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
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
Will I ever overcome anxiety
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

Will I Ever Overcome Anxiety?

Anxiety has a great way of making us feel stuck. It manipulates us into believing all sorts – mostly the negative stuff that keeps us trapped. How do we get out of this trap so we can stop asking questions like will I ever overcome anxiety?

Belief is a powerful thing. Very powerful.

Your life is shaped by what you believe.

How you feel tomorrow will be dictated by what it is you believe right now.

Your belief system is based on what has happened to you in the past. For example, if you’ve experienced panic attacks in a supermarket, it’s likely you won’t like supermarkets and you’ll avoid them.

You’re following habits that you’ve developed over years, sometimes decades.

Some of these habits will be serving you well. Some not so well – particularly the ones that keep you stuck and trapped – like the beliefs built around anxiety.

But that’s not to say you can’t change your habits, and therefore change how you think about anxiety – including the belief that you’ll never overcome anxiety.


The power of belief

What is a belief, and why is it so important when it comes to anxiety?

A belief is something you’re certain about.

When you think about it (whatever ‘it’ is), you come to a quick conclusion about what it means to you.

You can believe anything you like.

‘I’m the most beautiful person on the planet’, for example.

You’ve probably got a friend who believes this to be true? Maybe it’s far from reality. But to the person who believes it to be true, other people’s opinions rarely matter.

That is the power of belief.

And the good news is you have this power. You can believe what you want.

That includes your belief about anxiety, and whether or not you’ll overcome it.

4 minute mile belief

Beliefs are funny old things. They tend to catch on.

Most people won’t believe in something until it’s reality.

Like the four-minute mile that Roger Bannister broke in 1954. Before then, it was considered impossible to do. Nobody had done it, and nobody thought it was worthwhile attempting it.

That was until Roger broke it. As soon as he did, lots of others started breaking the four-minute barrier.

Other people started to achieve it because they thought if he can do it, I can too.

And that’s how I want you to think about overcoming anxiety.

There are lots of people who have been in your position (me included) and changed for the better. They’ve overcome all sorts – high anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, agoraphobia, social anxiety, health anxiety, depression – you name it.

This knowledge should give you the belief that you can do the same.


Change the way you think

You can’t change an outcome without first changing the way you think about it.

If you don’t believe you can win the race, you won’t.

Believe you can win the race and you will

If you don’t believe you can overcome anxiety, you can’t.

Fundamentally, whatever it is you’re telling yourself and whatever it is you’re choosing to believe, is true.

That is the power you hold.

Nobody else holds this power – only you.

Let’s simplify this with two possible beliefs.

Belief #1: I will never overcome anxiety.

Belief #2: Anxiety is normal. It will always be part of my life, and that’s not a bad thing. I’ll continue to face the challenges it brings knowing that I can handle anything that comes my way. There is nothing that I can’t deal with.

Two very different belief systems, each as powerful as the other.

Which one will you choose to believe? Because whichever one you choose to believe is true.

Maybe you’ll choose to believe one of your own?

Whatever it is you choose to believe, remember it’s that belief that is defining your future. It’s dictating how you feel now, tomorrow, and next year.

With this in mind, it pays to be selective about what it is you choose to believe.


Anxiety is normal

One of the most powerful beliefs you can possess is that anxiety is normal.

Knowing anxiety is normal is the first step you can take to changing the way you think about it.

Remember that you don’t need a cure for anxiety, and you don’t need to get rid of it.

Anxiety is normal.

When you’re dealing with anxiety, it’s higher than normal levels of anxiety – that’s it.

When you’ve stopped the pointless battle against anxiety, the second step in dealing with negative thoughts connected with anxiety is identifying which ones are no good for.

The typical negative thoughts associated with anxiety look a little like this:

‘I’m going to have a panic attack when I go to the supermarket.’

‘There is no way I can go to that party.’

‘I’m going to feel anxious tomorrow.’

Remember – these thoughts aren’t real.

They’re only real when you want them to be real – when you choose to believe them.

When you become more conscious about these types of negative thoughts that are fuelled by anxiety, you can do something about them. You can stop them before they get out of control and start influencing your belief system.

If you keep going to the supermarket and experiencing panic attacks, for example, you’re approaching the situation with the wrong belief system. You’re being led by thoughts like ‘I’m going to have a panic attack if I go to the supermarket.’ That’s the type of thought keeping you trapped.

You’ve told yourself you’re going to lose before you’ve started.

The steps you take before going to the supermarket are more important than the ones you take when you’re there.

The outcome is done before you’ve left your house.

In other words, if you approach a situation with negative anxiety-related thoughts dictating your actions, it will lead to the outcome you don’t want. In the instance of going to the supermarket, a panic attack.

If you want to overcome panic attacks, high anxiety, or any negative beliefs about your life, you have to consciously change the way you think – change your belief system.

Go back to the two beliefs, and pick a statement similar to #2.

Reinforce that belief in your mind.

It may not be the truth right now, but that’s not the point.

What we believe now will manifest as reality in the future – even if it’s not true right now.

Remember to be choosy about what thoughts you believe. They are dictating your life.

Anxiety Rebalance
Why do I have OCD?
Anxiety, Fear, Happiness, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Stress

Why do I have OCD?

Routines and rituals are commonplace with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). But why does OCD have this power over us, and what can we do about it?

What is it for you?

Cleaning rituals? Scanning your body for abnormalities (health anxiety)? Checking doors and locks? Counting routines?

Just a few of the common routines and rituals OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) will have us do.

To the balanced mind, these things might seem crazy.

But to someone who suffers from OCD (like I used to), these routines and rituals are very real.

So, the question is:

Why does OCD have this power over us?

It comes down to one thing: control.

OCD and control

An OCD-related routine or ritual is a way for us to try and take back control.

When we have OCD, we feel out of control in an area of our life, and OCD gives us a way to try and take back control.

OCD Washing hands

OCD is a dysfunctional way of trying to deal with our anxiety, stress and problems. It’s not pleasant, and it’s not something we want to be stuck with for the rest of our lives.

This is the exact reason why we need to manage our intrusive thoughts in a different, more functional and constructive way.

Knowing that we use OCD to try to take back control doesn’t make OCD acceptable.

I mention it here because it’s a nice thing to know.

Like all anxiety-related conditions, there is a complexity that surrounds them, giving us the belief that overcoming them is impossible.

It’s not.

The same goes for OCD.

When we’re armed with answers, we can overcome anything – OCD included.

You now know what it takes to overcome OCD: A new way of taking control of the areas of our lives that make us feel out of control.

The first step to making this happen is to drop the false belief of negative consequences.


Negative consequences OCD has us believing

The real power behind OCD is consequence.

If we don’t do a routine or ritual, OCD will have us believe a negative consequence is in store for us.

That consequence could be any number of things.

Those intrusive thoughts will have you believing all sorts – and it’s usually the worse case scenario.

When we put our rational thinking cap on, THIS IS COMPLETE RUBBISH.

How would not cleaning our hands five times in a row mean we’re going to die?

I’m not watering down the power of OCD here. I know first-hand how insidious OCD is.

If you’ve suffered from OCD for some time, it’s a very hard habit to break.

But it can be broken.

The way to start breaking the habit is identifying the areas of your life you feel are out of your control.


Getting the control back

The most common areas of our lives that cause us stress and anxiety can be split into three.

They all intertwine with each other, but these are the three categories most likely to be affecting your anxiety and stress levels – and therefore your OCD.

> Money

> Relationships (family & friends)

> Work

Most of us aren’t great at dealing with our stress and anxiety, so we tend to try and sweep it under the carpet.

Sweeping issues under the carpet

That’s when issues arise.

When we don’t face our anxiety (fear), it continues to grow. This growth usually comes with more anxiety-related issues, like OCD.

It starts with a bit of stress, and that quickly grows into something bigger, until we find ourselves dealing with intrusive thoughts that make us do these OCD-related routines and rituals.

What area of your life do you feel is out of control?

When you can bring your anxiety (fear) to the surface, you can start dealing with it.

Allowing your anxiety to get bottled inside, or trying to sweep your fear under the carpet, will only mean more issues (including OCD) that continue to get bigger.

Some fears (anxieties) are a little trickier to bring to the surface so you might need professional help, like counselling, to help you deal with them.

When you’re prepared to face your issues, you’ll begin to take back control.

This control will help you deal with your OCD, and with time and practice, you’ll find those intrusive thoughts, routines and rituals, will naturally fall away.

Anxiety Rebalance