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
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