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
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