about it.

Think positively. Optimists live longer and achieve more, says psychologist Martin Seligman. A positive outlook allows us to bounce back more quickly when mistakes are made.

When it all goes wrong, don't panic. If brochures are sent out with an error, how many people will notice? Not many. Playing down the negative outcome helps to quell distress.

Take a bird's-eye view. Imagine that you're very far away from the situation. When your thinking is not being scrambled by emotions, you can see more clearly what needs to be done.

Change your mind. Instead of dreading collaborating with a difficult colleague, change how you see them. Think: 'X is very good at her job, even if she is short-tempered.' This will prevent unhelpful emotions taking over.

Talk to people. Share your concerns with colleagues who've been through similar experiences. You'll gain insights and coping strategies, and expressing your feelings reduces anxiety.

Escape. Go to the movies, retreat to the country, work out at the gym; shifting your focus brings mental and physical relief. You'll return with a fresh perspective, ready to tackle the issue.

'The Mind Gym: Give me time' is published by Time Warner Books (£12.99). Contact the firm at

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