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How to recognise and overcome anxiety

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navigating anxiety

How to recognise and overcome anxiety

Hey there, friend! Have you ever felt that flutter in your heart or those knots in your stomach? That’s anxiety making its grand entrance. Yep, anxiety is like that uninvited guest crashing the party of our minds and bodies without warning. But here’s the thing: it’s completely normal to feel anxious from time to time.

In fact, the majority of us experience anxiety in our lives.

So, how can we recognise anxiety?

Picture this: you’re at a restaurant, waiting for a date to arrive. It’s your first date, and in your mind you’re going through conversation topics, trying to remember the facts she told you about herself, practicing your best lines. Your heart’s racing, your palms are sweaty, and you can’t seem to catch your breath. That’s anxiety right there, stirring up a storm inside you.

The truth is, anxiety can show up in various ways, not just while dating, and the symptoms are different for each and every one of us. It’s like a sneaky gremlin playing hide-and-seek with our emotions.

5 Top symptoms of anxiety: 


1. Cardiovascular

High blood pressure, a rapid or hard heartbeat can all be symptoms of anxiety. These symptoms are activated by our fight or flight response, making sure our blood is well oxygenated. 20,000 years ago, this would have saved our life running from a sabre-tooth tiger, but in the modern world, it’s use has diminished. It’s an evolutionary anachronism. We can’t just run from a bad date!

2. Breathing

Your heart isn’t the only organ affected by anxiety and stress. Your breath can catch in your throat, leaving you gasping for air as if the weight of the world is crushing down on your chest. Each inhale feels like a struggle, a reminder of the invisible force that threatens to suffocate you.

These are regular symptoms of anxiety. The reason for this again goes back to that fight or flight. With your blood being well oxygenated, you can run after that mammoth or fight that bear for longer. But again, if you’re struggling to think of something to say to a woman, you can’t just run away. So that energy doesn’t get released, instead growing in intensity and making your chest tighter and tighter.

3. Gastrointestinal

Your body signals the urgency, making you run to the bathroom more often than usual, unable to shake the feeling of urgency that weighs on your mind. Your body may decide to throw another curveball at you, manifesting your anxiety in physical ways you never imagined.

Suddenly, you find yourself battling stomach troubles, IBS symptoms, or even bouts of vomiting that seem to have no logical explanation. It’s as if your body is trying to expel the anxiety that has taken root deep within you. You may have to leave your date and rush to the bathroom.

This is still tied to your blood. When under stress, the blood is taken from less immediately important systems such as digestion and redirected towards life-saving mechanisms like the heart and lungs. Because of this, the digestive system won’t get the proper amount of nourishment in order to complete its function, so food can pass through undigested, causing these kinds of problems.

4. Pain

As you go about your day, you might start noticing a dull ache in your chest, back, arms, or legs that refuses to go away. It’s like carrying an invisible weight that drags you down, making each movement feel heavier than usual. And the more you try to push through it, the more it seems to tighten its grip on you.

Anxiety really can manifest in the form of pain, whether it’s headaches or stress knots. It can be worrying, feeling a sharp pain in the left side of your chest, or even down your left arm. This of course can lead to more anxiety, leading to more pain, and more anxiety in a never-ending spiral.

The good news is, just knowing that these pains are probably nothing serious can be enough to break the vicious cycle. Pain doesn’t really exist outside of signals in our brain, so it’s easy to see how anxiety can cause it.

5. Mental

And then there’s the mental whirlwind that seems to have no off switch. Your mind fixates on a single event, playing it on repeat like a broken record that refuses to skip to the next track. The more you try to distract yourself, the louder it becomes, filling every corner of your thoughts with doubt and unease.

Your mind is racing with thoughts, mostly negative and dreaded “what-if” worst-case scenarios about your date. Most of which, of course, are entirely fabricated by your brain and highly unlikely to happen.

Then there are those restless nights when sleep plays hard to get, leaving you tossing and turning in frustration. And when morning finally comes, you’re left feeling more drained than when you closed your eyes. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves you walking through the day in a fog of exhaustion.

This mental fog descends, clouding your thoughts and slowing your reactions, as if your brain is struggling to keep up with the torrent of emotions and sensations that flood your senses. It’s like trying to navigate a maze with no clear path, feeling lost in a labyrinth of your own making.

If you’re designing some high-tech nuclear reactor or military action plan, it pays to be thorough. Every outcome must be planned for. But this development is supposed to happen over the course of months or years.

When you’re on a date, worrying about every possible outcome will just result in more anxiety, which will just cause more problems. It’s not worth the effort. This is something I teach my dating students all the time, but you’re much better off genuinely not caring about the outcome. It takes time, but you can eventually get over your fear of rejection.

Overcoming anxiety

So, how do we wrangle this beast of anxiety and steer our ship back to calmer waters? Well, my dear reader, it all boils down to mastering the art of managing anxiety like a pro. It’s about finding what works for you – be it mindful breathing exercises, soothing music, a stroll in the park, or pouring your thoughts onto paper like a lyrical poet. The power lies within you to craft your unique anxiety toolkit, one that speaks to your soul and whispers, “You’ve got this.”

Crafting confidence in men just like you is kind of my specialty. Here are a number of techniques I always find myself repeating.

Long term

1. Keep off the internet

Doom scrolling does nobody any good.

A recent study found a link between use of social media and mental health – and the results aren’t positive.

It’s not just your old schoolmate’s flood of Instagram holiday snaps and your bigoted third uncle’s Facebook rants though. Fear-mongering, misinformation, conspiracy theories and algorithm-enforced echo chambers, political data-mining and purposefully dividing policies means that so much of what we see is designed to create fear and hate.

There’s so much conflict in the world, whether its war, genocide, or religious and political division, and our feeds are flooded with it. It’s no wonder we’re all full of anxiety, fear and anger.

It’s also impossible to keep up with every shed of information on all of it. We wouldn’t be able to function. Do yourself a favour and cut yourself free. The more you limit your time being bombarded with all the nonsense, the more clear-minded, calm and collected you will be.

2. Healthy lifestyle choices

Often the hardest one to implement. This can be as simple as cutting down caffeine intake, or can involve a complete lifestyle overhaul. It’s all the stuff you know anyway; get enough sleep, exercise, water and healthy foods, while cutting out excess sugar and fats.

Try and work exercise into your daily life. Many car journeys can really be replaced with a bike or even walking. If not, then there are plenty of good value gyms out there. Personal trainers can give you the extra motivation and drive you need.

If diets don’t work for you, download a calory counter that allows you to continue eating whatever you want, just in a more controlled way.

3. Recognise the triggers

When working on a complete lifestyle overhaul, we need to think not just about what’s healthy for the body, but what’s healthy for the soul too. It doesn’t just apply to looking for the right woman, but achieving any goal. I ask my students; where are the women you want to attract hanging out? Go there.

In the same way, if you can recognise what is triggering your anxiety, you’re a step closer to beating it. Sometimes it may feel like the anxiety is coming on for no reason, but if you think about it and take notes, you will find a pattern. Even if you find yourself feeling anxiety in a completely innocuous situation, you will usually find that it’s because of a long term issue that’s been going on in the background. Your subconscious is always at work under the surface, picking up on signals and making us feel things.

Maybe you’re anxious about upcoming deadlines, mounting pressure or worried about an uncertain future. Recognising this and putting plans in place to ensure that no matter what happens, you’re prepared, can help. If it’s a certain situation or person you can avoid, or cut out of your life entirely, even better.

4. Mindset

Something else I always teach about is the power of a strong mindset. A lot of anxiety comes from caring a lot about the outcome of a particular situation, so your brain puts in a lot of energy in order to make that happen. But what if you didn’t care how your date ended? The effect is often contradictory, as it can increase your confidence, making you more attractive, and actually increasing the chances of the date ending well.

You can also create a confident mindset by sorting out your appearance. If you look good, you feel good. See a stylist and sort out your hygiene routine. Stand up straight and take care in each action you take. You don’t need to be the next superstar, you just need to be well-groomed.  This will have an instant effect on your confidence.

Once you have crafted a confident mindset, you can take this with you wherever you go. It becomes a part of you, defending you against anxiety for the rest of your life.

Short term

5. Deep breathing exercises

It takes time to craft a healthy lifestyle that cultivates confidence. In the meantime, what do you do in those anxious situations?

There are a number of breathing exercises that can help with anxiety. Here’s one that I use all the time. Take a deep breath in for 7 seconds, and then out for 9 seconds. By increasing the duration of the exhalation, you increase carbon dioxide levels in your blood, which has a naturally calming effect on the body. By actively taking control of your breathing, you can regain control over your other negative physical symptoms too, such as a pounding heartbeat.

If you’re in such a bad situation you can’t even manage breathing in for 7 seconds, try breathing in for 5 seconds and breathing out for 7, or even breathing in for 3 and out for 5. Whatever you can mange. Then, build up to a longer and longer exhalation until the anxiety has calmed down.  Focusing on counting and the simple repetition of inhalation and exhalation can also take your mind off the anxious thoughts.

The best thing about this is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. It helps with sleep, anxiety, or even when you’ve had too much caffeine.

6. Meditation

Taking a few moments to yourself, being mindful and letting the business of the world wash harmlessly over you can help, when done regularly, to manage anxious thoughts and the effect it has on your mood.

It takes practice but once you’ve got the hang of it you can do it anywhere. It’s not just for Buddhists, and doesn’t have to be spiritual. Anyone can practice meditation to help ease their anxiety.

7. Grounding techniques

There are many more ways to get yourself out of your head to stop racing thoughts and get back into the moment. One of these is the breathing technique we’ve already mentioned, and meditation, but another is what’s known as “sensory grounding”.

Look around your environment. Point out and tell yourself 3 things you can see, 3 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 3 things you can smell, 3 things you could taste. Name them. Describe them.

Forcing yourself to focus on these real, tangible experiences can help get you out of your head and stop the anxious thoughts. Anxiety is most often caused by the question, “What if?” And it’s that unknown that causes the fear. So, by instead focusing on the question, “What is?” you take away that unknown element and reduce your anxiety.

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. – H.P. Lovecraft

8. Embrace it

Now, here’s a little secret many of us tend to overlook: anxiety doesn’t always have to be the villain in our life story. In small doses, it can even serve as a helpful sidekick, nudging us to pay attention and stay sharp in challenging situations. Yes, anxiety can actually be good for you. But, and this is a big BUT, when anxiety starts hogging the spotlight and interfering with our daily grind, that’s when we need to hit the pause button and seek some extra support.

Anxiety is a natural biological response that makes us human. It does serve a purpose and can even help us. If you speak to anyone in the performance industry, they’ll tell you that a little bit of nerves gets a better performance out of you. They’ll also tell you that those nerves never truly go away. So if you’re waiting for that anxiety to disappear before you approach that beautiful woman, you’ll be waiting forever.


Let’s face it: anxiety can be a tough nut to crack. It’s like a multi-headed monster, throwing a cocktail of symptoms our way. From racing thoughts and sweaty palms to restlessness and that constant feeling of dread looming over us, it’s a roller-coaster of emotions we didn’t exactly sign up for. And here’s the kicker: since we rarely talk openly about these struggles, it often feels like we’re marooned on Anxiety Island, all alone in this bewildering sea of emotions.

At the end of the day, anxiety is just a part of the human experience, a quirky companion on our journey through life. Embrace it, learn from it, but never let it steer the wheel of your destiny. Remember, you hold the reins, and you have the strength to tame the anxiety beast with grace and resilience. So, chin up, dear friend, take a deep breath, and let’s sail through these stormy seas together, hand in hand.

In a world that often talks about anxiety in hushed tones, these physical and emotional symptoms often go unnoticed and unacknowledged. But they are real, tangible manifestations of the battles that rage within those who carry the weight of anxiety on their shoulders. So let’s shine a light on these hidden struggles, and start a conversation that validates the experiences of those who silently fight this relentless foe.

Because when it comes to anxiety, we’re all in this together.

We’re not alone. Not even close. In fact, there’s a whole tribe out there sailing in the same boat, battling the anxiety monster with all they’ve got. The key is to shine a light on those hidden symptoms, to break the silence, and start working towards an anxiety-free future. Just remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a bold move towards reclaiming your peace of mind.


Is anxiety linked to depression?

While anxiety and depression are distinct disorders, they often occur together, with individuals experiencing symptoms of both simultaneously. This co-occurrence is known as comorbidity, and it is quite common in clinical practice. Research suggests that up to half of individuals diagnosed with an anxiety disorder will also meet the criteria for depression at some point in their lives, and vice versa.

What are the main symptoms of anxiety?

In addition to the symptoms discussed here, anxiety can manifest in symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbance, muscle tension, difficulty concentrating, shaking, tremors, avoidance behaviours and even panic attacks.

Can anxiety cause chest pain?

Surprisingly, yes! Surges in adrenaline caused by anxiety can narrow the arteries in your heart, causing pain. This may be a big relief, as it doesn’t necessarily indicate a deeper health issue.

Why does anxiety happen?

It’s not a simple answer, I’m afraid. As well as our evolutionary past as a species, genetics inherited from our family may make us more or less susceptible to anxiety. Negative past experiences may also colour us suspicious and make us expect more negative things to happen in the future. We can also learn this kind of behaviour from those around us.

Can anxiety happen for no reason?

Although it may sometimes seem like anxiety has been brought on for no reason, there is usually some underlying biological or subconscious trigger. Dig deep, and you’ll find the cause. You’re then one step closer to eradicating it.

Further Reading

If you’re struggling with anxiety, whether inside or outside of relationships, look no further than one of my coaching courses.

I’ve worked with countless anxious men just like you for over a decade, transforming their lives and finding fulfilling relationships – we’ve even had marriages as a direct result of my course!

For those of you looking for personalised coaching sessions, guidance on building confidence, effective anxiety coping strategies, and a complete restructuring of your lifestyle, then contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your life goals.

Want to read more advice on mindset and mental health? Look no further than this section of my blog, and if you want more on a whole host of other topics related to lifestyle and dating, check out the wealth of articles on my website.



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