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
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
How the 80/20 Rule Will Help You Deal With Your Worry and Anxiety
Anxiety, Fear, Happiness, Self-Confidence, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

How the 80/20 Rule Will Help You Deal With Your Worry and Anxiety

The 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, shows us why 80% of our worry (and the anxiety that comes with it) is made up by us.

If you haven’t heard of the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle), the basic principle of it is that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Effects of what? Causes of what? I hear you say.

Anything.

That’s the whole point of the Pareto Principle. It relates to anything – and it’s surprisingly accurate in relation to anything.

Seeing as I spend most of my time in the world of anxiety, and seeing as you’re probably here because you want to manage your anxiety better, I thought it might help us with managing our anxiety. And it does. Massively.

When I discovered the principle and how accurate it was, it helped me appreciate just how much of my worry, anxiety and stress was real and how much was made up by me.

In other words, it helped me see and appreciate that I was my own worst enemy!

How the 80/20 rule relates to overcoming anxiety

The Pareto Principle is such a powerful and accurate principle, it’s well worth us translating its meaning into overcoming anxiety. And that’s the bit I want to help you with.

When we link the 80/20 rule with overcoming anxiety, it shows us that 8/10 of your problems don’t exist.

That’s a decent bit of knowledge to have – especially when it comes to reducing our anxiety.

You’ll have about 60,000 thoughts tomorrow. If you’re dealing with high anxiety, most of those thoughts will be worrying ones. You know the type of worrying thoughts I’m talking about. They normally start with ‘what if…?’. They’re thoughts based on us trying to predict the future and worrying about the past (what’s already happened).

Summed up: Overthinking.

What the Pareto Principle shows us is out of all those worrying thoughts you have, 8 out of 10 of them won’t be real. 8 out of 10 of the things causing you anxiety is made up by you.

On the flipside of that, it means that roughly 20% of the things you worry about are worth worrying about. They’re the things worth spending your time on. And when you spend your time on those things, they make a difference to your life.

What does this knowledge do for you?

I’m hoping it does two things:

  1. It helps you appreciate that nearly all of your worry, and therefore all of your anxiety, is made up by you. That means that when you start taking more control the impact can be significant.
  2. It instantly reassures you to know that your problems and worries aren’t as big and overwhelming as you thought they were. When you focus on the 2/10 things that count, it gives you the confidence to know you can handle it.

Try it for yourself.

If you’ve read this and think the 80/20 rule is a bit of a crock, or you’re still not convinced, try it for yourself.

When you wake up tomorrow, have a piece of paper and pen handy, and write down every worrying type thought you have throughout the day, no matter how big or small.

At the end of the day, go through your list and tick all the thoughts you had that were made up – all the worrying thoughts that were not real – things that didn’t happen.

I’d be very surprised if at least 80% of those thoughts on your list weren’t ticked.

BTW – If you’ve got all your predictions for the future 100% accurate, please get in touch. You and I can make some serious money.

Anxiety Rebalance
Calm state of mind
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

3 of the Best Ways to Control Your Anxious Thoughts

High anxiety makes our mind race out of control. Negative thoughts consume us, and we just want them to stop. What can we do to control these anxiety-related thoughts?

Let’s cut to the chase.

You can’t control all your thoughts.

You have about 60,000 thoughts a day. (You can easily add another 10k to that when you’re anxious.) How are we supposed to control all of them?

It’s impossible.

BUT – and there is a BIG but – there are things we can do to manage them.

Here are three of the best ways you can control and manage your anxious thoughts.

#1: Stop the seed from growing

Although we don’t have complete control over the thoughts that enter our minds, we do have control over what we do with them.

A thought isn't real until you make it real by taking action - Carl Vernon

Think of each of your thoughts like a seed in a pot.

Like a seed, a thought has the potential to grow, or not grow at all.

Rather than allow your thoughts to run riot, start becoming consciously aware of all your thoughts – especially the negative ones.

With each thought you have that grabs your attention, decide at that moment whether you want it to grow or whether you want to stump it.

The easiest and quickest way to do this is to filter your thoughts between two categories:

Category 1: The thoughts that are destructive and lead to further anxiety (panic).

Category 2: The thoughts that are constructive and worth your time and focus.

If you decide your thought is in category one and is destructive, aim to stump it. Keep it buried in the soil. Proactively decide to think of something else and shift your focus (see #2 below).

For example: ‘I’ll never overcome anxiety.’

That’s the type of destructive thought that will get you nowhere and one you want to stump from growing.

If you decide your thought is in category two and is constructive, aim to water it. Just like a seed, water it with further constructive thoughts and allow it to grow and flourish.

For example: ‘I know it’s going to challenge me, but I’m going to do it anyway.’

That’s the type of constructive thought that is going to take you places – a thought you should water and allow to grow that will produce offshoots like ‘I can handle the challenge. I’ve already faced lots of challenges and I’ve proved I can do it’.

The more destructive thoughts you can stump and the more constructive thoughts you can water, the better the level of control you’ll have.

#2: Shift your focus

Have you noticed, the more you focus on your problems, the bigger they seem?

Have you also noticed how when you focus on your problems they continue to duplicate? Like when Mogwai from the film Gremlins gets wet – they just keep popping up uncontrollably and end up becoming gremlins!

Although most of these gremlins (problems) aren’t real, they surround us, suffocate us, and cause us bags of stress and anxiety.

This is all down to our focus and the fact that: whatever you focus on, you get more of.

When we choose to focus on the ‘what ifs…’ we go looking for things to worry about. And when we look for things to worry about we create things that aren’t real!

If we want more control over our thoughts and less stress and anxiety, we need to start dealing with facts and reality.

We need to focus on what is real.

Stressing and worrying about the things out of your control and things that aren’t real is a waste of your valuable time and effort.

When you pay attention to your daily thoughts, you’ll appreciate how much you worry about things that don’t actually exist. If you think about most of the thoughts you have related to the future (particularly the negative ones), how many actually come true?

It really does pay to focus on the things that count, not on things that don’t exist.

If a thought doesn’t allow you to grow and its only purpose is to stump your growth, ignore it – move on.

Out of those 60,000+ thoughts a day, it’s inevitable some will be negative. You can’t prevent these thoughts from entering your head, but it’s up to you what you do with them.

It’s up to you whether they become real, or don’t exist at all. That is something you have 100% power over.

#3: Don’t try to control your anxious thoughts

Probably the most effective of the three.

When we try to control something (or someone) we usually end up worse off – especially when it comes to anxiety-related thoughts.

It’s easier to come to the conclusion that life is unpredictable and, because of such, trying to control everything in our lives only leads to frustration and despair.

Just let your thoughts be.

Don’t hold on to them. Get skilled at letting them go.

Better still, get skilled at letting the negative ones go and allowing the good ones to flourish.

Your thoughts don't own you - Carl Vernon

If you’re going through a hard time, know that it will pass. It always does.

It’s not a question of if, it’s when.

Until you reach that point of strength (because you will), keep letting those negative anxiety-related thoughts pass through.

A little like a visitor passing by. They might stay for a little while – maybe even outstay their welcome – but eventually, they will go.

Overcoming anxiety and the thoughts around it is about timing as much as anything else.

Be patient and know that you will reach a better level of strength. When you do, those negative anxiety-related thoughts will get less invasive.

Continue to shift your focus to the thoughts that need a good watering, and let go of the ones that are no good for you.

You’ll reach that level of strength much quicker.

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