If you’re familiar with my Rebalance Scale from Anxiety Rebalance, you’ll know that low energy sits below BALANCE.
Low energy represents depression (or low mood), just like panic (on the other end of the scale) represents high anxiety.
When we get low and depressed, we get ourselves into a cycle of behaviour. It starts by not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, and the rest of the day follows in the same way.
Very quickly, we find ourselves having no energy or motivation for anything. We stop going out and seeing people, we don’t eat enough or eat too much, our sleep pattern is all over the place - the days drag on, and the cycle continues.
The more the cycle continues, the less energy we have. And that’s an issue, because what can you do without energy? That’s right – NOTHING! You’re definitely not putting yourself into a state that will help you deal with anxiety and stress.
You need to keep your energy levels up, and here are the three most important areas you need to concentrate on to do it.
Without food, there is no energy. Even if you don’t feel like it, you have to eat. If just the thought of food turns your stomach, get your energy levels up by drinking a protein shake. They can be the quick solution you’re looking for - before you’re ready to start eating well again. Foods heavy in carbohydrates (like pasta and white bread) weigh on you and burn energy quickly, and that can make you feel sluggish. Stick to foods that burn energy slower, like nuts, oats, sweet potato and brown rice. It’s also important you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Always have a glass or bottle handy.
If you’re not sleeping enough or sleeping too much, your energy levels are seriously being affected. I wouldn’t have been able to change my life if I hadn’t got my sleeping patterns right. Try short-term fixes, like drinking a warm glass of milk before you go to bed. Milk contains magnesium, and magnesium has a natural calming effect on you. Do this while looking at the longer-term fixes, like sticking to and getting into a better pattern and routine. Sorting your sleep out won’t happen overnight, but if you start doing the right things today, you can guarantee things will improve with time.
You’ve heard about the benefits of exercise before – but for a good reason. Exercise is your direct route to less stress and anxiety. When we use our bodies less and less, we go into slow mode. Our brain tells our body that it doesn’t need to work as hard, so you don’t. This is how you can quickly become lazy, and get stuck in an unhealthy routine. Even if your job means sitting at a computer all day, you have to stay active. Put exercise in your routine as much as you can, and the more you do it, the more addicted you’ll get. (Exercise is proven to become addictive, so very soon, you’ll start missing it!)
If things aren’t changing for you, it’s because they don’t have to.
Change only comes about when something has to happen.
If you smoke, and the doctor tells you if you keep smoking you only have a few months to live, you’ll crush those remaining cigarettes in your hand and throw them in the trash (if your health means something to you).
We’re driven by our greatest fears, or our ‘have tos’, as I call them. They are dictating what, where, when, and how you’re doing things.
If you’re more scared of your boss than you are of not paying the bills, you won’t go to work. But if not going to work means you’ll become homeless and won’t be able to feed your family, you’ll go to work.
There is a power behind your have tos, and you can use it to make significant changes in your life, like overcoming anxiety.
I activate my have tos by following these three steps:
1. Decide why
If you don’t have a good enough reason ‘why?’ you simply won’t do it. That’s why the first step is to understand why you’re doing it. What is the reason for the change? Your family, your health, your happiness?
2. Clear the path
If one of your goals is to break the pattern of anxiety and depression, but somebody is tucking you into bed when you don’t want to get out of it, nothing will change. You don’t have to get out of bed, so you won’t. Willpower is overrated so don’t depend on it. Depend on your ‘have to’ mentality instead.
3. Limit your options
Getting into a ‘have to’ mentality requires focus, and having too many options on the table will seriously affect your focus. It will take you to the ‘maybe middle ground’, and that’s not where you want to be. Get laser-like focused on what it is you want, and stick to that. Are things guaranteed to go right if you do that? Of course not. But that doesn’t matter, as long as you’re going in the direction you want.
By taking these three steps, you’ll put yourself in the very best place to get things done and take action. That’s when you know things are really changing.
Make ‘have to’ your mantra.
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The worst time of my life was waking up in the morning without any direction.
An instant feeling of dread would hit me, and because I had no focus, the horrible feeling continued throughout the day.
It was only when I set clear goals (and took action on those goals) that things began to change.
My goals gave my life meaning and purpose.
Instead of anxiety being my focus, my goals were my focus.
Anxiety naturally came as part of the package, but with a BIG difference – it wasn’t my sole focus. It did its job properly, rather than dominate my life.
Without purpose, anxiety will hit you hard by feeding off your lack of direction.
Your mind becomes a breeding ground for anxious thoughts, and when you have nothing to focus on or strive for, anxiety quickly takes over.
You need to know where you’re heading in life; otherwise, you risk being taken over by high anxiety.
You wouldn’t get in a car without a destination in mind, so don’t do the same thing with your life.
Know where you’re heading by setting clear goals. Or, at the very least, have a good idea what your day looks like when you get out of bed.
Start finding your purpose by setting clear goals today, and you will wake up with a very different frame of mind.
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The Less-Stress Lifestyle is now ready for your eyes (or ears, if you prefer audio).
I wrote this book to put out a strong message.
In short, that message is you don’t have to put up with being miserable and stressed. You have more options than you think you have now, and even the smallest change can make a big difference.
To give you a peek into what you can expect, here are fifteen things you can do to create a less-stress lifestyle - these have been recently featured in GQ Magazine, The Mirror, The Sunday Mail, and Woman's Own.
I used to avoid self-help.
Just the term ‘self-help’ would be enough to put me off.
There was a real embarrassment attached to it for me.
Me? Self-help? How dare you!
My internal picture of self-help included high-fives, cheesy grins, groups of people jumping up and down, and arms raised up to the sky as people were overcome with an invisible power.
Although this is partly accurate, the embarrassment I attached to self-help was seriously holding me back.
That’s why I’ve dedicated this post to anybody who feels the same – because if you give self-help a try, it might just change your life.
Here are six reasons you need self-help and why you shouldn’t be embarrassed about it.
Nobody is perfect, but odds would say that, right now, you have toxic people in your life.
Let’s define what I mean by toxic people:
Ring any bells?
It’s the last point in this list that is the most important because toxic people will bring you down without hesitation.
Identifying toxic people in your life and doing something about them will prevent you from lots of unnecessary hardship and unhappiness. Why?
They did with me, for sure.
Audiobooks have a way of elevating words, and if read by the author, they can give you a deeper understanding of the message.
My intention with Anxiety Rebalance was to give you another level of support you might not get from a book. With audio, you can carry me around with you on a device (like a mobile phone) in your pocket. If you’re struggling with anxiety or panic attacks you can put your headphones in and get instant support – from somebody you know that’s been there and understands. Most importantly, somebody who can talk you through it and help you overcome it.
We’re not all readers and some of us just don’t have time to sit down to read a book - audiobooks can offer the perfect solution. When I go to the gym I pop my headphones in and before I know I’m halfway through a book and ready for a shower (two birds, one stone). I’m not the quickest reader, and it can take me weeks to read one book. With audiobooks, I can do two or three a week – plenty more knowledge and personal growth.
If you’re a regular downloader of audiobooks I have no doubt you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t given them a go yet, I highly recommend you give them a try – you won’t regret it.
Thank you to everybody that has listened to the Anxiety Rebalance audiobook. It’s a bestseller on Audible, and you can find it here
Here’s my full interview with Audible on SoundCloud
It's been a manic few weeks.
Anxiety Rebalance has been signed up by world-leading publisher, Hachette (which is great news because it means we can spread the word internationally), and I've been busy in the studio recording the audio version, which is due for release on 5th May (thank you for all your audio requests!).
When I started writing the book it was my dream to help people across the world, and with your help, the dream is becoming reality.
You and I both know there are so many people out there that need help, and I thank you wholeheartedly for your support, including all the amazing feedback received - I couldn't do this without you.
I’ve been lying to my family and pretending to go to work, but I’ve not been going for the past few weeks because I’m too anxious. I’m getting harassed and bullied and I’m having spells where I get dizzy which gives me panic attacks.
Things have never been this bad and I don’t know what’s going to happen, especially when my wages don’t come in as usual to pay the bills. I feel like I’m letting my family down. I want to be strong but I just feel depressed and want to stay in bed which is making things worse.
You need to get back to a level playing field so anxiety can’t dictate your thinking. When you’re feeling stressed and anxious it will cloud your judgement and make you believe there’s no way out. It’s very easy to get into a spiral, and although you might not think it right now, there is a way to change your situation as quickly as it happened.
Hiding the truth from your family isn’t doing you any good. The first step is to be honest. You might feel like you’re letting them down, but you’re not. You’re going through a challenging period that everybody at some time faces, and a supportive family will understand and recognise that. It takes bravery to open up and be honest, but no more bravery than having to face what you’re currently going through.
Once the truth is in the open you can move forward and deal with it. Including your family will help you appreciate you’re not dealing with the situation on your own. This will give you the strength and belief you need to move forward in a different direction.
If you feel like you need to talk to somebody outside of your family unit, find a good counsellor who will help talk through the things that need to be brought to surface. To deal with the panic attacks and anxiety at work there will be underlying fears that need to be tackled, and a good counsellor will help you do it.
Nobody deserves to be bullied, and bullies only do what they do because of the reaction they get. When you’re brave enough to get the truth out there and start speaking about whats really on your mind by exposing your fears, the bullying will stop - both internally (panic attacks) and externally (at work).
I feel like crap. The world is a horrible place. I can’t stand people and they don’t like me, which is fine because that’s how I like it.
You don’t have to suffer from chronic depression and anxiety to feel like this. At some point we all go through these types of days.
Here’s what I want you to draw from them:
1: They Don’t Last
These horrible days / feelings are temporary.
The great thing about us humans is our resilience. If you break a bone, your body goes through a miraculous healing process. Your mind can do the same when you’re dealing with negative thoughts, or going through a tough time.
You’ll move through the negativity - tomorrow is a new day.
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