How to Stop Being Anxious and Start Living
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 31% of American adults suffer from an anxiety disorder at some time during their lives. In truth, this number might even be much higher, seeing that not all victims get diagnosed or seek professional help.
Because of the turbulent lifestyles and rat-race culture that people are immersed in nowadays, many are more stressed out now than ever before. Sooner or later they struggle to cope, allowing anxiety to creep in and wreak havoc both mentally and emotionally.
While meditation, mindfulness and a light-hearted outlook on life are highly effective at battling anxiety, your general habits and the food you eat could be negatively affecting you without you even realizing it. You need to address these too if you wish to stop being anxious all the time.
In this article, we’ll look at 4 external triggers that cause anxiety.
1. Lack of Sleep
The Dalai Lama once said, “Sleep is the best meditation”. Trying to get by on four or five hours of sleep daily is going to take its toll. You’ll not get enough rest and over time, you’ll experience sleep deprivation. It’ll be more difficult for you to concentrate and you’ll become more irritable.
Such sleep deprivation can lead to increased anxiety because you’ll constantly feel as if you’re in an agitated state with frayed nerves. The average adult needs around 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep every night. Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep.
The common trend of grinding and ‘hustling’ to make progress by burning the candle at both ends is often touted by self-help gurus as the only way to achieve success. However, attempting to become successful by neglecting your sleep will wear you out and may cause you to have anxiety disorders.
Smoking is one of the worst habits to have, whether you suffer from anxiety or not. If you’re a smoker, you should stop it at all costs. People often smoke because they find it relaxing and it gives them time to think. The reality is, as soon as they are deprived of cigarettes for longer than they’re used to, they become anxious and experience withdrawal symptoms. Smoking merely creates an illusion of calmness.
Begin working on a plan to stop smoking – and stick to it until you are rid of that habit for good. It might surprise you when it turns out to be easier than you think! Smoking often leads to anxiety and a host of other debilitating health problems. Nothing good can come out of it.
3. Too Much Caffeine
Although caffeine can seem to be relatively harmless, it can trigger anxiety and panic in people who are prone to such disorders. Most people look forward to their morning mugful and can’t imagine starting their day without it. Yet, even small doses of caffeine can cause anxiety-prone people to experience symptoms such as physical tension, sweating and nervousness.
Caffeine finds its way into many processed foods, from soft drinks to chocolates. And did I
mention “energy” drinks? Try to gradually wean yourself off caffeine. You might want to start keeping a journal to keep track of your consumption; what gets measured, gets managed.
4. Poor Diet and Excessive Sugar
Consuming too much sugar can cause many health problems, from diabetes to the current obesity epidemic that is sweeping the United States and the rest of the world. Artificial sweeteners are no better and are, in fact, more toxic and detrimental than sugar.
Sugar also results from eating carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, white rice etc.
The body transforms the carbs into glucose and this will spike your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes cases have skyrocketed around the world because of our heavy consumption of
carbs and the high-fructose corn syrup found in so many processed foods.
So, how does sugar and your diet affect your anxiety?
For starters, people who suffer from anxiety issues will experience a spike in their blood sugar levels after they eat foods containing sugar. They may feel nauseous and start perspiring. They may also experience flushing, shakiness and increased anxiety. You need to overcome your sugar addiction!
As for your diet, you are what you eat. Your brain requires chemicals to function optimally;
those chemicals are produced from the nutrients in the food you eat. So, it goes without
saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Give your body the proteins, healthy fats and good carbs that it requires so that you can maintain a healthy brain.
Turning Bad Habits Into Good Ones
Keep your eye on these 4 triggers. If you’re affected by any of them, you now know what to do. Breaking old habits is not always easy but there are tools you can use to make it not only easy but enjoyable, too. Does that not sound good?
Do it gradually and consistently. You’ll soon find that you’re less prone to anxiety.
“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a
time.” – Mark Twain