Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today comes to us from Eileen in Oklahoma City. Do our lifestyles play a part in our anxiety, what we eat, when we sleep?
Yes. It absolutely plays a role. Anxious individuals may need more maintenance. Missing meals, which will cause your blood sugar to go down, can induce anxiety, irritability, and in susceptible individuals, make it more likely to have a panic attack.
Dehydration can also be a factor, and sleep deprivation can also contribute to anxiety. Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle are major contributors to anxiety. An anxious individual can really benefit from having superb self-care, get enough sleep, eat regular nutritious meals, and get plenty of exercise. Journal writing or having someone that you trust to talk to and unburden yourself, religious faith and spirituality, and just taking time out to relax and sit in a natural environment every day unplugged from electronic devices can make a significant difference in your anxiety levels.
Use of caffeine is a major contributor to anxiety, which seems to be really underestimated. Caffeine is a psychoactive drug. It is a weak drug available in small amounts in coffee and cola. But when people consume iced coffees in the 24-ounce size two or three times a day or double shots of expresso or 16-ounce energy drinks five times a day, that’s a lot of caffeine. The effects of caffeine will be really similar to anxiety and people with anxiety disorders will typically have their symptoms worsened by caffeine.
Also overexposure and saturation to media is another contributing factor in anxiety. News is largely based on fear. It’s how the news networks get you to watch or visit their websites or buy their newspapers and magazines. Through carefully worded language, they plant fear and doubt in our minds because fear is a critical survival response. It’s hardwired into us. Certain fear provoking stimuli will demand our full attention. This is a basic premise of human psychology, which is well utilized by the news media. For more information on this particular topic, see the Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker.
We have talked about the topic a lot over at AnxietyBoss.com. Make sure you take the anxiety test at AnxietyBoss.com to find your level of anxiety and what you can do about it.