Anxiety is an overwhelming problem that plagues the masses. However, while you would like to throw a magic pill at this condition and hope it will all disappear, it’s not always the case. You can do many things to increase your anxiety levels rather than make it better.
25 Things That Increase Anxiety Levels
If you desire fewer anxious feelings throughout your days, you need to know what causes these levels to elevate. Here are twenty things that can send your anxiety levels soaring, and learning the appropriate stress response to these triggers can mean everything.
1. Putting Unrealistic Expectations on Yourself
You can only do so much, and everyone has limits. Stop putting unrealistic expectations on yourself, which only adds to your overwhelming stress levels. Realize that you have limitations in what you can do, and it will help you stop overloading your plate.
2. Negative Thinking Increases Anxiety Levels
Changing your mindset from the pessimist to an optimist mindset can do wonders for your anxiety levels. When you think negatively, it can affect your overall mood and anxiety.
3. Consuming too Much Caffeine
All the good drinks have tons of caffeine in them, but what your body needs is water. If your anxiety symptoms are out of control, it could be what you’re drinking is having an impact.
4. Procrastinating Causes Elevated Anxiety Levels
When you put off things you need to do today till tomorrow, your to-do list grows to epic proportions. Stop making your list so long that no one could accomplish such a feat. If you’re too busy, ask for help, and above all else, learn to say “no.”
5. Not Having Sufficient Boundaries
Boundaries are there to protect you, and when you don’t have adequate limitations, it can cause significant distress. It will help if you set limits both in your personal and professional life, as they’re there to protect you.
6. Not Making Time for Self-Care
Do you take time for yourself? If you’ve noticed that your anxiety is in overdrive, it could be that you need some downtime to rejuvenate your mind and body. Take some time off to do things you love, like reading a good book or driving in the country.
7. Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol and anxiety are a terrible combination. Many people drink to kill the pain, but it’s only acerbating things. Don’t turn to alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes to mask the unease you feel, as it will cause an even bigger problem in the long run.
8. Avoiding Sunlight
It would help if you got outside and let the sun regulate your serotonin and melatonin levels, as well as give you a healthy dose of vitamin D. So, you must get out in nature. If it’s cold and you can’t get outside as much, opt for a sunlamp to help replenish these hormones.
9. Anxiety Levels Can Raise Due to an Unhealthy Diet
When you consume a diet full of sugars, carbs, and processed junk foods, you’re not fueling your system with proper nutrition. Your sugar levels will go up and down when you don’t have protein and healthy fats to help regulate you, ultimately affecting your anxiety.
10. Battle This Illness on Your Own
Anxiety is a significant problem, and according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, it affects over 6.8 million people in this country alone. The good news is that it’s easy to treat and responds well to therapy. Realizing you need help is one of the best ways to love yourself.
11. Having Healthy Stress Management Tools
Your stress response means everything when it comes to dealing with anxiety. Do you run and hide, isolating yourself when you feel angst, or do you call a friend and talk through your problems? Developing a plan of attack can help you the next time a panic attack comes your way.
12. Moping and Wanting to Be Alone
Staying busy and active is the key to combating anxiety. If you want to have fewer anxious feelings, you need to get out and do things. Sure, it may not always be comfortable to get out when your anxiety is soaring, but you will find it gets easier.
Plus, locking yourself away or avoiding things because of your anxiety levels can lead to problems like agoraphobia. According to The National Library of Medicine, agoraphobia occurs when people avoid places and things that bring on an anxiety attack.
13. Living a Sedentary Lifestyle
Your body should move, and when you’re living a couch potato lifestyle, you’re not getting the exercise you need. Did you know that obesity comes with a higher rate of anxiety than someone who’s at an acceptable weight?
14. Ruminating About Your Problems
If your problems are running through your mind 24×7, then it’s going to affect your quality of life. Stop worrying about things that might not happen, and if these things do happen, you’ll deal with them at that time. Too many people waste their time worrying when they should be invested in mindful living instead.
15. Obsessing Over Every Little Thing
Do you tend to be a little high-strung? Perhaps, you’re just so overwhelmed that the slightest little thing sends you into orbit. It’s time you stop making mountains out of molehills and soaring your stress response for every little thing that happens in your life.
16. Criticizing Yourself Can Increase Anxiety Levels
When you put yourself down, you’re doing severe damage to your self-esteem and self-worth. Additionally, your anxiety levels are going to increase from the pressure you’re putting on yourself. Learn to love yourself again and stop with the negative self-talk. Instead, you should be your biggest cheerleader.
17. Not Drinking Enough Water
Many people can’t stomach pure water, but it’s the best thing you can drink to rehydrate your cells. According to the National Library of Medicine, having insufficient water intake can affect your cognitive function, which can cause anxiety. Water isn’t just something you’re told to drink because it’s good for you; it’s vital to keep your system going.
18. Magical Thinking Causes Anxiety Levels to Increase
Magical thinking can get you into a lot of trouble. This means things like buying into superstitions and old wives’ tales and engaging in rituals and traditions. If you’re consumed by things like knocking on wood to prevent misfortune and other such practices, you’re driving yourself mad.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is another type of anxiety that can cause these behaviors to overdrive.
19. Unhealthy Work/life Balance
Americans are obsessed with working. Did you know that you’re not allowed to discuss business or work on the weekends in some countries? According to Global Citizen, France is one country that’s made it illegal to discuss or conduct business outside of regulated hours.
They’re trying to improve the mental health of their people, so this should speak volumes to you about how imperative it’s to have a good work/life balance.
20. Insufficient Rest
One of the symptoms of a person with high anxiety is insufficient rest. Sleep is not optional. You need to get enough rest to allow your body to go through the therapeutic process.
If you’re up worrying all night about the next day, you’re causing more damage than you could imagine. Make sleep a priority in your life.
21. Thyroid Disorders
Your thyroid helps to regulate your bodily functions. If your anxiety levels are out of whack, it could be your thyroid to blame. A simple blood test can rule out or provide answers.
22. High Anxiety Levels May Come From Hormonal Imbalances
Having a hormonal imbalance can cause you to feel very off. It’s most common for women during their menstruation cycle. The good news is these imbalances can be fixed, and anxiety can diminish.
23. Food Sensitivities
If you have food sensitivities, like intolerance for gluten, it can mess with your anxiety. According to Today, studies have shown that food sensitivities can cause stomach pain, difficulty breathing, and anxiety.
24. Herbal or Over-the-Counter Supplements
Some folks notice a spike in feelings of anxiety when they take herbal supplements or over-the-counter pain remedies. Many of these treatments have high caffeine and other additives that increase anxiousness.
25. Anxiety Levels Can Come From Food Additives
If you develop mood swings and anxiety after eating things with sugar alcohols, MSG, or Red #40, it could be that you have a sensitivity to additives. Monitoring your labels could help to reduce or eliminate this issue.
Final Thoughts on Things That Increase Anxiety Levels
Anxiety is unavoidable in most respects, as a little bit can help keep you safe. Your body has an internal regulator that gives you these anxious feelings to power you to safety. The surge of hormones like cortisol or adrenaline is there to assist you, but in significant quantities, it can be overwhelming on your system.
Thankfully, you can reverse anything on the list above by doing the opposite. If you notice that you’re susceptible to caffeine, eliminating it can change everything. There’s no magic pill when it comes to anxiety, but you can learn some practical tools to control it.