Just as certain habits and lifestyle changes can help manage anxiety, some can worsen it as well, Bustle reports.
Below are 11 simple, everyday behaviors that may be enhancing your anxiety.
- Not leaving the house
Sometimes a lazy day inside sounds like just what the doctor ordered. In reality, research indicates that not leaving the house all day is terrible for your anxiety. In fact, it’s one of the worst things you can do for it.
“Being outdoors and spending time with others keeps you active, focuses your mind on productive tasks, and helps to stimulate pleasant feelings,” Anda Jines said on Chicago.Counseling.org. You do not get these things at home alone.
- Surrounding yourself with anxious people
Like attracts like, so if you’re a naturally nervous person, chances are you hang out with people who are also nervous. Unfortunately, this usually doesn’t result in a supportive atmosphere, but rather an even more anxious one. This is not to say you shouldn’t be friends with people who are also anxious, just that you should make sure you also have calming and happy presences in your life.
- Hitting snooze and running late
Getting behind schedule can ruin anyone’s day and make anyone anxious – even people who do not have an anxiety disorder. Start your day off on the right note and don’t hit snooze. This will help keep you on schedule and decrease the likelihood of having a chaotic day.
- Drinking too much coffee
The way that caffeine stimulates your system is incredibly similar to experiencing anxiety. It causes your heart to beat faster and your breathing to increase, as well. This, along with shakiness that occurs with too much caffeine, essentially mimics the start of an anxiety attack, which can trigger you and actually start an anxiety attack.
- Letting your work pile-up
We all get overwhelmed at work from time to time, but are your habits making it worse? If you are procrastinating, then you’re more likely to stress about what you need to do and then panic when you have to get it all done at the last minute. Mitigate this by creating to-do lists and schedules and actually sticking to them.
- Eating too much sugar
Bad news for any and all with a sweet tooth – sugar is harmful in a multitude of ways. Since sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream at a fast rate, it causes your blood sugar to spike. When the sugar leaves your body through a quick energy spike, you are likely to crash and feel anxious.
- Listening to sad music
Music is a tried and true way to affect mood. If all of your playlists are sad, then it could be contributing to you feeling down and anxious. While we all love a good sad song on occasion, you should create some happy playlists to put you in the mood you want to be in.
- Sleeping too little or too poorly
Sleep is crucial for our health – including our mental health. If you are sleep deprived, you’re more likely to partake in bad habits such as eating fast food or being too tired to exercise. Additionally, when you’re tired, you feel agitated and stressed, which contribute to anxiety. Make sure you are sticking to a realistic sleep schedule and getting quality rest.
Talking out our problems and complaining about them are two different things. If you are complaining without taking action, then the only thing you are achieving is feeling worse about the situation you’re complaining about. This causes a vicious cycle of feeling bad about a problem, complaining about it and not doing anything, and then feeling even worse.
“Your goal is to reduce your anxiety rather than fuel it, so rather than just complaining about what bothers you, talk about what bothers you while looking towards new ways to change it,” Jines said.
- Not exercising
Exercise is an excellent way to manage anxiety and not exercising is a common way to increase it. Help yourself manage your anxiety by getting into an exercise routine, such as going on a walk every day or going to a spin class with a friend a few times a week.
- Living in a cluttered apartment
Clutter can make anxiety worse, so make sure you are keeping your living and working spaces relatively tidy and organized. This will do wonders for your mental health and overall state of mind.