Who would have thought that the kind of music you listened to would contribute to elevated levels of anxiety? According to livemint.com, your human psyche is affected by the music genre you listen to more than you think. "To study the brain's unconscious emotion regulation processes, the researchers recorded the participants' neural activity as they listened to clips of happy, sad and fearful-sounding music using functional magnetic resonance imaging". They found out listening to sad or angry music actually does more harm than good in the long run for your anxiety levels. Next time you want to play that sad bop or blood raising rap song, think twice!
To sooth an anxious mind, listen to soft pop, classical or ambient music. There was even a "Most Relaxing Songs" playlist put together and backed by researchers that is shown to reduce stress.
In a world where the coffee obsession has taken over, it is hard to believe that something so tasty and satisfying could also be harming you. The caffeine in coffee is known to trigger the stress hormone cortisol causing your adrenal glands to go into overload. This throws off your hormones and leads to an array of problems like increased appetite, higher anxiety and cravings for sugar. Those morning coffee jitters could be making your anxiety worse especially if you are having more than six cups according to healthline.com.
A lot of people struggle to give up their caffeine addiction. But, if you are looking for healthy alternatives that ditch the stress hormone cortisol from rising, try having a cup of green, white, or black tea which has significantly lower levels of caffeine than the average cup of morning joe. People report they sleep better, feel less jittery, and experience lower levels of anxiety.
3. Social Media
Bet you did not see this one coming! According to psychologytoday.com, " higher amounts of screen time are associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression – adding to the already copious literature on the subject." For people that are already anxious and look to social media as a way to cope with the anxiety they already have, it tends to just make things worse by the dreary theme of social comparison.
This will be hard but I offer you a challenge, try deleting all of your social media apps for thirty days. This will be a digital detox and allow you to focus on other aspects of your life. Now if you cannot commit to deleting all of your apps, try deleting just one and going from there for thirty days. Do not let FOMO get to you, "the fear of missing out." In the long run, you will be more focused on your life and less on others. If you still cannot give up social media, try turning off the notifications that pop up on the screen. As one girl puts it who quit social media, "The past year was all about getting back in the driver's seat of my own life and valuing whom and what were right in front of me, instead of drowning them out with comparisons and distractions."
We all know that eating too much sugar wreck's havoc on your health, but did you know that it specifically targets your anxiety and mood? According to healthline.com, they found that regular consumption of saturated fats and added sugars were related to higher feelings of anxiety in adults over age 60. Large amounts of sugar send your blood sugar on a roller coaster. One second you are happy from that pint of Ben and Jerry's and next you are not.
When you get the craving for something sweet and don't want to send your blood sugar skyrocketing, try munching on some fruit or a piece of dark chocolate. One treat I love is frozen bananas cut up with peanut butter and a little fudge drizzled on top. So yummy!
Who would have thought that exercising too much would be a bad thing and lead to higher anxiety levels? Not me! Being an avid exerciser, this is one is one I never thought about. Exercise was supposed to make you feel better with those endorphins and lead to better health, but it is possible to do too much of a good thing. "With overtraining syndrome, your performance decreases, exercise doesn't feel fun anymore and there's a potential for developing associated psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression" according to rightasrain.com. When it comes to the type of exercise that increases cortisol levels more than others, high intensity aerobic exercise is guilty.
For all you cardio junkies out there like me, it is hard to give it up. But if you find yourself tired all the time from it, it is time to switch things up. Instead of doing your 20 minute run, try walking for an hour. This steady state cardio is better on your joints and will not cause your cortisol levels to spike like intense cardio does. On top of switching up the cardio, make sure you are stretching and allowing yourself rest days when muscles feel overworked. You know your body better than anybody else, so make sure you treat it nicely!