What can I do when panic attacks? Carl Vernon
Anxiety, Fear, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety

5 Crucial Choices To Make When Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are one of the worst physical symptoms of anxiety. What can we do when panic hits us, and what choices do we have?

At that moment, when panic attacks, it consumes us.

Panic convinces us that we’re trapped, and we’re so focused on our survival and getting through the panic, we forget that we do have options and choices.

Choices seem like the last thing we have when panic sets in, but we can do more than just allow the panic to consume us and take over.

Feeling trapped and believing our only option is to suffer the panic is part of the trick of panic. It’s a big reason why panic attacks are allowed to continue.

When we appreciate that we do have one more than choice, we can start to look at panic attacks in a different way.

We can look to control and stop them.

Here are five of our most popular reactions to panic attacks. One of them will make all the difference.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

Choice #1: Fuel the fear and run

Drop everything.

Throw the shopping basket on the floor, and run for your life.

Keep moving forward – run, walk, jog – do anything, as long as people can’t see the sweat on your forehead and the panic on your face as you have a panic attack. That would cause you great embarrassment.

What would people think if they could see me?

What people think matters, so continue to worry about what people are thinking and allow that worry and fear to stoke the fire (panic).

Like a steam train, watch as your fear keeps your panic chugging away and continues to get worse as you stoke the fire.

Choice #2: Question your sanity

Are these symptoms real?

Are they life-threatening?

Is it just indigestion?

Is it a migraine?

Should I call for an ambulance? I might look stupid.

Allow all the ‘what if. . .?’ thoughts to continue to fuel the panic and produce more thoughts about scenarios that will never happen.

Keep questioning your sanity and convincing yourself that you’re not normal.

Allow these negative beliefs to fuel your panic further.

Choice #3: Search Dr Google

Get out your phone or laptop and frantically type in your symptoms on Google.

Fuel the panic further as you read through the symptoms and life-threatening results, believing every word of them.

Spend the rest of your life in and out of doctor’s surgeries, getting more frustrated and disillusioned with every visit.

Make lots of trips to the hospital, seeing specialists and having tests, looking for a diagnosis – one you know you won’t get because deep down you know it’s anxiety.

Allow the constant need for reassurance to keep fuelling your panic.

Choice #4: Fight the panic

Fight the symptoms of panic.

Have a battle with the anxiety and panic, even though you know you can never win against something that is naturally within us all.

Continue to beat yourself up and become more and more disillusioned as you convince yourself your life will never change.

Waste all your energy so you get to a point where you feel like you have no fight left in you – vital energy that could have been used to overcome the panic.

Allow your lack of energy to continue the panic.

Choice #5: Accept the symptoms, stand firm, don’t fight and don’t stoke the fire

Accept the symptoms of panic, and when it hits, don’t fight it.

Say to yourself:

‘I recognise that I’m having a panic attack, but I also accept that it won’t last. It never has. No matter how much I panic, I know it’s never caused me any physical harm. I know it’s a fact that it can’t.’

Get immediate confidence and reassurance by knowing that a panic attack isn’t going to harm you – because it can’t.

A panic attack has NEVER caused physical harm to anyone.

It’s the unknown and ‘what if’s…’ that fuel the panic. This knowledge will help you get rid of these things instantly.

Stand firm, and recognise that, like a bully, panic feeds off fear.

When you give it nothing to feed on, the panic goes away.

Face the panic head-on, and shout out: ‘DO YOUR WORST!’. Shout it out in your head if you can’t do it publicly. Don’t worry about what other people are doing or thinking – that is not your worry or concern.

When you face the panic head-on, it won’t get worse. It will get better.

As your anger, determination and confidence grow, feel the symptoms continue to subside.

Know that when you don’t stoke the fire, panic has nothing to feed off.

As your panic is almost gone, smile. Thank anxiety for keeping you safe. Reassure it, and tell it, on this occasion it wasn’t needed. It was simply a false alarm.

Keep doing the things and visiting the places that cause you to panic, and keep telling your brain you’re OK. No need to panic.

With time and practise, watch as your anxiety and panic triggers ease each time you do these things – until you reach the point you no longer panic.


Choice #5 comes with its challenges. Facing up to a bully isn’t easy. But I can assure you of this: it is no more of a challenge than facing the prospect of being bullied by panic attacks for the rest of your life.

Which choice will you make? I like #5.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

Why does my toxic boss cause me stress and anxiety - Carl Vernon
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Panic Attacks, Self-Confidence, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

Why Does My Toxic Boss Cause Me Stress & Anxiety?

Toxic bosses are way up there when it comes to our stress and anxiety levels. How can you spot a toxic boss and, more importantly, what can you do about it?

The title of this post is Why Does My Toxic Boss Cause Me Stress & Anxiety?

The answer to the question is in the title.

A ‘toxic’ anything will always cause you stress and anxiety. Whether that be a toxic partner, friend, whoever.

But there is something extra shitty about contending with a toxic boss.

There are standout reasons why a toxic boss is consistently voted as one of the top causes of our stress and anxiety. Here’s just a few:

1. If you work full-time, you’ll be spending most of your time at work. That means you probably spend more time with your boss than you do your family!

2. There seem to be enough toxic bosses to go around the equator, twice. Because of that, the chances of you getting a toxic boss are moderate to high.

Let’s have a look at some toxic boss traits and the ways to deal with them. When we can identify a toxic boss, we can do something about them.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

How to identify a toxic boss

Toxic bosses generally come in three categories.

#1: They know they’re a toxic boss but want to improve.

#2: They don’t know they’re a toxic boss.

#3: They know they’re a toxic boss but just don’t care.

Category number one isn’t too bad because they’re aware of their behaviour, and they’re trying to improve. If your toxic boss falls into this category there’s a good chance with time things might get better.

It’s category number two and three that you need to be most aware of.

These are the two categories that are the most dangerous and severe on your stress and anxiety levels.

If your boss doesn’t know they are toxic, who is going to tell them or convince them that something needs to change? And if your boss knows they are toxic but just doesn’t care, well, that’s as bad as it gets.

Whichever category your toxic boss falls under, there is no doubt they are making your life a living hell and something needs to be done!

Before we look at the three steps that will help you deal with a toxic boss, let’s have a look at some of the usual toxic boss traits. (Just in case you were in any doubt.)

A toxic boss:

  • Micromanages.
  • Gets you to do things he wouldn’t do himself.
  • Excessively controls everything (even though they are crap at what they do and they get it wrong – badly wrong – and then blames you).
  • Looks after herself above anyone else.
  • Is always right.
  • Asks you to do something and then asks you why you did it the next day.
  • Is late and often absent when really needed.
  • Has no direction for their team or themselves.
  • Steals the glory.
  • Uses bullying tactics to get what they want.

You can probably add a few of your own to this list?

OK. So we’ve identified the most dangerous toxic bosses and toxic boss traits. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty and discover how to deal with them.

Here are three steps to deal with a toxic boss.

How to deal with a toxic boss

STEP #1: Take responsibility and take control

A toxic boss’ behaviour is fundamentally based on bullying. And like all bullies, they can only successfully bully you if you are prepared to be a victim.

It’s important you understand this statement correctly.

Most people don’t choose to be a victim. You wouldn’t wait in a queue to sign up to get a toxic boss. Having a bad boss isn’t your fault. But allowing yourself to be a victim is your responsibility.

You have to take ownership of the issue (the toxic boss) if you’re going to do something about it.

And that means taking responsibility for the situation.

You can’t control your bad boss. It’s up to him how he acts. Trying to take control of him will most likely lead to more despair and disappointment.

Instead, take control of yourself – the thing that you do have control over.

Take responsibility by establishing what your boundaries are. Make the decision that you are no longer going to allow these boundaries to be breached by your toxic boss – that you are no longer going to be a victim and you’re going to do something about it.

Once you’ve come to this conclusion, the next step is to confront the behaviour.

STEP #2: Confront the behaviour

Nobody said confronting a bully is going to be easy.

But here’s the deal: It’s no more difficult than the prospect of working for a toxic boss for the rest of your life, being a victim, and suffering all the stress and anxiety that comes with that.

The stress and anxiety you get from confronting your toxic boss is nothing compared to the stress and anxiety you get from not doing it.

Common sense and logic will tell you that there is no sense in suffering.

The same goes for the fear of facing your manager. 

The fear of facing your boss will never be as bad as the fear you get from not doing it – including the prospect of continuing to work for them for the next ten years.

Being assertive and not aggressive, you have to be prepared to confront your toxic boss and communicate how you feel and why you feel that way.

There is no moving forward unless there is communication.

If you can’t communicate with your toxic boss, move on. It’s a lost cause.

In this scenario, if you think it’s worthwhile talking to someone more senior, go ahead. It might not be your job to tell your toxic boss how bad they are. Just be realistic and mindful that this could cause further issues with your toxic boss – especially if they’re not open to improvement.

Once you’ve confronted the behaviour, the final step is to stick to your boundaries.

STEP #3: Stick to your boundaries

If you stop a bully from stealing your lunch money on Monday, but he tries again on Tuesday and you let him take it, he’ll just keep coming back for your lunch money and doing what he knows he can keep getting away with.

Consistency is the key to change.

Set your boundaries and stick to them at all costs.

Show your toxic boss (the bully) that you mean business.

You ain’t shifting, no matter what.

If anyone is shifting, it’s them – not you.

If you’re prepared to stick to your boundaries at all costs, there will be a few things that happen.

  • Like all bullies, your toxic boss will get tired of trying to bully you and will stop trying.
  • Your toxic boss will find another victim. (If you care for them, you’ll get them to read this too.)
  • Eventually, your toxic boss will get found out and fired. If the company you work for is any good, this will always be the case.

All of these options look pretty good, don’t they?

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

Anxiety, Depression, Happiness, Self-Confidence, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

3 Steps That Will INSTANTLY Improve Your Mood

We usually take the longest and hardest route when trying to change our mood. What is the easiest and fastest route, and how can you change your mood instantly?

We all get anxious, stressed and feel low at times – perfectly normal.

But do you find yourself getting trapped in a mood?

Maybe you wake up feeling instantly anxious?

Maybe a particular setting (like your office) causes a constant feeling of stress?

Maybe you feel so low you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning?

I hear you.

I’ve been through the lot myself.

Sometimes it feels like no matter what you try and do, you just can’t shake off the mood that keeps you feeling stressed, anxious and depressed.

If this sounds familiar to you, I’ve got a suggestion and a three-step process that might be useful to you.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

How can we instantly change our mood?

Let’s use anxiety and stress as the two examples here, seeing as it’s these two things that tend to dominate how we feel.

What do we usually do when we get anxious?

I used to do one of two things.

  1. Stay rooted to the same spot (a chair that I would sit in) and let all the worrying and anxious thoughts consume me – to the point of overthinking every last possible detail.
  2. If I weren’t frozen in the same spot, I’d pace up and down from one spot to the next, back and forth.

And what do we usually do when we get stressed?

If I were in the office at work, I’d sit at my desk hiding behind my computer, put my face in my hands and start rubbing my temples – wishing away all the crap that was causing me the stress.

Being frozen to the spot or pacing up and down is a natural reaction to anxiety. Just like putting your face in your hands and rubbing your temples is a natural reaction to stress. But what do you think these natural reactions are doing?

My point here will make total sense in just a second.

But before we move on, I want to highlight one more thing with a quick exercise.

Quick exercise:

Imagine someone who is depressed.

You can’t see this person. They’re behind a door or wall.

What do they look like?

Their head is down to the ground. Their eyes are looking down. Their shoulders are slumped. Pretty much everything is facing downwards, right?

That’s because the natural reaction to depression (feeling low) is to do all these things with our body.

When we feel like crap, the last thing we want to do is jump for joy.

Our mind (how we feel mentally) tells our body to portray how we’re feeling (the physical reaction). It’s a natural process.

Here’s where it all gets interesting . . .


Your body speaks volumes

By doing all these natural bodily reactions, we’re fuelling the negative mood. We’re reinforcing why we should be feeling that way.

When we stay rooted to the same spot we stay anxious.

When we put our heads in our hands we stay stressed.

When we stay in bed we stay depressed.

If we want to instantly improve our mood, we have to look at our physicality – what we’re doing with our body.

In other words, changing our mental state starts with changing our physical state.

It’s a big misconception – the idea that we have to change our thoughts to change how we feel. It’s not entirely accurate.

There’s no doubt that you get a better outcome when you think more positively compared to thinking negatively, but changing your physical state is a much quicker and easier way to change your mood compared to positive thinking.

Trying to override your negative thoughts with positive affirmations is usually a waste of time. 

It’s incredibly difficult. Almost impossible.

Try telling yourself you’re not stressed when you’re in the middle of a shit storm. Ain’t gonna happen!

The best way to manage your state of mind (your mood) is to first concentrate on what you’re doing with your body.


Listen to the Podcast: Instantly Improve Your Mood.


The 3-step process to improve your mood

To simplify the process of improving our mood, let’s look at it as three steps.

1. STATE OF MIND =

2. ACTION =

3. RESULT

Your state of mind (your mood) dictates what you’re going to do next (your action), and that produces the outcome (the result).

When you have a negative state of mind (including negative body language) it creates a negative action, and that will always give out a negative result.

(Put shit in, get shit out.)

By becoming more aware of this simple process and making just a small change in our physical state, we can change the entire process so it looks like this.

CHANGE IN PHYSICAL STATE = DIFFERENT ACTION = BETTER RESULT

The better result in this instance is an instant improvement in mood.

(Put good stuff in, get good stuff out.)

Choose your mood - Carl Vernon

Try it for yourself.

The next time you find yourself getting trapped in an anxious, stressed or depressed mood, remember that it’s your physical state that will make the difference.

Rather than allow your thoughts (your mind) to control what your body does, do something completely different.

For example, when you get stressed or anxious, don’t stay rooted to the same spot. Get up and go do something. Completely change your focus. That ‘something’ could be a hobby. It doesn’t matter. It can be anything – as long as you don’t stay trapped in the body that an anxious/stressed mind wants to keep you in.

When you can break free from this natural pattern dictated by our minds, you can break the pattern of your mood.

Put your chin up, keep your eyes up, put your shoulders back, lift your chest, breathe confidently and deeply, and smile.

You might not feel like doing these things, but that is exactly the point.

It takes time to override what our mind wants us to do naturally, but the more you become aware of this process and the more you practise, the better you’ll get.

Remember that you hold the cards. You hold the power over your mood – everyone does. It’s you who gets to choose your mood.

Choose your mood by changing what you do with your body. The rest will follow.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

How to say without feeling guilty - Carl Vernon
Anxiety, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Self-Confidence, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

How To Say ‘No’ Without Feeling Guilty

Saying no usually comes with a feeling of guilt. But saying yes too often is detrimental to our own mental and physical health. How can we say no without feeling guilty?

You’re a good human being.

You want to help people out, and when you’re asked for favours, you’re quick to say yes.

The problem with all this is the people lining up to abuse your good nature. Not everyone is like that – but we have to face the fact that the more you give, the more will be taken.

All the leaders say how important it is to say no.

Steve Jobs Saying No

Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world says:

The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.

Saying no more often makes a lot of sense.

When we say yes too often, we’re not only allowing our good nature to be compromised, but we’re also running around like headless chickens making everyone else happy, and in turn, seriously jeopardising our own needs.

We forget what we need.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to help and serve others, but if it’s at the cost of your own mental and physical health, there should be no guilt in saying no more often.

Here’s how to say no more often without the guilt.

Step One: The Direct Approach

There is a thin balance between being aggressive and being assertive.

Getting the balance right is in the ability to say no without coming across like a selfish arsehole. It can be tricky, and it does take practice, especially if saying no hasn’t come naturally to you before.

Plus, there is no beating around the bush when it comes to saying no.

No means no – however you say it.

But if we put our common sense caps on, we know there are good and bad ways to deliver a ‘no’.

‘No, go fuck yourself’ is quite different to ‘No, I’m sorry, I don’t have the time for that right now.’

One will get you fired, and the other will get you a promotion for your communication skills and assertiveness.

We don’t need to be aggressive when saying no, but we do need to be assertive. However you try to fluff it up – when you say no it’s likely you’re not doing something someone wants you to do.

If you don’t take the direct approach, you won’t be taken seriously.

Whoever it is asking you to do things outside of what is acceptable to you needs to know they can’t keep hassling you.

Have you noticed it’s always the people willing to say yes more often that are the ones who get picked on? They’re the ones being abused, working more overtime than is feasible, and lending more money to friends they can’t afford.

You have to make a choice whether or not you’re one of these people – because it is your choice to make.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

Step Two: Understanding Your Boundaries

The term ‘draw a line’ applies here.

You’ve got to establish where your line is.

Do you know where your line is? If you don’t, that’s the issue.

If you don’t know what your limits are you’re leaving it up to your subconscious to tell you when you’re pissed off. When we reach that point we eventually explode! That’s when we do things we regret.

We can prevent ourselves from reaching this point when we know what our boundaries are.

What are you willing to accept?

That’s the only question that needs answering.

If the boss is asking you to do overtime you know is excessive – and you know it breaches what is acceptable (your boundaries) – you need to say no.

If your mate asks you for another tenner, on top of the two they haven’t paid you back yet, is that beyond your limit? If it is, you need to say no.

Understanding your boundaries will help you manage the whole process of saying no better than you ever have.

If something makes you angry or feel resentment, it’s a sure sign you’ve surpassed your limit.

Do yourself a favour and say no more often – so you don’t get close to reaching this level of pissedoffness. (If that’s a term?)


Listen to the Podcast: Saying ‘No’ Without the Guilt.


Step Three: Be OK With Being a Bit More Selfish

Part of what gets us into the mess of saying yes too often is how selfless we are.

Being in touch with other people’s needs is a beautiful human trait. There is no doubt we need more humans like you!

But as we’ve just said, we can’t keep giving and giving without expecting it to eventually breach our health and wellbeing.

You can’t give what you haven’t got.

You can't give what you haven't got - Carl Vernon

You have to put your needs first.

In the short-term, being more selfish is hard. That feeling of guilt is extra heavy, so you’ll find it harder to break. If you’re not used to saying no, people will be shocked when you start doing it more often.

But in the long-term, appreciating our own needs (being a bit more selfish) is better for everyone.

By being a bit more selfish, you’ll break the pattern that saying yes too often has got you in – whether that’s doing all the housework, working too much overtime or lending money you haven’t got.

When you stop doing these things you’ll be happier and less angry, and when you feel like that, the people around you will benefit too. Your boss will get a productive worker. You and your partner won’t have the same argument you have every evening. You’ll have a better relationship with your mates because you won’t resent them.

As I mentioned, you can’t give what you haven’t got. If saying yes all the time is bringing you down mentally, physically and emotionally, eventually you won’t have anything left to give.

By giving yourself that extra ‘me’ time and space (that everyone needs and deserves), you have more to give when it really counts.

So the next time you feel guilty for saying no, remember that you’re not only doing it for your own sake but for everyone else’s.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

The Top 5 Books That Helped Me With Stress & Anxiety
Anxiety, Happiness, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Self-Confidence, Social Anxiety, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

The Top 5 Books That Helped Me Deal With Anxiety & Stress

Anxiety and stress will always be two of the most sort after categories when it comes to self-help. With lots of books to choose from, which are the top books that will help you?

On my mission to find the answers for anxiety and stress, books were both a big source of guidance and inspiration.

I read hundreds of them, but there were just a few standout books that made the difference.

Here are the top five books that helped me with anxiety and stress the most. (The best thing about all these books is you don’t need to be an avid reader to enjoy them.)

#1: The Power of Now

The Power of Now

By Eckhart Tolle.

Without a doubt the most profound book on the list. Probably the most profound book I’ve ever read. I read The Power of Now with the understanding that it is a spiritual book (about spiritual enlightenment), and although I’m not particularly spiritual myself, it delivered a powerful message: The only thing that is real is this moment, right now. So much of our anxiety and stress is about worrying about the past and the future, and learning to live more in the present moment (the ‘now’) can make all the difference.

Grab your copy of The Power of Now here.


#2: Anxiety Rebalance

Anxiety Rebalance - Carl Vernon

By Carl Vernon.

I know. It seems a little narcissistic to include my own book on this list, but the truth is, it’s the book that helped me the most. There is something about writing things down that offers a powerful form of release. That’s why I’d have put it top of the list. A lot of the feedback from readers (including people who don’t read much) is they enjoyed reading Anxiety Rebalance because they can relate to my personal experience. I don’t mind admitting, I’ve been back to read it a few times myself – and I still get something new from it every time!

Grab your copy of Anxiety Rebalance here.


The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon


#3: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

By Robin Sharma.

This beautifully written book opens the door to anyone interested in the more spiritual side of life. As I mentioned above, I’m not necessarily the most spiritual person on the planet, but this book is great for opening your eyes to the bigger picture of what life is about. It struck a chord with me when I was working sixteen-hour days and running myself into the ground. The question: ‘Why am I doing it?’ was milling around in my head, but I never took the time to answer it. I’m glad I picked up The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari because it helped me appreciate how important the answer is, especially when it comes to our health and wellbeing.

Grab your copy of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari here.


#4: Awaken The Giant Within

Awaken The Giant Within

By Anthony Robbins.

Self-help has a bit of stigma attached to it. It’s one of those things you tend to love or hate. With Tony Robbins being the king of self-help, he definitely fits into this category. I’ve always made an effort not to come across as too ‘self-helpy’ (if that’s a word?) because I know it can put a lot of people off. The title Awaken The Giant Within sounds very self-helpy, but when you give it go, the book is filled with lots of sound advice – a lot of it that relates to managing anxiety and stress.

Grab your copy of Awaken The Giant Within here.


#5: Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad

By Robert Kiyosaki.

You might be wondering why I’ve included a financially related book in my top five, but when it came to my stress levels, Rich Dad Poor Dad was a big influence in helping me out. There are three things that stress us out the most. People, work & money. Rich Dad Poor Dad will help you out with the latter because it’s arguably one of the most important financial books ever written. It will teach you everything you need to know about the importance of investing – in the right way – through passive income. Whatever we think about the green stuff, when we become more financially literate, it goes a long way toward reducing our anxiety and stress levels.

Grab your copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad here.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

Calm state of mind
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

3 of the Best Ways to Control Your Anxious Thoughts

High anxiety makes our mind race out of control. Negative thoughts consume us, and we just want them to stop. What can we do to control these anxiety-related thoughts?

Let’s cut to the chase.

You can’t control all your thoughts.

You have about 60,000 thoughts a day. (You can easily add another 10k to that when you’re anxious.) How are we supposed to control all of them?

It’s impossible.

BUT – and there is a BIG but – there are things we can do to manage them.

Here are three of the best ways you can control and manage your anxious thoughts.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

#1: Stop the seed from growing

Although we don’t have complete control over the thoughts that enter our minds, we do have control over what we do with them.

A thought isn't real until you make it real by taking action - Carl Vernon

Think of each of your thoughts like a seed in a pot.

Like a seed, a thought has the potential to grow, or not grow at all.

Rather than allow your thoughts to run riot, start becoming consciously aware of all your thoughts – especially the negative ones.

With each thought you have that grabs your attention, decide at that moment whether you want it to grow or whether you want to stump it.

The easiest and quickest way to do this is to filter your thoughts between two categories:

Category 1: The thoughts that are destructive and lead to further anxiety (panic).

Category 2: The thoughts that are constructive and worth your time and focus.

If you decide your thought is in category one and is destructive, aim to stump it. Keep it buried in the soil. Proactively decide to think of something else and shift your focus (see #2 below).

For example: ‘I’ll never overcome anxiety.’

That’s the type of destructive thought that will get you nowhere and one you want to stump from growing.

If you decide your thought is in category two and is constructive, aim to water it. Just like a seed, water it with further constructive thoughts and allow it to grow and flourish.

For example: ‘I know it’s going to challenge me, but I’m going to do it anyway.’

That’s the type of constructive thought that is going to take you places – a thought you should water and allow to grow that will produce offshoots like ‘I can handle the challenge. I’ve already faced lots of challenges and I’ve proved I can do it’.

The more destructive thoughts you can stump and the more constructive thoughts you can water, the better the level of control you’ll have.

#2: Shift your focus

Have you noticed, the more you focus on your problems, the bigger they seem?

Have you also noticed how when you focus on your problems they continue to duplicate? Like when Mogwai from the film Gremlins gets wet – they just keep popping up uncontrollably and end up becoming gremlins!

Although most of these gremlins (problems) aren’t real, they surround us, suffocate us, and cause us bags of stress and anxiety.

This is all down to our focus and the fact that: whatever you focus on, you get more of.

When we choose to focus on the ‘what ifs…’ we go looking for things to worry about. And when we look for things to worry about we create things that aren’t real!

If we want more control over our thoughts and less stress and anxiety, we need to start dealing with facts and reality.

We need to focus on what is real.

Stressing and worrying about the things out of your control and things that aren’t real is a waste of your valuable time and effort.

When you pay attention to your daily thoughts, you’ll appreciate how much you worry about things that don’t actually exist. If you think about most of the thoughts you have related to the future (particularly the negative ones), how many actually come true?

It really does pay to focus on the things that count, not on things that don’t exist.

If a thought doesn’t allow you to grow and its only purpose is to stump your growth, ignore it – move on.

Out of those 60,000+ thoughts a day, it’s inevitable some will be negative. You can’t prevent these thoughts from entering your head, but it’s up to you what you do with them.

It’s up to you whether they become real, or don’t exist at all. That is something you have 100% power over.

#3: Don’t try to control your anxious thoughts

Probably the most effective of the three.

When we try to control something (or someone) we usually end up worse off – especially when it comes to anxiety-related thoughts.

It’s easier to come to the conclusion that life is unpredictable and, because of such, trying to control everything in our lives only leads to frustration and despair.

Just let your thoughts be.

Don’t hold on to them. Get skilled at letting them go.

Better still, get skilled at letting the negative ones go and allowing the good ones to flourish.

Your thoughts don't own you - Carl Vernon

If you’re going through a hard time, know that it will pass. It always does.

It’s not a question of if, it’s when.

Until you reach that point of strength (because you will), keep letting those negative anxiety-related thoughts pass through.

A little like a visitor passing by. They might stay for a little while – maybe even outstay their welcome – but eventually, they will go.

Overcoming anxiety and the thoughts around it is about timing as much as anything else.

Be patient and know that you will reach a better level of strength. When you do, those negative anxiety-related thoughts will get less invasive.

Continue to shift your focus to the thoughts that need a good watering, and let go of the ones that are no good for you.

You’ll reach that level of strength much quicker.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

Anxiety, Fear, Happiness, Panic Attacks, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

Why Do I Get Anxiety When Driving?

When high anxiety becomes a feature in our lives, driving anxiety is commonplace. Why do we get anxious when driving, and how can we overcome it?

For the everyday, ‘normal’ driver, bombing up and down the motorway at 70mph (70mph tops, of course) isn’t an issue.

But if you’re dealing with high anxiety it’s a different story – and it all comes down to the story we’re telling ourselves.

We’ve all got that little voice in our heads. That little voice sounds very different when anxiety is your focus.

When driving home from work, a balanced person’s little voice is saying things like ‘what shall I have for dinner tonight’, and ‘will I get back in time for my TV programme.’

When you’re highly anxious, that little voice is saying things like ‘I hope I don’t crash the car’, and ‘what if I get stuck on the motorway – what the hell am I going to do!’

When you’re balanced, thoughts are about everyday things. When you’re highly anxious, thoughts are connected to our survival instinct. (i.e. not dying.)

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon

High anxiety makes us focus on our survival, and that creates a whole raft of irrational thoughts.

These irrational thoughts become our sole focus, continuously fuelling the fear cycle.

It’s exhausting!

The more we allow the cycle to continue, the worst the fear gets, until we might reach the point when we don’t want to get in the car.


What can we do about driving anxiety?

It all comes down to small steps.

One small step is all it takes to start something new - Carl Vernon

You’ve got to retrain your brain so it knows that driving is a normal everyday activity.

So the first step is to rationalise your thoughts.

Driving carries a risk, but so do all modes of transport.

You have to decide if you’re willing to take the risk of driving.

If you put your rational thinking cap on, it will tell you that millions of people drive every day without issue. In other words, when you’re thinking rationally, the right decision is to drive.

The second step is to have to look at where you are right now.

If you’ve just started to experience driving anxiety, you’re in a different place to someone who’s not been able to get in a car for the last year.

Based on where you are right now, you have to decide what the next small step of action is for you.

That step should take you a little further outside of your current comfort zone.

That might mean you:

  • Take a friend out to drive with you.
  • Drive a little further outside of your comfort zone.
  • Go on the motorway or an A road.
  • Drive past the place that makes you anxious.
  • Sit in a car.

Pick the option that is right for you based on your current situation.

For example, if you haven’t been able to get in a car for the past year, just sitting in a car might be the thing that expands your comfort zone.

Each small step that you take should push you a little further outside of your comfort zone.

Like a snowball, with each step you take, your confidence is growing. You’re telling your brain that the thing you’ve been too nervous to do is OK.

**VERY IMPORTANT**

The key to making this process work is appreciating two things:

  1. Like a snowball, you have to continue your momentum.
  2. Accept that you will be challenged by the feelings of fear and anxiety.

When we expand our comfort zones, anxiety hits back and tries to stop us. It’s easier for anxiety (your survival instinct) to keep you in a little box. The job of keeping you safe is easier.

But you and I know that is no way to live.

You have to first decide that you are willing to face up to the challenge, and accept that you will feel anxious and challenged.

It means that you might feel like you’re going backwards at times.

Sometimes you’ll feel like you want to give up.

Use your rational thinking, and don’t give up.

To help with the rational thinking here, when making the decision whether or not to give up I want you to consider the prospect of never driving again.

What does that mean to you?

A loss of a job?

Your independence – gone?

A feeling of being trapped?

Allow the fear of these things to drive you to make the right decision. (Pun intended.)

Allow the prospect of these things becoming a reality to push you that extra step when you need it.

Keep making those small steps, and with each step keep expanding your comfort zone – just a little each time.

When you’re brave enough to face up to the challenge, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you can change things.

In other words, the challenge is worth it.

The Rebalance Club - Carl Vernon