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Those who live with anxiety know how difficult it can be to identify the cause of your anxiety attack. Trying to bring it under control at the moment is a whole another struggle.
However, as you go about your day, many simple habits can unknowingly worsen your anxiety symptoms. Healthy or unhealthy, habits do not, unfortunately, distinguish between what causes anxiety and what doesn’t. Stick to these habits for long enough and anxiety might constantly agitate your emotions and behaviors, ultimately taking over your mind and life.
No one should be crippled with that much anxiety. So it’s time for you to learn what these common habits are that have the potential to intensify your anxiety, so you can prepare yourself with better choices to live the life you want.
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Not Getting Enough Sleep
The relation between sleep disorders and sleep is not uncommon to those who suffer from either one of the problems.
Studies have shown that anxiety and sleep disorders particularly insomnia have an influential connection with each other. One sleep study on youngsters with an anxiety disorder suggested insomnia may be a risk factor for developing anxiety disorders with sleep problems leading to anxiety disorders 27% of the time.
Not getting enough sleep for too many nights can lead to increased anxiety and make it difficult to cope with psychological stress, according to another recent study.
Researchers have also concluded that sleep is a contributing factor in people suffering from depression, with those who have sleep disorders becoming more prone to depression as well.
Multiple studies have suggested that a consistent and healthy sleep routine promotes better memory, productivity, physical performance, metabolism, heart health, pain management, and immunity. It also lowers the risk of depression, weight gain, and inflammation.
Sleep is the single most important activity that can radically transform your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Your body will literally begin destroying itself if it chronically doesn’t get its required amount of sleep. Don’t mess with it.
Before it leads to severe damage, becoming mindful of your sleep. Begin prioritizing it and cultivate a healthy sleep routine to sleep well every night.
- Find out your chronotype to identify your ideal sleep timings
- Have at least 7-8 hours of time scheduled for your night’s sleep
- Follow an evening and bedtime routine to promote better sleep
Not drinking enough water can become a sneaky yet serious issue on a daily basis.
With 60-70% of our body made up of water, it requires little evidence of why dehydration can become a problem. Hormones to nutrients, almost everything is transferred via fluids inside our body, so less fluid consumption leads to bodily dysfunctions.
Dehydration may not cause anxiety directly but it can intensify many different symptoms of anxiety like increased heart rate, dizziness, and muscle fatigue. Apart from these symptoms, dehydration can also lead to gas, loss of appetite, and nausea. After a prolonged time, the brain may start malfunctioning and can bring on headaches as a symptom.
Water is life and it’s important that you provide your body with the right amount of fluid it needs. Moreover, staying properly hydrated will keep you calm, relaxed, and promote positive emotions.
- Measure how much water consumption you need daily. Men require about 3.7 liters and women about 2.7 liters of water intake a day.
- Keep a full bottle in front of you at all times so you don’t forget to keep hydrating yourself.
Modern-day work practices have unfortunately made us into sedentary beings.
With 206 bones, 360 bone joints, and close to 700 muscles in our body, it’s quite evident that we are designed to move.
Lack of movement can make you prone to increased feelings of anxiety and depression, along with diseases like obesity, heart diseases, high blood pressure, stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, etc.
What’s interesting is that exercising regularly can actually alleviate anxiety disorders. Numerous studies have suggested that exercise and regular activity positively reduces the psychological and physiological symptoms of anxiety, even in clinical settings.
It was found that exercise increased the release of anti-anxiety neurochemicals like serotonin, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), and endocannabinoids. Considering the benefits of regular exercise, psychologists have also started to recommend exercise as a part of therapy for some patients with anxiety and depression, as part of clinical studies.
All the evidence suggests exercise is a natural and effective solution for anxiety. Dedicate to break out moments of prolonged inactivity and move your body. Exercise and walk more often.
- Take at least 5-10K steps or walk for at least 15-20 minutes every day.
- Schedule time for exercise, work-out or yoga
Consuming Too Much Caffeine
Coffee is the most popular beverage around the world and many of you might prefer it to jumpstart your mornings or put you into much-needed work alert in the sluggish afternoons.
However, your average cup of coffee may contain up to 85 mg of caffeine in it. Consuming too much caffeine, however, doesn’t do much good to us.
Too much caffeine can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, makes you shaky and nervous, blocks sleep-inducing neurotransmitters like adenosine, and is very addicting.
When it comes to mental health, high levels of caffeine interfere with the production of the feel-good chemical serotonin, eventually leading to an anxious and depressed mood.
A study found that consuming 300 milligrams of caffeine a day can leave you with twice as much stress. To put it in perspective, a Starbucks ‘grande’ coffee packs about 330 milligrams of caffeine.
Caffeine can also make you dehydrated and interfere with your sleep quality leading to worsening of anxiety symptoms.
Needless to say, it’s safer to keep a limit to how much caffeine you consume in a day.
Apart from your cup of coffee, many foods, beverages, and even, medications sneakily pack a significant amount of caffeine in them. Check out these six hidden foods and drinks that pack a good amount of caffeine as well.
- Try to cut down on the consumption of coffee as it does more harm than good.
- Replace coffee with other stimulants like tea which can even help relieve anxiety.
- Check out for any other hidden foods that pack in caffeine and try to avoid them.
Drinking Alcohol To Unwind
Drinking alcohol might seem like a good idea to relax and unwind at the end of a long day but it makes your anxiety worse in the long term. When the good mood wears off, alcohol can result in mini-withdrawal effects, significantly affecting sleep quality and pretty bad panic attacks.
More alarmingly, heavy alcohol usage can rewire the brain to make it more difficult for anyone to recover from a traumatic experience.
Alcohol is also a depressant and a diuretic. Every time you drink, it will leave you numb and dehydrated, which might aggravate anxiety symptoms and is ultimately not good for your health and well-being.
On average, a 12-oz (or 350ml) beer stays in your system for almost two hours, and the more the quantity of alcohol, the longer it stays inside, making your anxiety symptoms worse.
- Drink in moderation, about two servings per day is considered safe.
- Do not drink to relax and fall asleep.
- Cutting off alcohol completely will be the ideal option.
Take a moment to assess which of these habits seem relevant to you and might be contributing to your anxiety. Make the necessary lifestyle changes immediately because it’s your life that is at stake here. Lastly, never hesitate to reach out for support or consult a mental health professional to understand your anxiety better.
Online Therapy is not a substitute for face-to-face therapy and please exercise caution before investing in any online therapy platform.