In modern society, stress and anxiety are par for the course and at times we cause anxiety in our lives. In fact, according to the online survey of 2,020 U.S. adults 18 and older, conducted in August by Harris Interactive for the American Psychological Association, the Millennial generation — has their fair share of stress, and it’s not letting up: 39% say their stress has increased in the past year; 52% say stress has kept them awake at night in the past month.
Anxiety does not have to reign supreme in your life. Believer it or not, there are several habits that we do that can cause anxiety. Check out these common practices to see how you can keep calm and carry on.
Eating properly not only helps your metabolism, it helps regulate your mental stability. Our food intake is perhaps one of the most underrated roles when it comes our mental health. “Waiting too long to eat or missing out on breakfast may lead to unsteady blood sugar levels, which can cause anxiety-like sensations, including shakiness, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty speaking” explains Body and Health. Your stomach is like a second brain as it contains neurons that affect your mood. If you’re one to skip meals, incorporate a well-balanced diet and monitor the changes that cause anxiety levels to drop.
Lack of Sleep
We’re all guilty of pulling the late-nighter for a work thing. Have you ever witnessed a child who hasn’t had their nap? They’re cranky, erratic, and just plain out of sorts. Well, that doesn’t end when you hit adulthood– it simply manifests differently. According to PsychCentral, “Neuroscientists have found that sleep deprivation fires up areas of the brain associated with emotional processing. The resulting pattern mimics the abnormal neural activity seen in anxiety disorders”. If you’re feeling a bit panicky, revisit your sleeping pattern. If it’s not up to snuff, try some tactics to help improve sleep.
Skipping Leg Day
Exercise is great for your health– mental health included. Sure it’s tough to incorporate some time to work on your fitness when you’re on the 9 to 5 hustle. Problem is, when you’re not getting that oh so necessary cardio in one form of another, your mood suffers and anxiety is sure to follow. In fact, The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), found that researchers discovered that those who exercised vigorously every day were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years. By carving out some time to work out, you can impact your anxiety level. After all, a happy heart helps a healthy mind, so treat yourself to a healthier you.
Look, vampires are only cool in the movies– especially when it affects your mental health. Being outdoors and spending time with others keeps you active, focuses your mind on productive tasks, and helps to stimulate pleasant feelings. The sun is a natural D supplement, so if you’re lucky enough to live in a warm, sunny climate, head outside (with sunscreen, of course). For those who live in gloomier climates, it’s still important to get out there, but you can also pickup some Vitamin D to help boost your mood and lower anxiety levels.
Technology is amazing– we’re able to connect with virtually anyone in the world within seconds. However, like the wise words of Spiderman’s Uncle Ben, ” With great power, comes great responsibility”. Sitting in front of a blue screen or texting like no tomorrow can have negative consequences that cause anxiety levels to raise.
For example, “Texting also carries a cognitive cost, draining your attentional resources. As your inner reserve is worn down, you become exhausted and burned out. The physiological activation involved in texting erodes your sleep, and the stage is set for you to feel emotionally depleted.” explains Psychology Today. See if you can include non-tech ways to get your day to day tasks done while allowing your brain to take a chill pill.
Anxiety is a fickle little bugger that creeps up in our lives, in one way or another. The amazing thing is that your body has ways of communicating with you when you are out of bounds. The next time you experience a bit of anxiety, check out your daily routine and see if it’s something that a simple tweak can fix.
Of course, if your levels of anxiety are persistent and you feel as though you cannot cope on your own, there are amazing resources to assist in finding a mental health professional to help you on your way. Get setup for success by being kind to yourself and lower activities that cause anxiety and improve your overall mental health.