Two strategies for managing anxiety abroad

Anxiety and stress in the life of the expat

Generally speaking, when we decide to move abroad, it is because we have a hope or a dream: a dream of a better life, of a more interesting job or of a better paid one, of being able to carry out a professional or life project.

Sometimes, once we have arrived at our destination, we realize that the difficulties that we face are greater than our expectations, or that the times to make our dream come true are further away than expected. It may also happen that our dream runs through our fingers, that unexpected drawbacks appear that can prevent us from carrying out our project. The consequence can be a state of chronic anxiety, of widespread unease determined by uncertainty through not having achieved the expected results.

So what to do then? How to live through a situation, in the best way, that does not create in us anxiety and stress? Here I suggest two useful strategies based on the fact that, even though it is true that we can’t control our emotions, we can control our actions:

  • Make a habit of "measuring"

    You can’t know how long you will take to learn the local language, but you can measure how long to devote to learning it on a daily basis.
    You can’t know when you will find a new job, but you can measure how many new opportunities you are creating to achieving it, for example, by committing yourself and by sending 10 new curriculum vita each day.
    Measuring something will make you feel safer in terms of the situation that you are living. Obviously, measuring will not magically solve your problems, but by increasing the degree of control and awareness of what is happening, you will lessen the feeling of uncertainty that often gives rise to anxiety and stress.

  • Turn your attention from the future to the present

    Rather than worrying about not being able to get through a work interview in the local language, you can focus on listening to a local radio station for half an hour a day, learning 5 new useful words each time.
    Rather than worrying yourself at not managing to pass an exam, you can focus on studying 30 pages per day.
    Meet a small objective each day allows you to build up confidence in your abilities and to increase your efficacy in the long run, by building your future step by step.

So what about you? What strategies do you use to deal with anxiety and stress?

Read the articles on Expats and the world of Intercultural Mind

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