Anxiety is a natural response that our bodies sometimes experience, in stressful situations.
However, you could be creating more unnecessary anxiety for yourself that you might not even be aware of.
In this article, we will cover 12 things you should avoid if you have anxiety.
12 Things You Should Avoid If You Have Anxiety
Do you experience anxiety often and most of the time you can’t even figure out what’s causing it?
Do you sometimes feel calm and content, yet you can’t seem to do anything to get the overwhelming anxiety symptoms to subside?
Yep, that sounds like the pesky little anxiety that never lets us forget that it exists.
But for good reason.
Anxiety is there to warn us that something isn’t quite right.
Even if nothing is bothering you at that very moment, you can sometimes experience anxiety symptoms if the underlying cause of your anxiety hasn’t been dealt with.
Therefore, anxiety will continue to haunt you even when you aren’t necessarily worrying about anything at that exact moment.
Until you resolve the underlying cause(s) of your anxiety, you will continue to experience anxiety out of nowhere.
Also, you might be doing certain things to contribute to your anxiety without even realizing it.
We’ll be covering some of those common mistakes, coming up soon.
But first, I want you to understand that anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Of course, excessive anxiety isn’t healthy but anxiety is necessary for our survival.
Everybody experiences anxiety differently — some will experience mild anxiety while others are dealing with more severe cases of anxiety.
If you feel normal to mild anxiety then you probably don’t have anything to worry about. You might just need to learn some calming techniques to help you when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
On the other hand, if you experience severe anxiety on a day-to-day basis then it might be time to consider some lifestyle changes and possibly therapy, to get it under control.
Anxiety Is Normal
Anxiety is our warning signal, to alert us when something isn’t right.
Everybody experiences some level of anxiety because it’s part of our survival.
As long as we just learn how to manage it, it won’t interfere with our day-to-day lives.
Part of managing anxiety is to be more mindful of the things that you’re doing that could be contributing to your anxiety, that way you can make the necessary changes.
Although anxiety is meant for our protection — either to help give us that extra push that we need to meet a deadline, or to protect us from a bumblebee that is after us for the sting. There are many things that you can do to keep your anxiety under control and prevent them from disrupting your life.
So, what does this mean?
It means that there are certain things that you should avoid if you want to keep your anxiety at a healthy level.
If you want to change something you have to be aware of what needs to be changed.
If you want to improve your anxiety, the first thing you need to do is to pay attention to your triggers and learn how to manage or avoid them.
Pay Attention To Your Triggers
Anxiety triggers are everywhere!
Although it’s not always easy to avoid your anxiety triggers, it’s not impossible to manage them either.
For the most part, you can manage your triggers by using relaxation techniques that can help you cope with your anxiety better.
The best thing to do when you’re feeling anxious is to become aware of your triggers.
Paying close attention to what triggers your anxiety, gives you the opportunity to prevent or reduce the intensity of those triggers.
It might also be a good idea to start documenting your triggers and your habits, that way you can identify certain patterns that could be creating more anxiety for you.
Here are a few quick tips to consider, when trying to identify where your anxiety is coming from.
- Pay attention to what you did that morning.
- Pay attention to what you ate and how much physical activity you got that day (or the day before).
- Lastly, pay attention to what your triggers are, that way you’re able to come up with ways to manage them.
There are 12 things that I discovered, that are some of the biggest triggers that should be avoided if you suffer from anxiety.
12 Things To Avoid If You Have Anxiety
1. Skipping Meals
Skipping meals is a sure way to tell anxiety that you’re ready for another round of its pesky thrills.
When you skip meals, your body goes into starvation mode, triggering the stress response.
If your body thinks you’re starving, it will automatically trigger the fight-or-flight response (stress response) which is the same response you get when you actually feel threatened, or when you’re in real danger.
The stress response activates anxiety because it’s our body’s way of helping us decide whether to fight (to protect ourselves) or flee (to avoid harm).
So when you skip meals it puts stress on your body because it thinks you’re actually going to starve.
This signals your nervous system, then your brain, to warn and protect you from what it assumes is a possible threat.
2. Drugs and Alcohol
This might already be obvious to you, but drugs and alcohol will drastically ignite your anxiety.
This includes prescription medications too.
You might not feel the side effects immediately, but as soon as your body starts coming down from the substances, your body will produce the stress response.
In the case of drugs or alcohol, it can be very difficult to suppress your anxiety symptoms no matter how hard you try.
At this point, you just have to ride out the uncomfortable symptoms and let your body rid the toxins on its own.
Remember to drink plenty of fluids during this time, to help your body restore the fluids that the drugs and alcohol depleted from your body.
*You may need to seek professional help in severe cases, to help get you through the detoxification process and safe withdrawal from the substance(s).
3. Skipping Breaks
I know we all like to think so, but our bodies are not machines!
Which is why we need to take breaks and we need to take them more frequently.
Not only does it give your body a break, but more importantly, your brain.
If you skip breaks throughout the day, you won’t be as productive as you could’ve been if you had just taken your scheduled breaks.
Go outside to get some sunlight, grab a bite to eat, or go on a short walk…anything to break up your workflow for a few minutes will do the trick.
4. Unhealthy Relationships
If you’re in an unhealthy relationship, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of anxiety.
Any of these 3 types of unhealthy relationships, should be avoided:
- Physical abuse
- Mental abuse
- Emotional abuse
If you’re being physically or mentally abused, it’s important that you seek help and get out as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
When you surround yourself with people who lack respect for you or who don’t take your mental health seriously, it only makes your anxiety symptoms worse over time.
15 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health
5. Watching the News
Although watching the news might not be an anxiety trigger for everyone, it certainly is a common trigger for a lot of people.
When you expose yourself to the negativity, it can bring up negative thoughts and emotions, which can quickly trigger your anxiety.
But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the news — even certain movies can cause anxiety.
Movies that display violence, abuse, or anything of that nature, can cause you to feel extremely anxious.
Sometimes this type of negative exposure can even haunt you for days after because it’s really hard to get what you saw out of your mind.
So, do yourself a favor and try to limit the amount of disturbing news or violence that you expose yourself to…at least until things calm down a bit in your life and you feel like you’re able to handle it.
6. Not Paying Bills On Time
Financial stress is a common trigger for most people suffering from anxiety.
Allowing your bills to pile up, puts added stress on your life, and for those around you.
Paying bills isn’t fun, but it’s even less fun when you have bills hanging over your shoulders.
Find a system that works best for you, to ensure that you’re paying your bills on-time, or at least close to their due dates.
7. Too Much Social Media
When you’re feeling sad, the last thing you want to do is turn to social media and see everyone’s happy memories.
Keep in mind, that the internet and social media are all small glimpses of people’s good moments.
Although it might seem like your friends have it all together, just remember that people usually only share their good times on social media platforms.
Sometimes social media can help relieve your anxiety, while other times it can make you feel worse — use your own judgment to determine if and when it’s affecting you in a negative way.
At the very least, try to reduce the amount of time that you spend on social media.
You don’t want to increase your adrenaline or stimulate your mind by drinking caffeine.
In the beginning, when my anxiety was really bad, I had to completely cut caffeine out of my diet.
I stopped drinking coffee altogether because it would cause my anxiety to skyrocket — I would feel really shaky, dizzy, extremely irritable, and unable to concentrate.
If you’re having a hard time giving up caffeine, try switching to half-caf (if you drink coffee), or try drinking tea with low caffeine (if you like tea).
Listen to your body and let it guide you.
Say you want to exercise, take a shower, or maybe get some studying done but all of these chores are making you feel overwhelmed, so you procrastinate and end up doing nothing at all.
Putting your tasks off won’t make them go away.
Instead, you’re only going to experience more anxiety because you’re still thinking about them.
It can be challenging to put your mind to doing something when you’re not in the mood, but it beats the alternative of laying there doing nothing and feeling guilty with every minute that passes by.
Rather than avoiding everything, take it one thing at a time.
If you’re overwhelmed by everything on your to-do list, breaking it down into smaller, more manageable tasks.
Once you finally work yourself up to tackle one small thing, you’re more likely to build momentum and get everything else done sooner than you know it.
If you want to get on track and start building some healthy routines, you can download a copy of my FREE Habit Tracker below.
Writing things down makes you 10x’s more likely to do it.
Give it a try!
10. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is extremely important overall, but even more so if you suffer from anxiety.
Sleep deprivation is also linked to mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression.
A lack of sleep can awaken anxiety for the entire day, making it very difficult to fall asleep at night.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Try some relaxation techniques before bedtime, that way you’re not all wired up when it’s time for bed.
Taking time to practice self-care or resting up after a long week, is crucial for managing anxiety.
When you overcommit to things, you’re less likely to make self-care a priority.
Setting boundaries and learning how to say no when you’ve already got your plate full is a good habit to get into.
Rather than committing to too many things, spend that extra time to rest and regroup. Whether that’s meditating, resting, or spending time to laugh with friends.
12. Lack of Exercise
I’m sure if I asked you to raise your hand if you enjoyed exercising, you would hide under your desk or admit that you simply don’t enjoy it.
However, the exercise that I have in mind isn’t the same exercise you might be thinking about.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean getting up at 5 am every morning to go to the gym.
Instead, it just means doing things consistently throughout the day to keep your body moving.
That could mean using the stairs, vacuuming around your house, taking your dog on a walk, or doing yoga.
These small things add up over time, and they’re much more attainable — not to mention, these exercises are a lot more fun and therapeutic, than going to the gym every day to sweat your pores out.
The number one way to really reduce your anxiety and avoid your triggers altogether is to get to the bottom of your anxiety.
identifying the root cause of your anxiety will help you figure out what you need to focus on, in order to minimize the amount of anxiety that you experience.
We all have our triggers, phobias, etc. that we just want to avoid altogether in order to make our lives a little easier.
Try to avoid the things that you know for a fact that will trigger your anxiety symptoms until they become more manageable.
Take it one day at a time, and start working on overcoming each trigger, one at a time.
Mental health is a journey — One that we must work on consistently, so don’t give up.
It doesn’t happen overnight, and it shouldn’t be forced or put a time limit on.
Take it one day at a time and you will find that your anxiety will get better.
What are some of your anxiety triggers, and how do you deal with them?
I would love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comment section below.
Thank you so much for reading!