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
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
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
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
3 Big Myths About Sleep, Insomnia And Anxiety
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Stress, Success & Wellbeing, Work-life Balance

3 Big Myths About Sleep, Insomnia And Anxiety | Stephanie Romiszewski

Channel 4’s The Secrets of Sleep expert and leading Sleep Physiologist, Stephanie Romiszewski, gave us some big insights into sleep problems and insomnia related to anxiety.

Stephanie is a rebel.

You have to admire anyone who is willing to take a big subject, like sleep, and challenge the status quo.

Sleep, like anxiety, is one of those things where lots of people have lots of different opinions. One ‘expert’ will tell you something different to another ‘expert’.

What I liked about Stephanie’s approach is how open she is to all methods and solutions for sleep problems and insomnia, but rather than just blindly practising those methods (like most other ‘experts’ do), she is keen to add a new approach.

By having a new approach, Stephanie is breaking some of the myths around sleep problems (including anxiety-related insomnia) and giving us some real solutions we can work with.

Here are the top three myths about sleep problems, insomnia and anxiety we uncovered.

Myth #1: Relaxation and sleep are connected

When we think of sleeping, we think of relaxing. The two things naturally go together. But they’re not actually connected. I know, crazy, right!

When I asked Stephanie if she recommended any sleep apps, including sleep trackers, she said no, not really. Why? Because there is no research to suggest that relaxation will help you get to sleep.

We should be aiming to relax in the day, rather than when we go to bed at night.

If you want to use apps and methods to help you deal with stress and anxiety, they’re more useful in the day than at night. And when you think about it, it makes sense. How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you start your day feeling relaxed by controlling your anxiety and stress from the get-go, your day will continue in the same fashion, and you’ll go to bed feeling the same way.

That will put you in a much better position to sleep well, rather than try to force relaxation when it’s sleepy time.

Myth #2: The time you go to bed is more important than the time you wake up

The media have done a great job at scaremongering us into thinking we need to go to bed at the same sensible time every night, which is why most of us hit the pillow and don’t feel sleepy.

I don’t know about you, but I hate going to bed and feeling pressurised to sleep when I don’t feel tired. Sometimes, it almost feels like I’m forcing myself to get those eight hours.

Going to bed at the same time every night is not the key to good, consistent sleep. It’s the time you get up in the morning that is more important!

Stephanie suggests that the best time to go to bed is when you’re ‘sleepy tired’ – when you’re literally nodding off in your chair. If you do that and wake up at the same time every day, that will build up enough ‘awake time’ to get a good consistent pattern of sleep.

The key to making this work is getting up at the same time, every day.

Myth #3: Sleep deprivation is the same as insomnia

I can relate to this, big style!

Feeling fatigued (like crap) is a common symptom of anxiety and stress. The overthinking and worry zaps your energy, so you feel like a zombie.

When anxiety was crippling me, all I wanted to do was sleep all day. And I did. Some days I’d sleep for sixteen hours straight. That’s why on the Rebalance Scale in Anxiety Rebalance, sleep is at the bottom of the scale – because it represents low mood (depression) and low energy.

On the flipside of that, I also went through long periods of sleep deprivation. At the time, if you’d have asked me why I looked like a drooling zombie, I’d have said it was down to insomnia. But it wasn’t. I was sleep deprived, and that is a different thing.

Where I went wrong is I didn’t get the pattern right. I was either sleeping too much or too little. I had no routine or benchmark to set a better pattern.

 

 

The conclusion and action to take.

If anxiety is preventing you from going to sleep, try going to bed when you feel ‘sleepy tired’ – when your head is nodding. It doesn’t matter what time it is, go to bed then. The trick to making this work is getting up at the same time every day. Set your alarm and don’t sleep past it, no matter how tired you feel when you wake up. That will build up enough ‘awake time’, and if you stay patient and do this consistently enough, you’ll eventually sort out your sleeping pattern.

You might feel tired and drained in the day, but if you can get through that pain barrier, you’ll want to sleep at night. You’ll get a decent night’s sleep and getting up in the morning won’t be the heavy task it was before.

Anxiety Rebalance
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 and 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.

 

#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.

Anxiety Rebalance
Google Anxiety
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Stress

Why Am I Addicted to Searching My Anxiety Symptoms Online? (With Dr Google)

An anxiety-related symptom comes up that makes us panic. Panicking makes us jump online to ask Dr Google for reassurance. Why do we do it, even when we know it’s doing us no good, and what can we do about it?

Health anxiety is a real pain in the a**.

And that’s exactly what we’re talking about here – health anxiety.

It’s health anxiety (also know as hypochondria) that makes us hit the internet searching our anxiety-related symptoms.

The biggest issue with this is Dr Google.

He’s not the nicest or best-qualified doctor to ask.

It’s always the worst case scenario with Dr Google.

Dr Google

A headache is a brain tumour, and indigestion is a heart attack.

YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES TO LIVE AND SHOULD SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION!

This isn’t the best thing to see when you’re already anxious and panicking.

It’s little wonder so many of us call for an ambulance when we’re dealing with health anxiety, only to be told there is nothing wrong with us.

The need for reassurance

I was an addict.

If I got a headache, or a bit of chest pain, or a mark on my body, I’d hit the internet asking Dr Google if I was OK.

9 times out of 10, he’d tell me I wasn’t OK. His advice was to seek immediate medical attention.

Talk about raising your anxiety and panic levels through the roof!

It was the constant need for reassurance that was the culprit.

When you’re dealing with health anxiety (hypochondria), you want constant reassurance.

It’s down to one of our primary fears (death).

In Anxiety Rebalance, I call it the DP rule.

It’s this primary fear that causes us to panic and search symptoms online.

When we deal with this fear, it stops the addiction of searching anxiety-related symptoms online with Dr Google.

The way we can deal with it is by realigning our focus.


Realign your focus

When an anxiety-related symptom comes up, it becomes our absolute focus.

Almost as though nothing else matters.

Intense focus

We get trapped in a cycle and keep doing the same thing over and over again.

The pattern looks a little like this:

ANXIETY-RELATED SYMPTOM > NEED FOR REASSURANCE > ASK DR GOOGLE > MORE PANIC & ANXIETY

…and the cycle continues.

That is until we break it. And we break it by realigning our focus.

We get more of whatever it is we focus on.

If you’re focusing on your anxiety-related symptoms, there are no prizes for guessing what you’ll get more of.

That cycle will keep going until we break the pattern using focus.

Breaking this pattern takes just one small step.

The next time an anxiety-related symptom comes up and you feel the urge to hit the internet asking Dr Google for advice and reassurance, ask yourself this question:

Is this anxiety tricking me?

Looking back, with the advantage of hindsight, I can say that most (if not all) of my anxiety-related symptoms were made up in my head.

Because I focused on my health and my symptoms, new ones would pop-up from nowhere.

The symptoms would cause me to panic and I’d follow the same pattern over and over again.

ANXIETY-RELATED SYMPTOM > NEED FOR REASSURANCE > ASK DR GOOGLE > MORE PANIC & ANXIETY

Nothing changed.

That was until the day I sat at my laptop and thought to myself, hang on! Is this anxiety tricking me again?

Rather than jump straight onto the internet, I paused.

The anxiety (the strong need for reassurance) was doing everything in its power to get me to ask Dr Google for advice and reassurance, but I held back.

It was this slight pause that made all the difference.

It gave me the little breathing space I needed to check reality and use rational thinking.

Overcoming health anxiety takes time & practice

Don’t expect overnight results when it comes to overcoming health anxiety.

It’s a habit you built up over time.

It needs time and practice to unravel the habit – just like how it formed.

Aim to keep building on that breathing space I just mentioned.

As you continue questioning your health anxiety with rational thought, that breathing space will get longer and longer.

With time and practice, you’ll eventually get to a point when an anxiety-symptom comes up and you know instantly that it’s anxiety tricking you.

You’ll then reach the point when Dr Google serves you no more purpose.

*Beats fist up to the air*

Yes!


Should I speak to my doctor about health anxiety?

It can be hard distinguishing between real symptoms and anxiety-related symptoms. But when we use our rational thinking, most of us know the difference.

We might not know immediately, but anxiety-related symptoms tend to subside.

If you’re in any doubt about any symptoms, you should always speak to your doctor.

You might need confirmation and reassurance to move forward.

Just be cautious not to keep visiting the doctor based on anxiety-related symptoms.

It can lead to the same frustrating cycle that asking Dr Google takes you on.

If you haven’t spoken to your doctor about anxiety or health anxiety, that’s always one of the first steps to overcoming anxiety you can take.

The most important thing is you get your thoughts out in the open and talk – so you can start dealing with the cause of anxiety, get past health anxiety, and stop searching your symptoms online.

Aim to close the door (or laptop) on Dr Google, stay focused on what it is you want, and keep moving forward.

Anxiety Rebalance