Doing things right when overcoming anxiety is sometimes not enough. Sometimes, despite your best efforts to fight anxiety, you may be strengthening your anxiety disorder without even knowing it. There are certain habits and lifestyle choices that set you back on the path to recovery and are feeding your anxiety. Some of them even have the potential to enhance your symptoms and make you feel worse, more stressed and scared instead of better.
If you have the feeling that you’re doing everything right, and still fear that there is no progress, self-examine yourself to see if you have any of these habits that may be fueling your anxiety.If you recognize any of them, this is the right time to cut them off, and make coping with anxiety easier and faster.
Here is a list of the six most common bad habits that are feeding your anxiety, and few tips on how to overcome them.
Habit 1: Poor Sleep
Never let your anxiety ruin your sleep. Worrying too much, which is usually due to anxiety can keep you awake at night. Having little or no sleep at all is exhausting for your brain. So no matter how hard you try not to be on edge and be calm during the day, both your brain and body are both exhausted due to no sleep, and in such case no coping mechanism would work. By keeping yourself awake, you are more prone to be affected by stressful situations during the day.
If you have difficulties falling asleep at night introducing a relaxing routine before bed, such as taking a long soothing bath can help. This will prepare your body and mind for the upcoming rest. The room you are sleeping in can be the reason you are awake at night. Choose a room that can be darkened with curtains, and which is further from noise from the street and neighborhood. You need a distraction free, calming environment where you will get most of your rest.
Habit 2: Poor Diet
The state of hunger is a sole stress for the body. By poor diet, or not eating at all, you are signaling your body that difficult times are coming, and the normal reaction to that is storage of leftovers or occasionally available nutrients in the form of fat mostly. You brain needs healthy sugars to function normally, and by starving your body and mind you are feeding anxiety, as they are more stressed due to the lack of food. Eating the right food is very important, since it can help you with the symptoms of anxiety.
Some of the foods you should avoid include processed foods and sugars, caffeine-containing beverages, sugar-enriched drinks, alcoholic beverages and more. A more thorough list on which food to eat and foods to avoid can be found as part of the following article: A Recipe for Happiness – Eating the Right Foods for Your Anxiety.
Habit 3: Lack of exercise
Sweating is the best-known way to let off the steam you have gathered throughout the day. The benefits of exercise are countless, and if you are coping with anxiety, this is one of the most effective ways to get rid of the stress and tension you have accumulated. Even if you feel like to doing nothing, remind yourself that this is what your anxiety wants you to feel like.
Try running, fast walking, yoga or pilates, or head to the gym, whichever you prefer. After exercising you will feel instantly better, and once exercising becomes part of your routine you will not be able to imagine your day without it. Eventually, you will feel more energized, sleep and eat better, feel better and plus look good.
Habit 4: Rumination
Spending your days contemplating the things you’ve said and done is one bad habit you should avoid. There is no way of taking things back, or amending them if we think over and over about them. And while you are not able to do things differently, at the same time you are burdening yourself unnecessarily with something that is not under your control and cannot be changed. Instead, you should learn how to let things go, and accept the fact that there is nothing you can do about them. Even if you think that you have made a mistake, and you should have done things differently, keep it as a piece of advice for future times.
Next time you find yourself dwelling around something you’ve said or done, try to find a reason that behavior is helpful to you. If you can’t justify your worries, or you conclude that there is nothing to be done, interrupt yourself in these thoughts and break the cycle of rumination. As a result, you will feel more relaxed and anxiety free. Just as reminder, anxiety is all about the irrational, and rethinking about something that can’t be changed is feeding your anxiety.
Habit 5: Drug abuse
Sometimes, anxiety makes us feel as if we need an escape from our lives. This is when many turn to abuse of substances such as nicotine, alcohol, and drugs. While some of them may provide a short-term relief, the use of drugs and similar substances only worsens anxiety. Drugs act as stimulants of your mind, and they do have the potential to make anxiety symptoms worse, and in some cases they can cause anxiety when taken in excess or when you suffer from withdrawal.
Habit 6: Being the Victim
You are not the victim of anxiety, but rather on a good path to overcoming it. You must remember this, and never allow anxiety to take its toll on your life. Such thinking is the only way to deal with anxiety and take back the control over your life.
Letting yourself succumb to the feelings of insecurity and fear due to anxiety is same as letting anxiety beat you. Sometimes you might feel as if you’re losing the control over your feelings, and that is okay, especially since it happens even to people who are not suffering from anxiety. Regardless you must identify such situations and act accordingly. Remind yourself that it’s the anxiety “speaking” and that you are strong enough to fight it.
Instead of spending days worrying, spend them with friends, doing the things you love. Spend time with your family and colleagues, enjoy sports and group activities, and dedicate self-time, and feel comfortable in your skin.
Once you have identified the habit that’s feeding your anxiety, you can get back on your path to recovery, the next step is removing them from your daily routine. If you fear that you can’t make the change on your own, you can always reach out to family or friends to help you and support you in your battle with bad habits. At the end you will not only feel the benefits related to anxiety relief, but you will live a healthier life for which your body and mind will be grateful.