REALITY CHECK: 4 Things That Are Actually Making Your Anxiety Worse
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REALITY CHECK: 4 Things That Are Actually Making Your Anxiety Worse

You Should Probably Avoid These If You Have Anxiety

REALITY CHECK: 4 Things That Are Actually Making Your Anxiety Worse

In honor of #MentalHealthAwarenessDay, I wanted to write about something that consumes my life on an everyday basis. Anxiety. Over the years, I've tried every method you can possibly think of in order to "get rid of" my anxiety. After tons of failed attempts, I had pretty much given up. However, as someone who is very in tune with their own body, I was able to notice a pattern between my lifestyle and how my anxiety was worse only on certain days. With a little bit of trial and error, I finally figured out what was triggering it. With that being said, here are four things you should probably avoid if you have anxiety.

1. Alcohol


I've had my fair share of fun nights filled with friends and drinking. However, the day after was always the worst. No, it wasn't because I had a hangover. Half of the time, I would only have one or two drinks the night before, yet I would STILL feel crappy the next day. I would wake up feeling shaky, nervous and just overall panicky/anxious. After noticing a huge trend between my anxiety symptoms and alcohol, I was determined to figure out what the heck was going on with my body. Come to find out, alcohol plays a huge role in anxiety. It affects your overall mood by lowering your serotonin levels (the happy hormone) in your brain. Not only that, but it also lowers your blood sugar, which can cause nervousness, shaking, and dizziness. For some people, this isn't even an issue (you are so lucky btw), but if you find yourself feeling especially anxious/panicky a day or so after drinking, alcohol may be the culprit.

2. Caffeine


To be honest, I've never really been a huge coffee person. The few times that I have actually had a beverage with caffeine in it, I would feel shaky, jittery, and my heart would pound uncontrollably. Shockingly, 83% of adults drink coffee in the U.S. and that's JUST accounting for coffee. That doesn't include all of the other caffeinated beverages like soda, energy drinks, etc. With that being said, caffeine is a nervous system stimulant, and it affects your body by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure and even the levels of stress hormones. (cortisol and epinephrine). For some people, they may love the "high" feeling that they get from coffee, but for others (like me), it may send you into a horrible crash and make you feel miserable. Studies have proven that regular caffeine consumption actually depletes your serotonin levels over time. So although you may feel like a superhuman while drinking it, the long-term effects may not be so beneficial.

3. Skipping Meals


This is something that most people do too often. The busy-ness of your day may consume you and by the time you check the clock, you realize that you haven't really eaten much. We're all guilty of it sometimes, but as you already know, low blood sugar levels play a huge role in anxiety and its symptoms.

Many studies show that when you go too long without food, your blood sugar drops, and the symptoms from it can mimic, or even trigger a panic attack. I honestly hate going too long without eating because I start to feel shaky, sweaty, and anxiety prone. So, something I like to do is carry around snacks with me 24/7. If you're one of my close friends, you know that I'm ALWAYS snacking between meals. My favorite go-to snacks are peanuts, protein bars, or fruits of some sort. Whatever it is that you choose to snack on, make sure it's a low glycemic food so that way it doesn't spike your blood sugar (are you noticing a trend yet with how blood sugar plays a role in anxiety symptoms?). If you're unfamiliar with what I mean by low glycemic foods, a simple google search will help. 9 times out of 10, my anxiety symptoms subside shortly after I eat a snack.

4. Sleepless Nights


Avoid sleepless nights like the plague. It's pretty much common sense, but sleep is so important for your overall well being. I cannot tell you how many times I have had horrible anxiety after a night of little, to no sleep.

Now, no one is perfect and sometimes when you have anxiety, it's hard to sleep as it is. What I like to do is take a warm shower or bath before bed, spray some lavender pillow mist (My favorite is the one from bath & body works), and if I'm really struggling to fall asleep, I'll listen to calming music. My favorite person to listen to on YouTube is Jason Stephenson. He has the BEST sleep playlists.

...And Finally


If you made it this far, I'm sure you may be thinking "Well who would want to live such a restricted life?! No drinking, no late nights with friends, and NO CAFFEINE?!" I am not saying to live in a safe little bubble and have absolutely no fun. Some of the best times in my life were the ones spent staying up until four in the morning, going out and having a good time and simply not worrying about everything. To me, life is all about moderation and balance. The best thing for anxiety or mental health is to care for your body and be around those who make you happy. With that said, I am by no means a psychologist, nutritionist, or a doctor. The best way to figure things out is to do your own research and listen to your body. Find what works for you! Everyone is different and what may work for one person, may not work for another. For me personally, these are just a few things that have helped decrease my overall anxiety. If you feel like you are truly struggling, please reach out and get help. There are so many people who can help you, whether it's a friend, a family member, a school counselor, or a professional expert.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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