“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
Thoughts –> Words —> Actions —> Habits —> Values —> Destiny
Most of us already have the answers to the questions that we’re searching for, we just need to learn not to repeat certain habits that we know are bad for us.
In this article you will learn 12 habits that are making your anxiety worse, just to confirm what you probably already know but might need a friendly reminder.
12 Habits That Make Anxiety Worse
Our habits shape who we are as a person, and will predict our future behaviors.
The choices that we make lead to an action, which over time results in a habit.
These habits can either be beneficial to your mental health, or they can make your anxiety symptoms worse.
Below are 12 common habits that are likely to make your anxiety worse.
This is a big one!
Do you usually sit and think about all the things that you need to get done, but there’s so much to do that you end up doing nothing at all?
This is the result of procrastination.
You know that procrastinating will only make your anxiety worse and you notice it happening when you start to feel the weight of your responsibilities piling up, and you feel like you’re falling behind on your tasks.
The more you put things off the more overwhelmed you will feel, which leads to built-up stress and anxiety.
Putting things off will only cause you to feel unproductive and lead to more anxiety until you finally complete your important tasks.
*Tip: Try breaking things up into small manageable tasks, and do one small thing every day that makes you feel accomplished.
2. Watching/Reading Negative News
Some people will experience intense anxiety from witnessing certain things on tv, or even just from simply reading or hearing a single word.
Everyone experiences different triggers, so you’ll want to figure out what triggers your anxiety specifically.
For some, violence, abuse, and assault will immediately trigger their anxiety, which we see a lot of on tv nowadays.
If you know something on tv will make you feel uneasy, avoid it if you can.
*Tip: Before you start to watch a movie or tv show, read the description and “warnings” to find out what you can expect.
3. Lack Of Sleep
When you’re sleep deprived, you will be less likely to handle stressful situations the same way that you would if you had gotten adequate sleep.
It’s best to get yourself on a sleep schedule that way you can wake up and go to bed around the same time every day.
Inadequate sleep decreases mental alertness and performance, and over time your body will get used to being sleep deprived and result in impaired judgment.
*Tip: Try to unwind at least 1 hour before hopping into bed.
You can try some calming techniques to help you relax, that way you’re ready to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow.
Journaling is another great way to not only unwind but to also release the thoughts the are keeping you awake at night.
If you’re looking for a journal designed to help you get organized, you can take a look at my Workbook Bundle below.
The Bundle includes over 120 pages (2 workbooks) that you can use to keep your everyday responsibilities organized and in one place.
Journaling is also a therapeutic way to unwind and gain helpful tips on how to reduce stress and anxiety.
Anticipation is the act of eagerly waiting for something you know is going to happen.
With anticipation comes apprehension. When you’re unsure about a certain outcome you start to feel anxious about it.
Although it’s good to prepare for things and get excited over something that you’re expecting to happen, overly preparing for something will only cause you to overthink the situation.
*Tip: Whenever you feel eager to get something done or you’re waiting for something to happen, remind yourself that thinking about it isn’t going to make it happen any faster.
Try your best not to be in control of every situation and just allow things to happen the way that they were intended to.
5. Negative Thinking
Negative thinking is a natural habit that most of us aren’t even aware of.
We’re so used to just “thinking,” that we aren’t being mindful of the thoughts that we’re allowing to flood our minds.
Being aware of your negative thinking patterns will encourage you to change them into something positive, and allow you to change the way that you perceive things.
*Tip: Be more mindful of the thoughts that go through your mind — acknowledge them, accept them, then work on changing what you don’t like about them.
6. Repeating Negative Patterns
Even when we know something is bad for us we continue to repeat bad behaviors, simply because they’ve become a habit that we’ve picked up over the years.
We know that drinking water is a healthier option for us, yet we choose to drink coffee or soda most of the time.
We also know that it’s important to exercise every day, yet we make a conscious decision not to do it.
Rather than changing our bad habits, we tend to beat ourselves up over everything that we did throughout the day that we know is bad for us.
The problem is, it ends up turning into an ongoing cycle that we constantly battle with every night.
Even when there’s something that we regret doing practically every night, we continue to repeat those habits over and over again.
*Tip: Decide that you’re ready to change your habits. When you DECIDE and commitment to doing something and you make a change, that’s when things will start to turn around for you.
Make a list of things you want to start working on that you know will make you feel better about your choices at the end of the day.
7. Going against your values
We all have certain values that we try to live by, but when we compromise those values we are left with regrets and/or guilt.
For example, If you don’t appreciate it when someone lies to you but you’re always lying to people, you have compromised your values.
Doing things that make you feel bad about yourself will cause you to overthink the situation and create more anxiety for yourself
*Tip: It’s a good idea to write down a list of what your core values are and what boundaries you want to set for yourself and for other people, to ensure that you or anyone else doesn’t cause you to violate your values.
Some people find that certain drugs and alcohol help suppress their feelings of sadness, but the problem is that the short “high” that you’ll get from using drugs, doesn’t last long.
Once the drugs wear off you’re only left with more anxiety, sometimes even worse than it was, to begin with.
Drugs and alcohol can be a temporary fix just to feel good for a few hours, but long-term this can become a dangerous habit that will severely worsen your anxiety symptoms.
*Tip: If you’re finding yourself turning to drugs and alcohol often, be aware of it before it becomes a habit.
Journal your thoughts and try getting to the bottom of your anxiety so that you can start working on a solution.
Always talk to a professional about your addictions before it gets out of your hands. A professional can get you into the right treatment program for your situation, and make the transition a little less painful.
Learn the different available treatment options, that you can consider before it gets out of hand and becomes a habit.
Making assumptions often stems from a person’s insecurities.
When we assume something, it causes the wheels in our head to start spinning.
All of a sudden, we’re assuming that the person standing in line behind us is laughing at something we’re wearing (for example).
These assumptions can quickly turn into anger and cause our anxiety to skyrocket.
*Tip: The best tip I can give you is to stop caring about what other people think.
The less you care about other people’s opinions, the less time you will spend assuming that someone doesn’t like you or is victimizing you.
Be yourself and don’t focus on what other people think about you. Just be yourself and love every piece of you!
Since we live in a fast-paced world it’s hard to imagine slowing down. I get it.
It might seem like slowing down will prevent you from getting things done, but you will find yourself being a lot more productive when you learn to slow down.
Part of the reason why we procrastinate in the first place is that we’re not training ourselves to enjoy what we’re doing.
For example, you would probably enjoy going on walks with your dog a little more if it didn’t feel like a chore or a task that you’re just trying to hurry up and check off your to-do list.
When you slow down, it reduces anticipation, procrastination, and negative thinking.
In doing so, you will feel mentally energized, become more productive, and enjoy what you’re doing a little more.
11. Working yourself to exhaustion
I’ll admit, sometimes it’s hard to find a delicate balance between work and knowing when to stop.
Most nights I find myself working from morning to night, and still never feeling like I’ve done enough.
The first thing on my mind when I wake up is usually work — “what should I start first, what do I need to prioritize,” etc. Then, I continue to work myself until I’m exhausted.
The problem with this is that you never really feel accomplished, rather, you feel like you could’ve done more and you’re mentally exhausted.
*Tip: Mark your calendar with specific projects that you want to work on each day.
This will help you schedule realistic time slots for your tasks, that way you have a specific plan and you don’t do more than what you set out to do.
Some days you will want to stay in bed all day just to avoid having to face another stressful day.
However, staying in bed all day isn’t a good idea for a few reasons:
- You feel unproductive
- You start overthinking
- Bad for joints and muscles
- Increased risk of stress and depression
Granted, you want to take days off to rest, but you also want to make sure that you’re ready to unapologetically do this and not feel guilty about it.
*Tip: If you plan to lounge around all day, make an effort to at least take care of yourself by eating healthy and not beating yourself up over your decision to rest.
Anxiety is rarely caused by the things that we do, but by the things that we’re not doing enough of.
Our bad habits usually come down to avoiding the things that are important to us.
Avoiding your priorities will only make you feel like something is missing, which will keep you up all night as a result.
Whenever you’re feeling anxious, try to get up and move around and work on things little by little until you feel accomplished.
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