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.
#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).
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.
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.
Toxic people come in many different shapes and sizes. Telling the good from the bad will seriously limit your anxiety. How can you tell who’s toxic and who isn’t?
Nobody is perfect, but odds would say that, right now, you have toxic people in your life.
Let’s define what I mean by toxic people:
Toxic people always have drama in their life (because they haven’t got enough going on in their own life).
Toxic people rarely have anything good to say, apart from when it’s about themselves.
Toxic people are quick to criticise and judge others.
Toxic people are manipulative.
Toxic people lie a lot and exaggerate the truth.
Toxic people rarely, if ever, apologise.
Toxic people believe their lives are perfect, and nobody else can get close to that perfection.
Toxic people make you feel like you need to prove yourself to them.
Toxic people use privately shared information against you when it suits them.
Toxic people are narcissistic and delusional about their self-worth.
Toxic people have a way of making everything be about them.
Toxic people have few friends.
Toxic people are quick to cut you out of their life.
Toxic people are deeply unhappy (but like to portray that this is far from the truth), and therefore take pleasure in bringing others down with them.
Ring any bells?
It’s the last point in this list that is the most important because toxic people will bring you down without hesitation.
Identifying toxic people in your life and doing something about them will prevent you from lots of unnecessary hardship and unhappiness – including anxiety and stress.
Because toxic people are like sinking ships.
Their lives are a mess, and they have absolutely no trouble or conscience about taking everybody else down with them.
In fact, it’s exactly what they want.
‘If I’m unhappy and miserable you can get a taste.’
Don’t take it personally. It rarely has anything to do with anyone specifically.
The truth is, toxic people don’t have anything of significance going on in their own lives, so they make it their job to create drama – and drama is always waiting around the corner.
If you’re the one closest to them (and you normally are because you are one of the few tolerating them and their behaviour), you’ll be the one to get the brunt of their dysfunctional behaviour.
Dealing with toxic people is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to deal with stress and anxiety, and here are five ways to do it.
#1: Don’t get sucked into the drama, gossip and negative energy of a toxic person.
Like a ticking time bomb, a toxic person will always have some drama up their sleeve. If you’re in the way, you’ll no doubt get caught up in the middle of it.
The only way to avoid the drama is not to get involved in it.
Distance yourself using number five on this list. You’ll never be able to stop the drama so don’t try. Just keep out of the way of it.
Gossiping about others is a common pastime for a toxic person, which is a little harder to avoid because everybody likes a good gossip, making it easy to get caught up in it.
Maybe you’ve been sucked in yourself? I know I have.
It’s incredibly difficult to break through the negativity of drama and gossip when it surrounds you. It can very quickly become your life, and before you know it, you’re in the middle of something that doesn’t involve you.
The negative energy that surrounds toxic people draws in other toxic people, so it’s common to find them in groups.
Being sucked into the negative energy tends to bring out the worse in you, so where you can, you should always stay out of the way of drama and gossip.
#2: Don’t get into an argument with a toxic person.
Talk is cheap, and words get bandied around with ease when you argue, especially when you argue with a toxic person.
Arguments can quickly turn into a petty war of he said this, and she said that.
It happens in all types of relationships every day, and I have no doubt you’ve got into such squabbles with your friends and family (toxic or otherwise).
Usually, you can get past these petty arguments, but there are occasions when you can’t – when you’re dealing with a toxic person.
An argument will almost always involve the toxic person using privately shared information against you, which has a tendency, again, to bring out the worse in you.
It’s hard to have a genuine and heartfelt conversation (or disagreement or argument) with a toxic person because they show little interest in how you are feeling.
It’s their way or the highway.
When you’re dealing with such apathy, there is little point in trying to reason.
Getting stuck in a heated debate serves little purpose. All it does is fuel their anger further – you have to remember in their eyes they are never wrong – so they end up doing something else highly dysfunctional, like threatening you or getting physically violent.
The other common trait of a toxic person is the ‘I’ll cut you out of my life, and you’ll never see me again’.
This is another example of their irrational behaviour. It’s always black or white because there is no reasoning, compromise, or rationality.
You simply can’t win with a toxic person, so it’s best not to try.
#3: Surround yourself with like-minded people.
It’s common sense really – the law of attraction.
If you surround yourself with negative, toxic people, it won’t be long before you sink to their level.
That’s why you have to surround yourself with like-minded, positive people.
Like-minded people tend to be on the same journey as you, and won’t have the time or inclination to try and dictate to you how you should live your life.
They won’t be looking at your yacht criticising it – they’ll be busy builder their own yacht.
Sit on your luxury yacht and keep sailing forward.
Pass the sinking ships with a smile on your face, and only invite like-minded people aboard.
4. Be confident, and stay polite with a toxic person.
A toxic person might be somebody very close to you, so it’s not always a straightforward situation.
You might have known them for years, and only just recognised their toxic behaviour.
You might work with them and don’t have a choice but to spend time with them.
You might have a deep love for them, and rather than want to distance yourself, you feel compelled to try and help them instead.
If it’s the latter, I love your loyalty, but you need to be aware that a leopard rarely changes its spots.
In other words, you’re going to find it incredibly difficult to change a toxic person because ultimately, they are who they are – whoever they are and however close you are to them.
Whatever the scenario, be sure to be confident and polite with a toxic person.
They will sense any form of weakness, and they will take advantage and prey on it.
Give a toxic person an inch, and they’ll take a mile!
By being polite and confident, you’re not giving them any reason to take advantage of you and your good nature. They also have no good reason to try and afflict you with their behaviour.
Like a bully, they will get bored and move on.
It’s only when they get to a stage in their life when nobody tolerates their behaviour, and they become socially isolated, they start to appreciate they need to change their behaviour.
But, with the best will in the world, it may never happen.
None of this is your concern.
It’s best to focus on yourself, rather than try to control other people and their actions.
#5: Limit your time spent with toxic people, and consider cutting them out of your life.
The most effective solution to dealing with toxic people is to cut them out of your life, and at the very minimum, keep them at arm’s length. Otherwise, you risk sinking with the ship.
I know it comes across as harsh, and earlier I said that cutting people out of your life is a trait of toxic people, but there is no other long-term sound solution.
It’s the toxic person’s choice to be toxic – remember that – especially if the person/people are close to you.
It’s natural to feel guilt, almost as though you are abandoning them. You’re not. You’re becoming the best person you can be – and that will mean cutting toxic people out of your life.
You’ve outgrown their behaviour and it’s time to move on with your life.
Plus, you’ll quickly overcome this feeling of guilt because (1) you have nothing to feel guilty about, and (2) you’ll feel much better for it.
Everybody has off days. Even the most happy-go-lucky person will struggle sometimes.
Should you cut them out of your life?
Of course not!
You know the type of consistent toxic people I’m talking about – these are the ones you need to pay attention to.
If you’re ever in any doubt, go back to the list at the top of this article. If somebody is demonstrating these characteristics on a regular, consistent basis, it’s time to do something about it.