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Stress, fear, anxiety. Merely reading the words can make your chest tighten. Now imagine what it can do to your career. Those who are chronically nervous can suffer from memory loss, snap at colleagues or even be at risk for heart attacks.  

The good news? There are ways to turn stress around and even make it productive. This week, several LinkedIn influencers discussed innovative ways to manage tension, fear and worry.

Here’s what some of them had to say.

Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project” and “Happier at Home”

When she’s anxious, Rubin gives her brain a break. “If you’re feeling overwhelmed, schedule a breather for yourself,” wrote Rubin in her post Feeling Stressed Out? Find a “Comfort Food” for Your Mind.

Rubin’s “breathers” take unconventional forms. Sometimes the author pulls out children’s literature. Once she went to a movie in the middle of the day.

“Cooking, cleaning, playing with your dog, playing video games, playing basketball — different people find different solutions. If you can find an activity that gives you exercise, gets you outside, or brings you in contact with other people, that’s especially effective.”

The key is to pull your mind away from your worries. “By cheering yourself up, you’ll make yourself feel better, and you’ll also equip yourself to deal more effectively with tough situations.”

Ilya Pozin, entrepreneur and CEO of Open Me

Stressed about not getting everything done during the weekday? Sunday can be your new best friend, suggested Pozin in his post Why Productive People Work On Sundays.

“Mondays often feel like a catch-up day from the weekend,” he wrote. “There’s usually a full inbox and things that need your immediate attention as soon as you walk into the office. To avoid this productivity-killing situation, I schedule some time for work every Sunday to get my week started with a clean slate.”

Prepare for the week ahead by getting some small tasks out of the way. “If you’ve got a huge project starting on Monday, taking care of some of the initial steps or legwork can lead to much less stressful morning.”

You can also tackle your inbox, plan for the week ahead and touch base with contacts you’ve neglected.

“Face it, sometimes less important tasks tend to fall to the wayside in the face of a busy week,” he wrote. “If there’s anything on your back burner from the week before, use your Sunday work session to finish it. But remember, Sundays shouldn’t be your go-to ‘catch all’ for tasks you’ve previously avoided.”

Other Influencer topics

When nerves strike, Anthony Scaramucci, the managing partner at SkyBridge Capital, turns to wise words from famous people, including Winston Churchill. In his post Words of Wisdom: 8 Famous Quotes to Help You Embrace Fear and Achieve Success, Scaramucci wrote that “the key takeaway is to push yourself through fear and uncertainty and place your best foot forward no matter what happens.”

Worry and stress can make people difficult to be around, and “no one wants to work with a negative leader,” wrote CNBC on-air correspondent Julia Boorstin in her post, 3 Key Reasons to be Optimistic Like Steve Case. Instead, an optimistic outlook can turn challenges into opportunities, she wrote, citing what she learned from interviewing the founder of media company AOL.

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