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
Sleep Without the Stress With Nick Littlehales
Anxiety, Depression, Happiness, Health & Diet, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

Sleep Without the Stress With Nick Littlehales

‘Elite Sports Sleep Coach’ to the sporting superstars Nick Littlehales changed the way we look at sleeping and napping.

We spoke about:

  • The importance of not trying to get the perfect night’s sleep.
  • Why everyone needs someone to talk to.
  • Napping doesn’t mean sleeping.
  • Coping with technology and modern day living.
  • Why good sleep starts with your mindset.
  • Why getting outside is essential.

Get the Lumie lamp mentioned here

The app mentioned is LUX Lightmeter.


 

 

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
Alison Edgar
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Panic Attacks, Self-Confidence, Stress, Success & Wellbeing, Work-life Balance

The Surprising Connection Between Sales and Overcoming Anxiety With Alison Edgar

Alison Edgar, aka The Entrepreneur’s Godmother, started her own venture when she was 46. Since then, she’s been voted one of the UK’s top business advisors, with invitations to both Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.

It turns out that sales (selling) is a surprising handy skill to have when it comes to overcoming anxiety.

We spoke about:
– The importance of asking for help.
– Making a change, even when it scares you.
– How to avoid regret.
– Why ‘real men’ do cry.
– Dealing with anxiety, stress and pressure at work, and as an entrepreneur.
– The pressures of money and debt.
– Staying motivated through challenges.

Anxiety Rebalance
Health Anxiety - Let Go of the Obsessive Thoughts
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Stress

Health Anxiety: My Experience, and What My Trip to A&E Taught Me

It feels like a constant and endless battle.

Those obsessive thoughts running through your mind about your health or the health of the people closest to you just don’t let up.

What else could I be talking about but health anxiety?

My experience with health anxiety

After a while, I became relatively immune to the obsessive thoughts about my health. I was having so many negative thoughts about my health throughout the day, I began to think they were normal.

With this said, the thing that got me, each and every time, were the exaggerated obsessive thoughts. You know the ones I mean.

‘Is this headache the brain tumour I’ve always thought it was?’

‘Is this bit of chest pain the heart attack I’ve been expecting?’

I could have three headaches a day over the process of a month, and no matter how irrational it was, I’d still be convinced the next headache was ‘the one’.

It was the fear about the exaggerated thoughts that created the obsession.

The fear became my absolute focus and it consumed me, day and night.

It led to the endless trips to the hospital for ECGs, tests and scans – all coming back with negative results.

I’m reluctant to say ‘positive results’ because, at the time, I just wanted a diagnosis so I could move on.

Surely all these symptoms can’t be related to anxiety?

They were, but that didn’t stop the trip to A&E.

The trip to A&E

In my early 20’s, I left work early because I was convinced I was going to die. I ended up driving straight to A&E in total panic.

I approached the lady at the desk, quietly informing her that I was experiencing chest pains, and it felt like there was a tight band around my heart. (I still wasn’t sure whether or not there was something seriously wrong, so I was hesitant and slightly embarrassed. At this point, I also had no idea I was suffering from anxiety. I didn’t know what anxiety was at the time.)

I was sat down and told to take some pills while I waited. I think they were painkillers. I didn’t ask what they were, I just took them and waited.

I sat in the waiting area with the people around me bleeding and coughing. Their very real ailments kept me wondering whether or not my symptoms were real. There was no doubt the chest pains I was experiencing were real – but were they bad enough for me to be here? It just added to the confusion.

After about an hour and a half (which seemed more like three days) I was called through to speak to a nurse. I explained my symptoms, including the chest pain, and she took me through to lie on a bed, where I was strapped up to a blood pressure monitor.

As the nurse put the pads over my chest, I looked over at the monitor with the bouncy line and numbers. Did they mean I was dying? The unknown was enough to increase my heart rate tenfold.

As I laid on the bed, about half an hour passed, and I began to calm down as I appreciated I was in a pretty good place if anything serious was wrong. With the new state of mind, the chest pain and tightness began to subside.

The nurse came over to look at the monitor results. She didn’t say anything, which was a little concerning. Does that mean it’s bad news? She didn’t seem too concerned, which added to the conflicting feelings. I was reluctant to say anything – I didn’t want to know if it were bad news.

She came back five minutes later and reassured me that everything was OK. The test results were fine.

Although grateful for the news, I didn’t jump off the bed in delight. I was still confused by the whole experience.

She mentioned something about stress and something called a ‘panic attack’, but it was brief with no real substance. The focus was on the test results, and those being OK. I was confirmed as a free man – free to leave whenever I wanted.

I got up and started walking out of the hospital back to my car.

It was true. I was a free man – free from the hospital, that is. But the same couldn’t be said for how I felt inside. I didn’t feel free. For a long time after that experience, I remained a prisoner to the fear that something similar could happen again.

But, as with everything in life, if you choose to, you can just about get a positive out of anything. The positives I draw on this experience is the ability to share it, along with some of the answers that have helped me.

Here are three of the standout things I learnt from the A&E experience – and the many other health anxiety-related experiences like it.

Your mind is very powerful

Never underestimate the power of your mind. It can concoct all sorts of anxiety-related symptoms. You name it, your mind can come up with it.

It’s incredibly difficult, but it’s worthwhile spending some time considering whether or not the symptoms you experience are anxiety-related.

Get in the habit of questioning your symptoms, and not just accepting them.

When you experience numbness, is that anxiety?

When you feel sick, is that anxiety?

When you feel dizzy, is that anxiety?

When you’re at their mercy, anxiety-related symptoms will dominate you. You can only start breaking that pattern when you’re willing to question them.

When you’re prepared to say: ‘Wait a minute. Is this symptom real, or is it anxiety tricking me again?’, you naturally and instinctively up your level of self-awareness.

The panic that health anxiety-related symptoms create isn’t as powerful and doesn’t last as long when your self-awareness is higher.

Health anxiety will have a pretty hard time dominating you when you’re self-aware. It won’t be able to trick you as often. It will still have a good go, and even with a surge of rational thinking, it will succeed at times.

But those times will be limited, as long as you keep questioning.

The doctor’s surgery is an addiction

(I’m also going to include Dr Google in this example. When we’re not in the doctor’s surgery, we’re usually asking Dr Google.)

I’ve made jokes about how much I visited the doctor in Anxiety Rebalance.

It’s the constant need of reassurance that does it. The ‘is it, isn’t it’ back-and-forth internal conversation we have about whether or not it is anxiety has us visiting the doctor (a lot).

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

And it’s hindsight that tells me, unless you have a genuine need to do so, visiting the doctor only fuels the anxiety further. Ultimately, you get nowhere. If your symptoms are anxiety-related, the diagnosis is always the same, no matter how many times you go. The visits only add to frustration and despair.

This is where rational thinking comes into play.

Rather than jump straight on the phone to make the doctor’s appointment, give yourself some space, sit down, and question whether or not it’s anxiety tricking you. If it is, it’s time to realign your focus.

(If you have any doubt, you should always speak to your doctor. Sometimes we need the reassurance to move on. Just remember that, if you’re seeking reassurance often, it is counterproductive.)

Focus is key

You have a couple of choices when anxiety-related symptoms are hitting you.

  1. Allow the symptoms to keep the fear cycle turning. Sit still and let all the anxiety-related ‘what if’ type thoughts attack you. Focus on the fear of death, and allow it to consume you – including all the things you can’t control.
  2. Realign your focus, and focus on what it is you can control.

If you feel like there is nothing in your life you can control, then I suggest you start there. There is always something existing or something you can create that can give you a higher level of control. Focus on that, and everything else, including your health anxiety, won’t play as big of a role in your life.

When I did #1, I stayed trapped. I focused on checking my body for imperfections and continued to worry about the headaches. I was obsessed with the ‘unknown’ and everything I didn’t have control of. The fear created was unbearable.

When I did #2 (which was more difficult), I regained a little more control each time. I focused on the things I could do something about, and that created a new mindset.

Health anxiety isn’t just about worrying about your health. It’s feeling out of control. The only way to balance that is to get some more control.

This creates the only question that matters:

What do you have, or what can you create, that will help you gain more control?

Can you get more control over your job? In a relationship? Doing a hobby?

Realign your focus, and with time and more control, you’ll deal with your health anxiety in an entirely different way.

Anxiety Rebalance