Anxiety - The Solution
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Stress

Anxiety: The Solution | What To Do When Everything Else Fails

Anxiety is subjective. At least, it’s meant to be. It’s too big of a subject not to be.

The way you’re affected by anxiety will be very different to someone else. That means that a one-size-fits-all approach to overcoming anxiety is flawed. And yet, when anxiety gets out of control and we need help, we have very few options available to us.

We tend to turn to the same things.

What do you do when you need help for anxiety?

There are the two steps most of us take:

  1. Go to your doctor
  2. Go to Dr Google

These were my usual stomping grounds. If I weren’t in and out of the doctor’s surgery, I was on Google looking for the next quick fix and cure. 

‘Maybe the next thing I try will be the thing that works?’

Go to your doctor, and the NHS will dictate what course of action you take. That’s usually in the form of medication or a long waiting list for counselling, involving CBT and/or hypnotherapy treatment.

Google, or Dr Google, is sold to the highest bidder. That means the medicines, programmes, methods, and any other product offering a cure for anxiety, dominate the market – if they have the largest budget to do so. A large budget doesn’t make the product good or effective. It could be as insidious as meaning they are skilled at taking money from vulnerable, highly anxious people.

If these few options are so effective, why is anxiety still rampant in our society in epidemic proportions?

It’s because these options – the ones given to us in a controlled way – might not be that good. If they were, we wouldn’t have the big problem we’ve got with anxiety in our society today. We would all be ‘cured’. You only need to have a conversation with a friend or look at social media to see and hear how far from reality that is.

The definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Anxiety Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again.

If you’re trapped in a cycle of anxiety, one you’re finding hard to break free from, it might be time to look outside the box – outside of these usual options.

What’s in the box isn’t helping you.

Those solutions we tend to jump to first might be the very things keeping you trapped and disallouisoned.

Stopping the search for your next quick fix or cure could be the thing that liberates you and ends the continuous struggle.

Overcoming anxiety is a journey

The anxiety solution is a journey that requires a series of answers that fit you at the right time in your life. In other words, what worked for you and your anxiety when you were twelve year’s old is very different to what will comfort you and work for you today.

We get trapped in the notion that there should be one solution for anxiety because it makes it simpler. We pin all our hopes on that thing (the thing we’re trying at that time), only to get disillusioned and disappointed when we fail – or when the effects wear off.

Overcoming anxiety should be simple, and if you’re familiar with my bestselling book Anxiety Rebalance, you’ll know that simplicity is very much my preference. But getting trapped in this notion of ‘one solution for anxiety’ will keep you in a neverending cycle of despair. It will keep you jumping from one thing to the next, never satisfied or at peace with yourself.

The healthy approach to overcoming anxiety is to appreciate that anxiety is a normal part of life, and always will be. Appreciate that anxiety isn’t something you can switch off or cure. When you keep looking for that illusive cure, you’ll continue looking for answers that don’t exist.

When anxiety is getting out of control over a sustained period of time, don’t let that panic continue taking you down a route of despair and disappointment.

Anxiety not having a cure shouldn’t concern you – let it take you in a new direction. A direction that doesn’t see you get trapped in the box. If you keep turning to the same things that never worked or made a difference for you, you’ll keep getting the same result. As Albert suggests, that is the definition of insanity. You’ll stay trapped in a cycle created by the very same institutes that promised to help.

You’re not a failure if you’ve tried all the ‘usual’ stuff and it hasn’t worked. That mainstream stuff offered to the masses (the society still deeply affected by anxiety) might not be right for you.

What is right for you?

It would be controlling and cult-like of me to suggest that I know the precise answer to that. It would also be unrealistic for me to suggest one solution because, as I’ve suggested, there isn’t just one answer. The anxiety solution comes back to the fact that overcoming anxiety is a journey. It’s not about one specific answer.

That journey – your journey – is based on the anxieties (fears) you experience at different times in your life. The answer that works as a solution for you today could be very different to the answer that creates action and change for you tomorrow.

The balanced approach

I like to adopt a holistic, balanced approach to overcoming anxiety.

That involves shifts and changes in both my mindset and lifestyle to adapt to what is right for me at any given time.

When I feel highly anxious, or like I have no energy (depressed), my automatic reaction isn’t to call the doctor or jump on Dr Google, like it used to be. When I did that, I stayed trapped in an endless cycle that got me nowhere.

Now, I search within, and the answer that comes back is always the same: take action.

This approach keeps me away from the mainstream trap.

It helps me appreciate, as I grow and evolve, the answers I need, change.

It stops me from beating myself when I experience a challenging time – because I know that everyone goes through challenging times. That doesn’t make me a failure – it makes me human.

This approach reinforces the habit of taking action – the only thing needed to make significant change.

Taking action could mean something as small as getting up off my seat and changing my environment, rather than sitting and staying rooted to the same spot allowing all the worrying thoughts to take over.

Small steps are all it takes.

Whatever approach you decide is right for you, try not to get stuck in the mainstream cycle. Try not to pin all your hopes on one solution. Try to keep taking action and making small steps towards where it is you want to be.

If you’re fed up with the same results, ditch the insanity, and do something different.

Anxiety Rebalance
You Care Too Much Book
Anxiety, Happiness, Self-Confidence, Social Anxiety, Success & Wellbeing, Toxic People, Work-life Balance

Social Anxiety: Free Yourself From Social Anxiety

A sneak preview into what to expect from my new book – You Care Too Much: Free Yourself From Social Anxiety, out January 2019.

You Care Too Much Book

It’s like no other book you’ll read on the subject of social anxiety and confidence.

I go deep into the real meaning behind what social anxiety really is. In a nutshell, it’s: caring too much about what people think.

You’ll discover why we all feel the same way, and what you can do to free yourself.

I’m going to give you techniques like the logical gap, to help you deal with your social anxiety in ways you didn’t think possible.

  • Discover why you care too much – and why it’s doing you no good.
  • Ditch your insecurity and self-consciousness and be yourself.
  • Control your need for approval from others.
  • Cut out the anxiety, worry and self-doubt others cause you.
  • Learn how to spot and deal with toxic people – so you can stop them from walking all over you.

When you change the way you think about social anxiety and what it means, you’ll transform the way you deal with it.

7 Horrible Symptoms of Anxiety Summed Up and Simplified - Carl Vernon
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Stress

7 Horrible Symptoms of Anxiety Summed Up and Simplified

Headache. Neck ache. Sore throat. Fever. Fatigue. Sleeping problems. An itchy toe. You name it – any symptom can be related to anxiety.

I was in and out of the doctor’s surgery.

I didn’t have a clue if I were coming or going – and I don’t think the doctor did either.

The constant need for reassurance was the overriding issue.

If you’re stuck in a cycle of anxiety (fear), it’s likely you’ll be visiting the doctor often. It’s also very likely you’ll be hitting the internet to see Dr Google for answers.

You might stay stuck in the cycle because you’re not finding the answers you’re looking for.

Because I know how deep the need for answers and constant reassurance goes, I want to give you some quick answers to typical anxiety-related symptoms and disorders that you won’t hear from the doctor.

Health Anxiety

Getting straight to the point, health anxiety is the fear of death. If you’re familiar with my DP Rule from Anxiety Rebalance, you’ll know that our two primary fears are Death and People. When you start dealing with these fears, health anxiety becomes much less of an issue.

Social Anxiety

At its very basic level, social anxiety is caring too much about what people think. When we feel like crap, we prefer to do it in the comfort of our own homes. Longer-term issues with social anxiety arise because avoidance feels good (at first). As time goes by, social anxiety gets worse when we appreciate a reclusive lifestyle isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. When we get comfortable with the fact that EVERYONE deals with the same issues, including social anxiety, we stop feeling so isolated. We also improve relationships with others – and in turn, drop the social anxiety.

You Care Too Much Book

Panic attacks

In short, panic attacks are bullies that we create when we’re dealing with high anxiety. We become hypersensitive to all our bodily feelings, and when something is off kilter, even slightly, it can cause us to panic (have a panic attack). When you start managing high anxiety better by implementing all the proper lifestyle and mindset changes, panic attacks move on – like all bullies who don’t get attention.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Summed up, OCD is created because we feel out of control in at least one area of our lives. OCD is a way for us to try and get that control back – even if it means coming up with pointless routines that don’t mean anything. So if you hate your job, for example, and feel like there is nothing you can do about it, you might develop OCD as a way of coping with it. Getting back in control (or at least feel like you’re in control) will stop the need for compulsive behaviour.

Constant Worrying Thoughts (Overthinking)

In a nutshell, constant worrying thoughts are brought about by the ‘what if’ type thoughts we produce when we’re anxious and stressed. ‘What if this. . . What if that. . .’.  One thought leads to the next and, before you know it, a small problem has turned into a monster. Learning to control our thoughts will stop the monster from getting out of control.

Depression (Depressive thoughts & low mood)

Very simplified, depression and low mood is a lack of energy and willpower. Being highly anxious and stressed zaps our energy. Energy gives you the get-up-and-go you need for the things you want (and need) to do in life – even the basic everyday things take energy. You can’t do anything without energy. When you’re ready to start working on upping your energy levels through various methods, like good diet and exercise, it helps combat the negative and depressive thoughts.

Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia put briefly, is when you play with the wrong odds. When you’re agoraphobic, the fear of leaving your comfort zone (usually your house) becomes the overwhelming fear and prevents you from living a normal life. The fear is based on bad odds. When you appreciate that the odds are heavily favoured towards leaving your house and going to live your life as you want to, the door gets opened and a new comfort zone is built.

Anxiety Rebalance
Small steps is all it takes
Anxiety, Fear, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety

17 Small But Powerful Steps You Can Take To Deal With Anxiety and Panic Instantly

Anxiety and panic want to keep you trapped.

They want to hold you with their grubby paws and keep you rooted to the same spot.

When anxiety and panic are consuming you, it’s deciding to take a small step in a different direction that will produce a different result.

Small steps are all it takes.

It’s the small steps that will take you in a different direction and make all the difference for you.

These small steps will break the pattern of anxiety and panic, so they no longer have a hold on you.

The next time anxiety and panic are trying to grip you, give these 17 small but powerful steps a try. They could produce a very different result for you.

#1: Point your body where you want your mind to go

When you get anxious and panicky, you naturally want to stay in the same spot. By doing that, you’re allowing all the worrying thoughts to consume you. Get up. Go do something. Anything but stay in the same spot. When you change your physical state, you change your mental state.

Point your body where you want your mind to go - Carl Vernon

#2: Close off the ‘what if…’

What if… what? Don’t jump from one what if scenario to the next. Finish off the what if… Rational thinking will tell you things rarely ever get as bad as your worrying thoughts will have you believe.

#3: Become present

The past has gone. The future hasn’t happened yet. The only thing that is real is this moment, right now. Let this profound appreciation melt your trouble away.

#4: Go for a walk, jog, run or drive

This is a reminder of point #1 because it’s the most effective. Go see what nature can offer you. Breathe in the air. Go for a drive, even if you have nowhere in particular to be. Anything but stay rooted to the same spot.

#5: Go people watch

Get out of the house and go to a cafe or some other public place. Just sit and observe. Take in your surroundings and get out of your head.

#6: Put your headphones on

Silence is a breeding ground for worrying thoughts. Listen to some music – any music. Let it influence your mood. 

#7: Get away from negativity

Is someone (a toxic person) increasing your anxiety and panic? Get away from them. Distance yourself from them until you feel you’re in a better mental place to deal with them (if you have to).

#8: Talk

When you internalise your anxiety and panic, it makes it ten times worse than it actually is. Talk about how you’re feeling. Speak to a friend or family member. If you need someone impartial, speak to a counsellor.

#9: Watch some comedy

You might not feel like laughing, but that’s the point. You’ve got to make an effort to change your state of mind if you want a different state of mind. Put your favourite funny film or comedian on, and let the laughter in.

#10: Get angry

Anger is an emotion that will supersede anxiety and panic. Get angry. Tell the internal bully you’re no longer willing to put up with the BS.

#11: Get grateful

Like anger, gratitude is an emotion that supersedes anxiety and panic. When you’re grateful for what you have, rather than worrying about what you haven’t got, that is a powerful state of mind.

#12: Let go

Immediately embrace the fact that you don’t have 100% control. Let go of that need to control. Set it free.

#13: K.I.S.S

Keep It Simple, Stupid. Anxiety has a habit of overcomplicating everything. Have you taken a second to really appreciate what you’re getting anxious and panicky about? Is it worth it?

#14: Lower your expectations

You’re a perfectionist. You want things to be perfect. Yet, they never will be. Let go of the perfectionism and accept that what you do and who you are is good enough.

#15: Stay away from Dr Google

Doctors come in all shapes and sizes, good and bad. There is no worse doctor than Dr Google. He has the worst case scenario and diagnosis for any anxiety-related symptom you can type. Stay away from his surgery.

#16: Don’t care as much

Sounds a little cold, but being highly anxious and panicky means you’re caring too much about something. Try not caring as much.

#17: Remember who you are

You’ve got through 100% of your problems. It’s why you’re here. Don’t let anxiety or panic convince you that you’re weak. You’re not. You’re strong. Stronger than you give yourself credit for. Remember that the next time anxiety and panic tries to mess with you.

Anxiety Rebalance
Clive Fogelman
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Self-Confidence, Social Anxiety, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

Yoga, Meditation and Inspiration For Overcoming Anxiety With Clive Fogelman

In his late 20’s, Clive Fogelman lost both his parents within six months. He was then diagnosed with bowel cancer a few years later.

Clive credits both yoga and meditation as significant tools for dealing with his anxiety through this challenging time and says that by using these things as a ‘toolkit’, everyone can benefit.

Whether it’s focusing on your breathing while waiting for the kettle to boil, or paying more attention to your surroundings when walking to work, everybody can put a little more mindfulness into their day.

We spoke about:

  • The importance of ‘inviting yourself’ to connect with your body and how you feel.
  • Breathing techniques to deal with anxiety and stress instantly.
  • Bringing yourself back to the present.
  • How becoming more self-aware can help you deal with everyday emotions.
  • Taking all experiences (good and bad) and seeing them as something to observe – without judgment or feeling like they’re going against you.
  • The power of the mind and belief.
  • How to use a mindfulness pause.
  • Letting the journey present itself, and dealing with whatever is part of it without fear dictating how you feel.

Clive has been a yoga and meditation teacher for nearly a decade. You can find out more about what Clive does at www.helloyoga.co.uk

Anxiety Rebalance
Morning Anxiety - Make Mornings Better
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Stress, Success & Wellbeing, Work-life Balance

Morning Anxiety: Make Mornings Better

Is there anything worse than being hit with anxiety as soon as you wake up? What can you do to wake up calmer, happier and less anxious?

It feels like that churning feeling in the pit of your stomach is there waiting for you as soon as your eyes open in the morning, followed closely by the instant ‘what if…?’ negative type thoughts that set off a chain of more anxiety-inducing thoughts.

‘What if that email didn’t come through?’

‘Have I paid that water bill?’

‘I can’t send Jamie to school with that hole in his shoe.’

The outcome: bags of morning anxiety and instant stress.

I’m going to be honest from the outset and tell you that morning anxiety isn’t something you can fix overnight.

The reason we wake up and feel instantly anxious is a build up of things that have been going on in our lives for a while.

If you’ve not slept well for a while, you can’t expect to fix that overnight. If you hate your job, you can’t expect to change that in a day. If money is tight, it’s unlikely the money fairy is stopping by anything soon.

But, with all this said, you can start to immediately improve things, including how you feel when you first wake up.

Right now, you can make a conscious decision to do something different when you wake up tomorrow morning. If you do that, you can start to make the changes you’re looking for.

Here are seven handy and simple tips to help you make your mornings better and less anxious.

Give yourself time

Feeling rushed and frantic is marvellous for upping your anxiety levels. If you want to get those anxiety levels down to a better place of balance, you need to give yourself time – so you feel less rushed and frantic. If you set your alarm for 7am, and you’ve got to be out of the house by 7.30am, is 30 minutes enough time to complete your morning routine? If it is and you’ve perfected it down to the minute, I’ll suggest to you that it’s not enough time if you still feel anxious. Set your alarm a little earlier, and give yourself some more breathing space. How you start your day usually dictates the rest of it.

Snooze you lose

Snoozing and staying in bed is just prolonging the pain. Why? Because when you’re sleeping you’re not taking action. It’s as bad as sweeping your problems under the carpet. The problems don’t go away – they grow under that carpet and get worse. Ultimately, there is only one thing that is going to ease your morning anxiety: Taking action. Action is the one thing that will help you overcome any form of anxiety – morning anxiety included. Know that when you stay in bed, nothing is changing. Be prepared to get up and take action.

Up your energy

If you’re feeling extra frisky, jump up straight out of bed as soon as you wake up. Start stretching your body out. Even better, do some exercises, like push-ups and star jumps. This might sound crazy and like it just won’t happen, but if you want to feel radically different in the morning, you’ve got to do something radically different. Even if you do it for 30 seconds, it could make all the difference. We’re talking about realigning your focus here. By doing this, you could ‘forget’ to be anxious – and that will set you on a different course.

Put your phone down!

The alarm on your phone goes off, and if you don’t hit the snooze button and roll over to go back to sleep, you’re straight on your phone checking your social media or news feed. News is generally news because it’s bad news, and social media is proven to increase your anxiety. If you’re doing these things as soon as your eyes open, there are no prizes for guessing what you’ll get in return. (Remember what we said about how you start your day?)

Prepare the night before

How you feel when you wake up is directly affected by yesterday, the day before, and the day before that. Don’t worry about the big stuff for now – just focus on the small step you can take. One of those small steps is to prepare the night before. If you know you’ve got stuff coming up for work, school, or whatever, prepare for it the night before. Get your bag ready. Get your clothes ready. Without getting too OCD about it, do what you can to prepare for the next day. Your brain likes routine, and setting yourself up by getting rid of the unknown will drop those anxiety levels in the morning.

Swap the caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that will fuel your anxiety. If you’re using caffeine to keep you awake, you’re also indirectly using it to make your anxiety worse. Swap your tea and coffee for decaf options or herbal teas, like Green Tea and Chamomile Tea.

Get a better sleeping pattern

The reason I used to wake up feeling like a zombie had a lot to do with me only getting a few hours of sleep (if I were lucky). Getting your sleep pattern right is one of the most difficult things you can do, but if you can start to improve it, even just a little bit, it will go a hell of a long way towards you feeling less anxious in the morning. There are some myths when it comes to getting better sleep, and you’re best to check out my interview with Stephanie Romiszewski (Channel 4’s sleep expert) to get you going in the right direction.

Stay patient and give yourself time. Keep taking action, and with each small step, know that your mornings will continue to get better.

Here’s to calmer, happier, less anxious mornings!

Anxiety Rebalance
Is There a Cure For Anxiety?
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Stress

Is There a Cure For Anxiety?

No.

Was this blog helpful?

No?

OK. Fair enough.

I know it’s probably the last thing you want to hear, but let me instantly reassure you – anxiety not having a cure isn’t a bad thing.

When I was desperately looking for a cure for my anxiety, I’d have done anything to get it. If you’d told me putting my head in a vice for two weeks would cure my anxiety, I’d have done it.

It took me many years of despair, frustration and kissing of frogs before I discovered a cure for anxiety doesn’t exist. I’m hoping I can save you anymore heartache. I know the pain of looking and hoping and not finding.

But as I just mentioned, anxiety not having a cure isn’t a bad thing. It just means we have to look at it in a slightly different way. Before we do that, here’s some random comedy to lighten the mood.

Is there a cure for anxiety?

(‘Cause that’s the thing about anxiety. It has a habit of making things way too serious – hence us looking for cures for it every five minutes.)

Here’s what I mean about looking at anxiety differently.

If we had a life-threatening disease or condition, like cancer, we’d want a cure. We’d want rid of it. We’d want to say goodbye to it and hope that it never returns. Anxiety is different – however you look at it.

Anxiety is, and will continue to be, a fixed part of our lives. We don’t need a cure for something we depend on – something we need for our very survival.

Quick example: You’re crossing the road and a car is coming at you pretty quickly. What is it that tells you to run across the road rather than get hit? Your fight or flight, right? In other words, your anxiety (fear).

How does the prospect of getting rid of that sound now?

We don’t need a cure.

Anxiety might come with unwanted feelings, but it’s part of the life experience. It’s like when we get angry, sad, or just generally feel shitty about ourselves. It’s not nice, but it’s part of the overall emotional experience we go through as humans. We wouldn’t know what it was like to be happy if we didn’t know what it was like to feel shitty.

We accept that getting angry and sad is part of life, but we’re still hung up on getting anxious. We see anxiety as a weakness and something we need to get rid of.

If we’re going to change how we feel about anxiety, including our relationship with it, that has to change.

One of the things that confuse us the most is Dr Google.

Dr Google

If you pop in ‘cure for anxiety’ into Dr Google (and I don’t recommend you do), there won’t be a shortage of companies and people offering you one. They’re normally in the shape of medicines, programmes and methods.

With so much on offer, we can be forgiven for thinking we’re the issue. We’ll think, ‘Maybe I just haven’t tried the right thing yet?’. Add a money back guarantee, and you think you’ve got nothing to lose. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We end up jumping from one ‘cure’ to the next.

Some will help for a while, and you’ll think you’ve finally cracked it. That is until you face a challenge, and that familiar feeling starts coming back to haunt you.

All of this is because dealing with anxiety is a life’s journey.

As you grow, so do the challenges you face. In other words, the way you faced anxiety when you were fifteen years of age will be different to how you face it when you’re fifty.

Anxiety isn’t a one-size-fits-all.

It’s unhealthy and damn frustrating to keep jumping from one ‘cure’ to the next. You’ll never get anywhere. But when you change how you view anxiety, including your relationship with it, you’ll start changing how you feel towards it.

It’s all in the management and balance

The quickest way to change your relationship with your anxiety is to stop thinking and believing you need a cure and, instead, know that dealing with anxiety comes with managing it better. And that’s where balance comes into play.

When you’re dealing with anxiety (or high anxiety as I call it), you’re dealing with higher than normal levels of anxiety.

The key to overcoming that period of high anxiety is to aim to get back to a better place of balance.

Notice my terminology here: ‘period of high anxiety.’

All high anxiety is temporary. To some, this period of time might seem like a lifetime. And I hear you because I felt the same. But high anxiety is always temporary. There was a time in your life when it didn’t affect you as badly as you feel it is now. That means you know what it feels like, no matter how badly high anxiety is clouding your mind right now.

You have to know that, with the right answers and a bit of action, you can manage your anxiety better. You can change your relationship with it. You can spend a lot more of your time in a better place of balance. You can make your journey better.

Do yourself a favour and stop looking for that elusive cure. Stop going around in circles, trapped in a cycle that pulls you from pillar to post.

Start taking control and find those answers that will make the difference for you.

Anxiety Rebalance