Life is tough and anxiety and stress can only make it tougher. It is okay to feel anxious and nervous at a new job or when you give your first presentation.
But, do you feel anxious on an everyday basis? Do you hyperventilate over the smallest things that happen during your day, those which can be easily dealt with? If your answer is yes, then maybe you can blame this on your everyday habits.
Here are a few uncommon culprits that may be causing feelings of anxiety in your daily life.
12 Weird Things That Can Make You Anxious
The primary effect of caffeine is to relieve fatigue and enhance mental performance. Having one cup of coffee a day is okay; however, having too many cups of coffee can lead to restlessness, agitation, excitement, rambling thought and speech, and insomnia.
Too much coffee can temporarily make you feel more alert by blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increasing adrenaline production.1
So, if you are already feeling jittery and nervous, having coffee will only worsen your condition.
Nausea and a bad headache are not the only effects of drinking too much alcohol. Studies have shown that heavy drinking can rewire your brain and make you more prone to anxiety disorders.2
Alcohol is also known to cause sleep disturbances, leading to an increase in your anxiety levels.3
If you are feeling unwell, it is normal to take medications prescribed by your doctor to get well soon. However, medications can make you feel anxious. Compounds found in medicines like acetaminophen and doxylamine succinate – which is a sedating antihistamine – can cause anxiety. Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant, is also known to trigger anxiety.
So, the next time you purchase your medications, make sure to read the label and speak with your doctor about your increased anxiety problems.
4. Low Blood Sugars
If you are under stress and anxiety, you will find that you don’t feel hungry and sometimes you may even skip meals. Skipping your meals can cause a dip in your blood sugar levels, resulting in further anxiety issues.
When your blood sugar falls too low, your body signals the adrenal glands to produce the adrenaline hormone. This hormone gets your liver to produce more sugar. The excess adrenaline hormone can lead to an “adrenaline rush” and can make you feel more anxious.
So, the next time you don’t feel hungry, skipping a meal is not the best solution. Try to have a bite of a juicy apple or drink your favorite smoothie to avoid hormonal rush leading to more anxiety.
5. Unbalanced Diet
We all know how a healthy diet is important for our body. But, did you know that an unbalanced or an unhealthy diet can cause you to feel more anxious than normal? It is true!
Your diet should be rich in vitamin B complex, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients. Vitamin B complex can help you fight anxiety, fatigue, and mood problems. Sources of B vitamins include meat, turkey, whole grains, bananas, and potatoes. Magnesium helps regulate the release of stress hormones and magnesium-rich sources include green leafy vegetables like spinach, pumpkin seeds, and fruits like figs. Calcium helps the nervous system function properly, so if you are deficient in calcium, you may want to eat more of dairy products, almonds, and oatmeal.
A study showed that a meal high in carbohydrate increased the rate that tryptophan enters the brain, leading to an increase in the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin that modulates mood. It also showed that a deficiency in micronutrients like thiamine and iron resulted in poorer moods.4
So, the next time you find yourself munching on chips and you get a panic attack, you know what you did wrong!
6. Body Hydration
Drinking water can do way more than just quenching your thirst. If you are not drinking enough water, it means your body is dehydrated. Even mild dehydration has been associated with fatigue and mood disturbances.
Water intake has a significant effect on moods. A study showed that decreasing water intake had detrimental effects on their subjects, including lack of calmness, satisfaction, and positive emotions.5
So, now that you know how important water is for your body, make sure you drink at least a minimum of eight glasses of water every day.
7. Unorganized Surroundings
Messy homes are not new for those who live alone or with a couple of roommates. However, your messy surroundings may also contribute to your feelings of anxiety. Unorganized surroundings can make you feel drained and can also draw your attention away from the things that you need to focus on.
It is important to keep your surroundings organized and tidy for your mental state thereby avoiding any unnecessary anxiety or tension.
8. Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other applications allow you to keep in touch with your loved ones and friends. However, your involvement in social media can alter your feelings. Getting yourself overly engaged in any social media websites or applications can cause feelings of anxiety in you.
You tend to negatively compare your life with others and this will make you feel that the grass on their side is much greener than yours, leading to unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Try to limit your time on social media and take time to concentrate and appreciate the small things in your life.
9. Couch Potato Syndrome
You read it right! Being a couch potato or sedentary behavior has shown to increase anxiety. Sitting all the time may lead to problems like slower metabolism, incorrect postures leading to spinal cord issues, reduced social skills, and others. Sedentary behaviors like sitting for work, travel, or simply watching television may increase your risk of developing anxiety.6 More research in this field is required to arrive at a concrete conclusion.
Let’s not take chances. Make sure you are active during the day and engage yourself in some outdoor activities with your friends or family.
10. Urban Lifestyle
If you are living in a city, noise pollution and air pollution are common. However, studies show that inhaling impure air, specifically fine particulate matter, may increase your anxiety issues.7
Unfortunately, this is not something that you can control. Try to avoid walking on overcrowded streets and avoid inhaling the polluted air.
11. Unsafe And Underprivileged Neighborhoods
A study involving women in the United Kingdom showed that women living in the poorer parts of the kingdom were two times more likely to develop clinical anxiety than those living in richer areas. This, however, did not affect the anxiety levels in men.8
Neighborhood safety can also be considered a factor to increase anxiety in women. If they find that their neighborhood is not safe enough, they may reduce their involvement in physical activities, harming both mental and physical health.
12. Tummy Troubles
If you have intense stomach or digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBD), you are likely to face anxiety. Results of a study show that there is an association between IBD and generalized anxiety disorder and women are more susceptible to this issue.9
If you experience symptoms like abdominal pain, irregular bowel movements, or a reduced appetite, you need to consult your doctor and follow the prescribed measures to treat them. If your anxiety levels are worrying you, communicate it with your doctor.
Don’t get yourself worked up after reading this list. Instead, take a deep breath and try to change the habits that may be causing you to feel anxious.
|↑1||Caffeine and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑2||Heavy drinking rewires brain, increasing susceptibility to anxiety problems. University of North Carolina School of Medicine.|
|↑3||Tired and edgy? Sleep deprivation boosts anticipatory anxiety. University of California, Berkeley.|
|↑4||Benton, David, and Rachael T. Donohoe. “The effects of nutrients on mood.” Public health nutrition 2, no. 3a (1999): 403-409.|
|↑5||Pross, Nathalie, Agnès Demazières, Nicolas Girard, Romain Barnouin, Déborah Metzger, Alexis Klein, Erica Perrier, and Isabelle Guelinckx. “Effects of changes in water intake on mood of high and low drinkers.” PloS one 9, no. 4 (2014): e94754.|
|↑6||Teychenne, Megan, Sarah A. Costigan, and Kate Parker. “The association between sedentary behavior and risk of anxiety: a systematic review.” BMC public health 15, no. 1 (2015): 513.|
|↑7||Power, Melinda C., Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou, Jaime E. Hart, Olivia I. Okereke, Francine Laden, and Marc G. Weisskopf. “The relation between past exposure to fine particulate air pollution and prevalent anxiety: observational cohort study.” bmj 350 (2015): h1111.|
|↑8||Women in poor areas twice as likely to develop clinical anxiety as men. University of Cambridge.|
|↑9||Fuller-Thomson, Esme, Rusan Lateef, and Joanne Sulman. “Robust association between inflammatory bowel disease and generalized anxiety disorder: findings from a nationally representative Canadian study.” Inflammatory bowel diseases 21, no. 10 (2015): 2341-2348.|