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Entrepreneurship and Mental Health: Tackling Your Anxiety

Guest Blogger | December 22, 2016

Written By: Sarah Landrum, Founder, Punched Clocks

Although many don’t realize it, Canada is home to many prolific entrepreneurs, long-running enterprises and even new start-ups. With names like John Molson of Molson Brewery fame and a shortlist of new business launches that includes the likes of Shopify, the country has provided the world with some of its most innovative and forward-thinking minds. And you’re on track to be the next big mind. It’s a lot of pressure.

Regardless of how progressive or advanced entrepreneurs’ thought patterns may be, the human brain is still susceptible to anxiety and other mental health disorders. While such obstacles can make your road to the top a little bumpier, they can be overcome with knowledge, dedication and career focus.

A problem amongst millennials

The issue of anxiety is a growing problem throughout the country. With nearly 3% of Canadians aged 15 or older indicating some amount of anxiety, most of whom are under the age 25, it’s safe to say that our country’s millennials are more susceptible to the issue than our established business professionals.

Mike Gozzo, Montreal-based entrepreneur and mobile app developer, experienced this problem firsthand after founding his first start-up, Appifier. After drawing a large share of the market and seeing near-instantaneous profits, Gozzo experienced a number of setbacks in the form of bad investment advice as well as the lack of promised funding. The company was ultimately sold, but it took Gozzo some time before he embraced the situation as a learning opportunity.

Today’s millennials are even using their own fight against anxiety as a means of reaching out to their peers and helping other entrepreneurs overcome their own personal issues. The team with TranQool, headquartered out of Toronto, provides group workshops as well as face-to-face mental health counseling via streaming video.

Dealing with anxiety on a day-to-day basis

Anxiety is best handled one step at a time. Moreover, it’s an issue that can be tackled at home as well as on the job. Exercising regularly and eating healthier is a great place to start. The improved flow of endorphins as well as the increase in brain chemistry associated with this type of healthy lifestyle will lead to happy thoughts, good feelings and a positive demeanor.

Sometimes, simply talking about your problems to a peer, friend or family member can be enough to ease the growing anxiety you face as an entrepreneur. The Internet provides plenty of resources, including online message boards, discussion forums and bulletin boards, where you can connect with other millennials, entrepreneurs and professionals who are battling their own similar issues.

You might find that it helps to remind yourself of why you started your entrepreneurial path in the first place. Not only does this ensure you maintain focus on your goals and dreams, but it can be used to find your sense of motivation when you’re in the darkest and lowest of places.

If you’ve tried every other solution imaginable, you may have no other choice than to reach out to a professional. There are a plethora of different services available, many of which are centered on anxiety and related disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, has been proven highly effective against anxiety as well as stress. As it turns out, both of these issues tend to be common problems amongst today’s entrepreneurs.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur in spite of your anxiety

The issue of anxiety and mental health is a problem that has the potential to affect us all. Although entrepreneurs and self-made professionals are often viewed as happy-go-lucky, optimistic and charismatic individuals, many of them suffer from the same mental health issues as any other Canadian worker.

Seeking help doesn’t make you weak, and people, especially entrepreneurs, should make sure to take care of their mental health before anything else. This is what’s going to allow you to build a strong and successful business.