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
Health Anxiety - Let Go of the Obsessive Thoughts
Anxiety, Depression, Fear, Happiness, Health & Diet, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Stress

Health Anxiety: My Experience, and What My Trip to A&E Taught Me

It feels like a constant and endless battle.

Those obsessive thoughts running through your mind about your health or the health of the people closest to you just don’t let up.

What else could I be talking about but health anxiety?

My experience with health anxiety

After a while, I became relatively immune to the obsessive thoughts about my health. I was having so many negative thoughts about my health throughout the day, I began to think they were normal.

With this said, the thing that got me, each and every time, were the exaggerated obsessive thoughts. You know the ones I mean.

‘Is this headache the brain tumour I’ve always thought it was?’

‘Is this bit of chest pain the heart attack I’ve been expecting?’

I could have three headaches a day over the process of a month, and no matter how irrational it was, I’d still be convinced the next headache was ‘the one’.

It was the fear about the exaggerated thoughts that created the obsession.

The fear became my absolute focus and it consumed me, day and night.

It led to the endless trips to the hospital for ECGs, tests and scans – all coming back with negative results.

I’m reluctant to say ‘positive results’ because, at the time, I just wanted a diagnosis so I could move on.

Surely all these symptoms can’t be related to anxiety?

They were, but that didn’t stop the trip to A&E.

The trip to A&E

In my early 20’s, I left work early because I was convinced I was going to die. I ended up driving straight to A&E in total panic.

I approached the lady at the desk, quietly informing her that I was experiencing chest pains, and it felt like there was a tight band around my heart. (I still wasn’t sure whether or not there was something seriously wrong, so I was hesitant and slightly embarrassed. At this point, I also had no idea I was suffering from anxiety. I didn’t know what anxiety was at the time.)

I was sat down and told to take some pills while I waited. I think they were painkillers. I didn’t ask what they were, I just took them and waited.

I sat in the waiting area with the people around me bleeding and coughing. Their very real ailments kept me wondering whether or not my symptoms were real. There was no doubt the chest pains I was experiencing were real – but were they bad enough for me to be here? It just added to the confusion.

After about an hour and a half (which seemed more like three days) I was called through to speak to a nurse. I explained my symptoms, including the chest pain, and she took me through to lie on a bed, where I was strapped up to a blood pressure monitor.

As the nurse put the pads over my chest, I looked over at the monitor with the bouncy line and numbers. Did they mean I was dying? The unknown was enough to increase my heart rate tenfold.

As I laid on the bed, about half an hour passed, and I began to calm down as I appreciated I was in a pretty good place if anything serious was wrong. With the new state of mind, the chest pain and tightness began to subside.

The nurse came over to look at the monitor results. She didn’t say anything, which was a little concerning. Does that mean it’s bad news? She didn’t seem too concerned, which added to the conflicting feelings. I was reluctant to say anything – I didn’t want to know if it were bad news.

She came back five minutes later and reassured me that everything was OK. The test results were fine.

Although grateful for the news, I didn’t jump off the bed in delight. I was still confused by the whole experience.

She mentioned something about stress and something called a ‘panic attack’, but it was brief with no real substance. The focus was on the test results, and those being OK. I was confirmed as a free man – free to leave whenever I wanted.

I got up and started walking out of the hospital back to my car.

It was true. I was a free man – free from the hospital, that is. But the same couldn’t be said for how I felt inside. I didn’t feel free. For a long time after that experience, I remained a prisoner to the fear that something similar could happen again.

But, as with everything in life, if you choose to, you can just about get a positive out of anything. The positives I draw on this experience is the ability to share it, along with some of the answers that have helped me.

Here are three of the standout things I learnt from the A&E experience – and the many other health anxiety-related experiences like it.

Your mind is very powerful

Never underestimate the power of your mind. It can concoct all sorts of anxiety-related symptoms. You name it, your mind can come up with it.

It’s incredibly difficult, but it’s worthwhile spending some time considering whether or not the symptoms you experience are anxiety-related.

Get in the habit of questioning your symptoms, and not just accepting them.

When you experience numbness, is that anxiety?

When you feel sick, is that anxiety?

When you feel dizzy, is that anxiety?

When you’re at their mercy, anxiety-related symptoms will dominate you. You can only start breaking that pattern when you’re willing to question them.

When you’re prepared to say: ‘Wait a minute. Is this symptom real, or is it anxiety tricking me again?’, you naturally and instinctively up your level of self-awareness.

The panic that health anxiety-related symptoms create isn’t as powerful and doesn’t last as long when your self-awareness is higher.

Health anxiety will have a pretty hard time dominating you when you’re self-aware. It won’t be able to trick you as often. It will still have a good go, and even with a surge of rational thinking, it will succeed at times.

But those times will be limited, as long as you keep questioning.

The doctor’s surgery is an addiction

(I’m also going to include Dr Google in this example. When we’re not in the doctor’s surgery, we’re usually asking Dr Google.)

I’ve made jokes about how much I visited the doctor in Anxiety Rebalance.

It’s the constant need of reassurance that does it. The ‘is it, isn’t it’ back-and-forth internal conversation we have about whether or not it is anxiety has us visiting the doctor (a lot).

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

And it’s hindsight that tells me, unless you have a genuine need to do so, visiting the doctor only fuels the anxiety further. Ultimately, you get nowhere. If your symptoms are anxiety-related, the diagnosis is always the same, no matter how many times you go. The visits only add to frustration and despair.

This is where rational thinking comes into play.

Rather than jump straight on the phone to make the doctor’s appointment, give yourself some space, sit down, and question whether or not it’s anxiety tricking you. If it is, it’s time to realign your focus.

(If you have any doubt, you should always speak to your doctor. Sometimes we need the reassurance to move on. Just remember that, if you’re seeking reassurance often, it is counterproductive.)

Focus is key

You have a couple of choices when anxiety-related symptoms are hitting you.

  1. Allow the symptoms to keep the fear cycle turning. Sit still and let all the anxiety-related ‘what if’ type thoughts attack you. Focus on the fear of death, and allow it to consume you – including all the things you can’t control.
  2. Realign your focus, and focus on what it is you can control.

If you feel like there is nothing in your life you can control, then I suggest you start there. There is always something existing or something you can create that can give you a higher level of control. Focus on that, and everything else, including your health anxiety, won’t play as big of a role in your life.

When I did #1, I stayed trapped. I focused on checking my body for imperfections and continued to worry about the headaches. I was obsessed with the ‘unknown’ and everything I didn’t have control of. The fear created was unbearable.

When I did #2 (which was more difficult), I regained a little more control each time. I focused on the things I could do something about, and that created a new mindset.

Health anxiety isn’t just about worrying about your health. It’s feeling out of control. The only way to balance that is to get some more control.

This creates the only question that matters:

What do you have, or what can you create, that will help you gain more control?

Can you get more control over your job? In a relationship? Doing a hobby?

Realign your focus, and with time and more control, you’ll deal with your health anxiety in an entirely different way.

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
6 Ways to Crush Social Anxiety - Carl Vernon
Anxiety, Fear, Happiness, Self-Confidence, Social Anxiety, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

6 Ways to Boost Your Social Confidence

It’s time to ditch the social awkwardness so you can focus on having a good time and achieve more socially.

Most socially anxious people will avoid social and business gatherings, like parties, weddings and meetings, like the plague.

I know I used to.

I spent years trying to mask how I really felt in social situations by hiding my gut-wrenching lack of confidence with pointless head nodding and fake smiling.

I think I got away with it.

But it’s no good just getting away with social unconfidence using fakery.

Fakery is just a mask used to cover up how we really feel. Eventually, the faking catches up with us, the mask falls off, and we have nowhere left to hide.

Seeing friends, social gatherings and business events – and basically having a good time – shouldn’t be destroyed by a lack of confidence. Especially when you consider that confidence is a skill that anyone can grow.

Confidence is a skill that anyone can grow - Carl Vernon

And that includes social confidence.

Knowing that you can grow the skill of social confidence means you can take a different approach. With practice, you can look to develop your social confidence skills until you reach a point you look forward to seeing people. (Maybe even have a good time.)

Here are six ways to boost your social confidence so you can ditch being shy, meek, socially awkward and anxious.

#1: Ditch the silence

Socially anxious people are quiet. They don’t say much and prefer to stay on the outside of a conversation. This isn’t always the case. Some confident people are thinkers and prefer to listen than talk. But you know the difference. The unconfident, silent and socially anxious type get embarrassed when they’re asked for their opinion, whereas a thinker will give it without delay. A socially anxious person would prefer the floor to swallow them up rather than face the prospect of speaking in public.

Boosting social confidence means speaking out.

However uncomfortable you might feel, get involved in the conversation and get in the habit of speaking out and voicing your opinion. ‘Public speaking’ doesn’t necessarily mean getting on stage. Whenever you’re in public and talking that is public speaking. That means you’re practising public speaking just by speaking with a friend.

Whatever the circumstance or situation, there is no room for complete silence. Keep practising speaking out and voicing your opinion, whether that’s with one friend or in a group of twenty.

#2: Be comfortable in your own skin

Socially confident people are comfortable in their own skin. They know they’re not perfect (because there is no such thing), and embrace and accept their imperfections as much are their strong points. This includes both their looks and personality.

Socially anxious people are constantly looking at themselves in the mirror and worrying about what other people are thinking about them. They focus on their imperfections and, by doing so, convince themselves that they’re not good enough and nobody would ever want them.

Boosting social confidence means the ability to recognise both your imperfections and strong points – and be comfortable with both.

By accepting the fact you’re not perfect you’ll stop striving for perfection. You’ll get instant freedom and immense satisfaction from that. You’ll start to feel more comfortable in your own skin, and that will ooze out of you as self-confidence.

#3: Be forthcoming and say hello

Socially confident people say ‘hi’ first. They introduce themselves without the need to be asked. They are approachable and generous with their attention and time. They know how to use their ears as well as their month, listening intently, taking in every bit of valuable information. They are honest and don’t see value in lying or the need to boast.

Socially anxious people avoid introductions. They flit from one thing to the next without focusing their attention on one specific thing, including conversations. Due to their insecurities, it’s common for a socially anxious person to talk too much, not listen, and exaggerate the truth – to make themselves and their lives sound perfect. Imperfections and insecurities are seen as negatives, rather than something we all have.

Boosting social confidence means introducing yourself first and saying ‘hi’ even in uncomfortable and intimidating social environments.

Be disciplined when it comes to communication, be sure to listen, and make an effort to remember someone’s name – that alone will go a long way. When you are more forthcoming with your attention and time, your ability to influence others will take huge steps. You’ll embrace those imperfections and insecurities and use them to your advantage.

#4: Believe in yourself

Socially confident people know the difference between arrogance and self-belief. They know that they can’t win unless they first believe they can. That’s why they wouldn’t enter a competition unless they know they can win it. This isn’t to say that they are as physically or mentally capable as their competition. Socially confident people know that on many occasions they will be the underdog, but that doesn’t stop them from believing they can win. That’s not arrogance – that is strong self-belief.

Socially anxious people have little self-belief, with insecurity pushing them towards arrogance. Being arrogant makes up for their lack of depth and skill. Underneath the skin their self-image is meek. They have very little confidence in their ability to win and because their belief system is weak a win is a rare occurrence. It’s easier to blame external factors for a loss.

Boosting social confidence means believing you can win, whatever the circumstance.

It means painting a better self-image so you can compete with the best. When you build your self-belief by knowing you can win, minus the arrogance, you will win much more frequently.

#5: Get comfortable with being judged

Socially confident people are comfortable being judged because they understand that being judged will always be part of life – especially if they’re doing things that challenge the status quo. It’s human nature to judge, and confident people know that there will be people in their life (sometimes very close to them) who will try and clip their wings as they try to fly. They don’t take this personally and use criticism as a form of feedback to help them on their journey to achieving their goals. They understand that in the pursuit of their goals they will receive negative judgement as well as positive judgement.

Socially confident people also realise that judging others is no good for them, as it only keeps them in a negative state of mind. They keep their minds sharp and focused by concentrating on what’s important (their goals) and are too busy to get involved in drama and gossip (toxic behaviour).

Boosting social confidence means getting comfortable with being judged.

When you can use both negative and positive feedback to your advantage, don’t lose focus on your goals or get trapped in toxic behaviour, your social confidence will hit an all-time high.

#6: Adapt to your environment

Socially confident people appreciate the crucial need to adapt to their environment. They know that things are constantly changing around them. Unless they keep up with that change, they know they’ll be left behind. The best example of adaptability is in business. Businesses led by socially confident people change and evolve with the times. They embrace new systems and technology because they know putting investment into these things will pay dividends.

Socially unconfident people are scared of change and don’t adapt well to their environment. They believe that things should adapt around them and their values, which results in them being left behind. Rather than tackle a situation they will leave it in the hope that it fixes itself. (It never does.) That’s why businesses led by socially incompetent people stay rooted in the Stone Age.

Boosting social confidence means adapting to your environment and being comfortable with change.

The quickest and simplest route to making this happen is to appreciate everything is change. Nothing stays the same, including you.

You Care Too Much Book
Anxiety, Depression, Happiness, Self-Confidence, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

3 Steps That Will INSTANTLY Improve Your Mood

We usually take the longest and hardest route when trying to change our mood. What is the easiest and fastest route, and how can you change your mood instantly?

We all get anxious, stressed and feel low at times – perfectly normal.

But do you find yourself getting trapped in a mood?

Maybe you wake up feeling instantly anxious?

Maybe a particular setting (like your office) causes a constant feeling of stress?

Maybe you feel so low you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning?

I hear you.

I’ve been through the lot myself.

Sometimes it feels like no matter what you try and do, you just can’t shake off the mood that keeps you feeling stressed, anxious and depressed.

If this sounds familiar to you, I’ve got a suggestion and a three-step process that might be useful to you.

How can we instantly change our mood?

Let’s use anxiety and stress as the two examples here, seeing as it’s these two things that tend to dominate how we feel.

What do we usually do when we get anxious?

I used to do one of two things.

  1. Stay rooted to the same spot (a chair that I would sit in) and let all the worrying and anxious thoughts consume me – to the point of overthinking every last possible detail.
  2. If I weren’t frozen in the same spot, I’d pace up and down from one spot to the next, back and forth.

And what do we usually do when we get stressed?

If I were in the office at work, I’d sit at my desk hiding behind my computer, put my face in my hands and start rubbing my temples – wishing away all the crap that was causing me the stress.

Being frozen to the spot or pacing up and down is a natural reaction to anxiety. Just like putting your face in your hands and rubbing your temples is a natural reaction to stress. But what do you think these natural reactions are doing?

My point here will make total sense in just a second.

But before we move on, I want to highlight one more thing with a quick exercise.

Quick exercise:

Imagine someone who is depressed.

You can’t see this person. They’re behind a door or wall.

What do they look like?

Their head is down to the ground. Their eyes are looking down. Their shoulders are slumped. Pretty much everything is facing downwards, right?

That’s because the natural reaction to depression (feeling low) is to do all these things with our body.

When we feel like crap, the last thing we want to do is jump for joy.

Our mind (how we feel mentally) tells our body to portray how we’re feeling (the physical reaction). It’s a natural process.

Here’s where it all gets interesting . . .


Your body speaks volumes

By doing all these natural bodily reactions, we’re fuelling the negative mood. We’re reinforcing why we should be feeling that way.

When we stay rooted to the same spot we stay anxious.

When we put our heads in our hands we stay stressed.

When we stay in bed we stay depressed.

If we want to instantly improve our mood, we have to look at our physicality – what we’re doing with our body.

In other words, changing our mental state starts with changing our physical state.

It’s a big misconception – the idea that we have to change our thoughts to change how we feel. It’s not entirely accurate.

There’s no doubt that you get a better outcome when you think more positively compared to thinking negatively, but changing your physical state is a much quicker and easier way to change your mood compared to positive thinking.

Trying to override your negative thoughts with positive affirmations is usually a waste of time. 

It’s incredibly difficult. Almost impossible.

Try telling yourself you’re not stressed when you’re in the middle of a shit storm. Ain’t gonna happen!

The best way to manage your state of mind (your mood) is to first concentrate on what you’re doing with your body.

The 3-step process to improve your mood

To simplify the process of improving our mood, let’s look at it as three steps.

1. STATE OF MIND =

2. ACTION =

3. RESULT

Your state of mind (your mood) dictates what you’re going to do next (your action), and that produces the outcome (the result).

When you have a negative state of mind (including negative body language) it creates a negative action, and that will always give out a negative result.

(Put shit in, get shit out.)

By becoming more aware of this simple process and making just a small change in our physical state, we can change the entire process so it looks like this.

CHANGE IN PHYSICAL STATE = DIFFERENT ACTION = BETTER RESULT

The better result in this instance is an instant improvement in mood.

(Put good stuff in, get good stuff out.)

Choose your mood - Carl Vernon

Try it for yourself.

The next time you find yourself getting trapped in an anxious, stressed or depressed mood, remember that it’s your physical state that will make the difference.

Rather than allow your thoughts (your mind) to control what your body does, do something completely different.

For example, when you get stressed or anxious, don’t stay rooted to the same spot. Get up and go do something. Completely change your focus. That ‘something’ could be a hobby. It doesn’t matter. It can be anything – as long as you don’t stay trapped in the body that an anxious/stressed mind wants to keep you in.

When you can break free from this natural pattern dictated by our minds, you can break the pattern of your mood.

Put your chin up, keep your eyes up, put your shoulders back, lift your chest, breathe confidently and deeply, and smile.

You might not feel like doing these things, but that is exactly the point.

It takes time to override what our mind wants us to do naturally, but the more you become aware of this process and the more you practise, the better you’ll get.

Remember that you hold the cards. You hold the power over your mood – everyone does. It’s you who gets to choose your mood.

Choose your mood by changing what you do with your body. The rest will follow.

Anxiety Rebalance
The Top 5 Books That Helped Me With Stress & Anxiety
Anxiety, Happiness, Health Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Self-Confidence, Social Anxiety, Stress, Success & Wellbeing

The Top 5 Books That Helped Me Deal With Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress will always be two of the most sort after categories when it comes to self-help. With lots of books to choose from, which are the top books that will help you?

On my mission to find the answers for anxiety and stress, books were both a big source of guidance and inspiration.

I read hundreds of them, but there were just a few standout books that made the difference.

Here are the top five books that helped me with anxiety and stress the most. (The best thing about all these books is you don’t need to be an avid reader to enjoy them.)

#1: The Power of Now

The Power of Now

By Eckhart Tolle.

Without a doubt the most profound book on the list. Probably the most profound book I’ve ever read. I read The Power of Now with the understanding that it is a spiritual book (about spiritual enlightenment), and although I’m not particularly spiritual myself, it delivered a powerful message: The only thing that is real is this moment, right now. So much of our anxiety and stress is about worrying about the past and the future, and learning to live more in the present moment (the ‘now’) can make all the difference.

Grab your copy of The Power of Now here.


#2: Anxiety Rebalance

Anxiety Rebalance - Carl Vernon

By Carl Vernon.

I know. It seems a little narcissistic to include my own book on this list, but the truth is, it’s the book that helped me the most. There is something about writing things down that offers a powerful form of release. That’s why I’d have put it top of the list. A lot of the feedback from readers (including people who don’t read much) is they enjoyed reading Anxiety Rebalance because they can relate to my personal experience. I don’t mind admitting, I’ve been back to read it a few times myself – and I still get something new from it every time!

Grab your copy of Anxiety Rebalance here.

 

#3: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

By Robin Sharma.

This beautifully written book opens the door to anyone interested in the more spiritual side of life. As I mentioned above, I’m not necessarily the most spiritual person on the planet, but this book is great for opening your eyes to the bigger picture of what life is about. It struck a chord with me when I was working sixteen-hour days and running myself into the ground. The question: ‘Why am I doing it?’ was milling around in my head, but I never took the time to answer it. I’m glad I picked up The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari because it helped me appreciate how important the answer is, especially when it comes to our health and wellbeing.

Grab your copy of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari here.


#4: Awaken The Giant Within

Awaken The Giant Within

By Anthony Robbins.

Self-help has a bit of stigma attached to it. It’s one of those things you tend to love or hate. With Tony Robbins being the king of self-help, he definitely fits into this category. I’ve always made an effort not to come across as too ‘self-helpy’ (if that’s a word?) because I know it can put a lot of people off. The title Awaken The Giant Within sounds very self-helpy, but when you give it go, the book is filled with lots of sound advice – a lot of it that relates to managing anxiety and stress.

Grab your copy of Awaken The Giant Within here.


#5: Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad

By Robert Kiyosaki.

You might be wondering why I’ve included a financially related book in my top five, but when it came to my stress levels, Rich Dad Poor Dad was a big influence in helping me out. There are three things that stress us out the most. People, work & money. Rich Dad Poor Dad will help you out with the latter because it’s arguably one of the most important financial books ever written. It will teach you everything you need to know about the importance of investing – in the right way – through passive income. Whatever we think about the green stuff, when we become more financially literate, it goes a long way toward reducing our anxiety and stress levels.

Grab your copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad here.

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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.

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