I was listening to my favourite author’s podcast while out walking this morning. I love Brené Brown, a researcher on vulnerability and shame. For those who haven’t found her work yet, start with this ted talk which is in the top 10 of all ted talks.

I’m sure I am like many of you when I quietly admit I have felt the rise of panic and anxiety bubble up and explode over the past month or so. So when Brené’s podcast covered this very topic, it was time to take note.

This is for all of us in the Franchise Sector – where we know strong leadership and influence is at the heart and soul of a great franchise.

Learning 1: Anxiety is a Contagion

I love Brene’s work because it is data driven, it’s based on years of research and it’s evidence based. I love that she cuts through the BS and gets to the quick of the matter.

Think about this. Anxiety is a contagion! This is not something I’d thought about before… So if we are scared and worried, this gets passed onto others. The way we speak, our tone of voice, and the words we use get absorbed into the collective energy.

Think about a time when you were anxious. How did the people around you react? Did it cause tension and angst with those who are close to you?

I’ve experienced this firsthand myself as a mother and parent of a child with ADHD. When I’ve lost my sh*t at my son, this results in a downward spiral of emotional responses that gets nowhere other than a kid going to school anxious where he loses his sh*t. Not the outcome anyone wants.

According to research anxiety is a fear-based emotion and is defined as ‘’a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease’’ usually to do with an uncertain outcome. The rocket-fuel for anxiety is when we do not have enough information. Uncertain brains spin stories that scare and unsettle us, and this manifests in our words and behaviour.

As a franchisor or business owner, or someone who is looking to buy a franchise, there is no doubt that right now your world is full of uncertainty.

Learning 2: Calm is also a Contagion

On the flip side of anxiety infecting the collective consciousness with its contagious effect, enter stage right, CALM. Did you know calm is also contagious?

Like anxiety, calm is also coined a ‘’social contagion’’. So, if one person is acting calmly, it helps us all to keep our collective sh*t together.

As business and community leaders this is imperative for you to remember. Your ability to remain calm will help your whole team or community to remain calm.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are two strategies everyone can use to help turn anxiety into calm and help the spread negative effects of panic.

I have tried this before and it works! When you feel the inner panic rise inside of you, take your thoughts outside of yourself, and anchor them to something external. For example, look at the palm of your hand or look outside a window at a tree and focus on this for 10 seconds. You will gently feel yourself calm down.

Also being in the moment and not getting too ahead of yourself can relieve anxiety. This is a type of mindfulness exercise. So instead of worrying about all of the ‘’what ifs’’, think about, what can I control right now and focus on what you can control and what actions will move you forward.

You’ve probably heard the effects meditation can have on your peace of mind. This is something I have personally experienced through a 20 minute meditation I do daily called the ‘Six Phase Meditation’’. I love this because it helps you focus on all aspects of your life including gratitude, visioning the future, and forgiveness.  It is free so I encourage you to give it go.  Let me know if it works for you!  Access it here via YouTube

What do you do to keep your sh*t together at difficult times like now?  Add in your comments below.