Panic Attacks - Stop the bully
Anxiety, Fear, Panic Attacks, Toxic People

Panic Attacks: Stop The Bully

We’ve all faced a bully at some point.

School, work, college, home – they’re everywhere.

They exist because they can.

There are two sides to bullying. (1) the bully, and (2) the victim.

For a bully to do what they do, there needs to be a victim.

You might not have chosen to get bullied, but being a victim is a choice.

When it comes to being bullied by panic attacks, we can choose not to be a victim any longer.

The surprising connection between a bully and a panic attack

Panic attacks and bullies operate in the same way.

Panic attacks can only exist in a highly anxious, vulnerable state of mind. That is where they flourish. With all the ‘what if’s. . .’, there’s plenty of fuel to stoke the fire of panic.

When our minds are controlled and confident, there’s no victim – nothing for the panic attack to feed on.

What is a bully’s sole intention?

To inflict mental, emotional, and sometimes physical pain.

How does a bully achieve it?

Through intimidation, and by having the attention he craves. No attention means no fuel to stoke the fire.

Why does a bully, bully?

Who cares. Just know that a bully bullies because he can. Forget about understanding his twisted mentality and why he would want to inflict mental, emotional, and sometimes physical pain. Instead, focus on what matters. Focus on the choice you have.

The choice

When it comes to being bullied by panic attacks, you do have a choice. I want to make that choice clear to you.

Deal with the bully (panic attacks), or face them for the rest of your life.

Why do some people get bullied and others don’t? You might try and factor in physical presence, but you can guarantee there are examples of people with a bodybuilding physique who get bullied – just like there are examples of smaller people who don’t get bullied.

There will be lots of factors that dictate why some people get bullied and others don’t, but the overriding factor is being a victim.

When I say a bully bullies because he can, it’s because there has to be a victim for the bullying to take place.

Being a victim is a choice.

It’s not your fault if someone chooses to bully you, but it is your fault for letting it continue to happen.

Nobody said facing a bully is easy. But is it any harder than the prospect of dealing with panic attacks for the rest of your life?

Handing over your pocket money to the bully might prevent him from hitting you, but he’ll be back for more. The problem doesn’t go away.

Giving your pocket money away only compounds the problem and makes it worse. The more you do it and give in, the more the bully will expect you to do it.

You have to get to a place that says no more.

I don’t care how you get there, but you have to reach a level where you’re so pissed off with being pushed around, you’re not willing to take it any longer.

I found the best emotion to tap into for this is anger.


If you’re getting bullied by panic attacks, you should be angry.

Anger, when channelled in the right way, is an emotion that supersedes panic. It’s the quickest tool you can use to break the victim mentality.

Get frustrated. Get angry. Get however you need to get to create change.

Unlike your dad’s advice, I’m not telling you to punch the bully in the face. That’s the good thing about a panic attack. You don’t need to.

Anyway, punching yourself in the face won’t do you any good.

You are your own bully

When I say ‘you are your own bully’, I’m not suggesting you get a perverse pleasure in causing yourself mental pain. Of course you don’t. Nobody enjoys panicking and suffering a panic attack.

Your bully is born from habit.

Through patterns of habit and behaviour, your brain has associated things it shouldn’t with a threat to your survival. It’s this association that causes the panic (panic attacks). And it’s this way of thinking that makes you your own bully.

Everyday things like going to the supermarket and seeing friends become unachievable because of the state of mind you’ve created.

This state of mind gets unravelled and dealt with when you start seeing panic attacks for what they really are: bullies.

Confront the bully

The next time you feel the bully (panic attack) provoking you, I want you to say: ‘DO YOUR WORST!’. If you can, shout it. Get angry. You don’t have to verbally say it. Say it in your head. However you say it, mean it.

If there is one thing a bully doesn’t like, it’s confrontation.

That’s why, when you say ‘DO YOUR WORST!’, it won’t get worse – it will get better.

This is a trigger to remind yourself that you’re no longer willing to put up with panic attacks and the physical symptoms they cause any longer.

Like all bullies, pride might dictate that there is some initial retaliation. Pass through it. Keep getting angry, and keep confronting it.

It will soon get the message.

While you do this, please be comforted in the knowledge that a panic attack has NEVER caused anyone any physical harm, ever. Doesn’t this just go to prove that the fear we create is much worse than anything else we experience?

When we don’t fuel the fear (anxiety), there is nothing for the panic attack (bully) to work with.

I’ll repeat the choice that you have.

Deal with the bully (panic attacks), or face them for the rest of your life.

I used to have 4-5 severe panic attacks every day.

Since I’ve adopted this mentality, I’ve not had one since.

Does the bully try it on every now and again?

You bet it does.

While I’m facing new challenges and growing, I wouldn’t expect it any other way.

But now, when I ‘feel’ the sensations of a panic attack, I simply adopt the same physical and mental stance I always adopt.

‘PANIC. GO FUCK YOURSELF.’

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

5 Crucial Choices To Make When Panic Attacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can look to control and stop them.

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

Choice #1: Fuel the fear and run

Drop everything.

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

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

What would people think if they could see me?

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

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

Choice #2: Question your sanity

Are these symptoms real?

Are they life-threatening?

Is it just indigestion?

Is it a migraine?

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

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

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

Allow these negative beliefs to fuel your panic further.

Choice #3: Search Dr Google

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

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

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

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

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

Choice #4: Fight the panic

Fight the symptoms of panic.

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

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

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

Allow your lack of energy to continue the panic.

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

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

Say to yourself:

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

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

A panic attack has NEVER caused physical harm to anyone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Which choice will you make? I like #5.

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

Why Do I Get Anxiety When Driving?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s exhausting!

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


What can we do about driving anxiety?

It all comes down to small steps.

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

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

So the first step is to rationalise your thoughts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That might mean you:

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

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

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

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

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

**VERY IMPORTANT**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does that mean to you?

A loss of a job?

Your independence – gone?

A feeling of being trapped?

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

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

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

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

In other words, the challenge is worth it.

Anxiety Rebalance
Am I suffering from high anxiety?
Anxiety, Fear, Happiness, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

Am I Suffering From High Anxiety or Normal Anxiety?

We all deal with anxiety. But when do we know we’re dealing with higher than normal anxiety – and when do we need to act?

Let’s not confuse high anxiety with every day NORMAL anxiety – it can make us believe we’re suffering a lot more than we are.

If you need help distinguishing between the two, take a look at the Rebalance Scale.

Rather than list a ton of anxiety-related symptoms you’ll find all over the internet provided by Dr Google (the type of lists that only serve to increase our anxiety even more), let’s pinpoint how to identify high anxiety from normal anxiety using this one simple question.

Am I able to do everyday things, like go to the shop and see friends, without having to think too much about it?

This question helps you recognise if you’re overthinking – a sure sign of high anxiety.

Overthinking

If the answer to the above question is a clear NO, it’s likely your anxiety levels are above normal.

Anxiety is affecting you more than it should be, making it high anxiety.

With normal anxiety, you can do everyday things like see friends and go to the shop without the need to overthink them. They are just part of what you do.

When high anxiety has a grip on us, our mind races off in a thousand different directions.

Small things bother us.

Corner of rug up causing anxiety

We overthink every scenario until going to the shop becomes a life-threatening disaster (before we’ve even stepped out of our front door).

It’s the old ‘what ifs…’

What if this…?

What if that…?

This is overthinking at its best (or worse).

Overthinking can get us to a point when it feels abnormal not to worry.

When you don’t worry, you actually go looking for things to worry about!

It’s like worrying becomes a bad habit.

It’s this habit that leads to living in the world of what if…

The world of what if…

When we’re dealing with higher than normal anxiety, we live in what I call the world of what if…

It’s not a nice place to live.

Everything is over the top and exaggerated.

Things are rarely positive, and there isn’t anything to look forward to.

The worse case scenario is the one we believe to be true.

Like when going to see friends, for example – it’s not the pleasurable experience most people get from it – it’s something we dread doing.

Going out for a drink has suddenly turned into absolute panic.

Holding head in hands

Overthinking causes negative thoughts.

By the time Saturday comes around, you’ve worried so much you end up cancelling.

Overthinking (living in the world of what if…) has created endless stories about all the horrible things that might happen, so you come to the conclusion it’s best not to bother.

These are the stories high anxiety fools us into believing.

We have about 60,000 thoughts a day.

Think about how many of these thoughts actually come true.

The worse case scenario is usually far from reality.

In other words, high anxiety needs a reality check!

And when you check reality by using rational thinking, you’ll start lowering your anxiety levels.


When do I need to act on my anxiety?

If you find yourself overthinking everyday activities, or you’re worrying excessively, or you’re living in the world of what if… for longer than your common sense tells you should, it’s time to act.

If it’s allowed to continue, high anxiety will keep you trapped in a pattern of behaviour that is no good for you. You’ll overthink so much, your brain will think it’s normal to act that way.

Like a bad habit, you’ll continue practising living a life dominated by high anxiety – until you break the pattern.

It’s time to take action, break the pattern, and do something different.

Like the main man, Albert Einstein says:

You have to do something different if you want a different result.

To set yourself on a new journey – one that isn’t plagued by overthinking, worry and high anxiety, you have to start acting in the way you want your life to be.

To achieve it, all it takes is one small step.

That step will lead to bigger and better things.

Anxiety Rebalance