9 Weird Things That Are Making You Feel Anxious
If you’re late to an appointment or about to meet your new boss, it’s clear why you’re anxious. But if you feel nervous, worried, and even panicked for no reason, these surprising everyday habits could be to blame.
You drank too much coffee
“We think nothing of that extra cup of coffee, but caffeine makes the body nervous and jittery, and triggers the fight or flight response,” explains Nikki Martinez, PsyD. Overdoing it on the lattés and espressos has been shown to produce symptoms that are indistinguishable from anxiety disorder, according to a study from the British Journal of Psychiatry. (Related: These other signs can reveal whether you’re drinking too much coffee.)
A pounding headache and nausea aren’t the only after-effects of drinking too much. Excess alcohol is one of the main triggers of anxiety, according to research from University of North Carolina School of Medicine, as heavy drinking can rewire the brain and make you more susceptible to anxiety disorders. Alcohol is also known to disrupt your sleep, and sleep deprivation can boost your anxiety levels, according to research from UC Berkeley. Check out these simple tips for cutting back on the booze.
You’ve taken medicine
If you’re sick and wondering to yourself, “Why do I feel anxious?” look no further than that over-the-counter medication on your nightstand. “It’s important to read ingredients,” says neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez, PsyD. “Things like acetaminophen, doxylamine succinate, which is a sedating antihistamine, and dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant, all can trigger anxiety and a general on-edge feeling.” Are you possibly over-medicated? When it comes to drugs, sometimes less is more.
Your blood sugar is low
We’ve all heard that you can get “hangry” from not eating (that’s an unfortuante blend of hungry and angry), but you can also feel anxious as well. (Related: These are the best foods to eat when you’re hangry.) “People who are under stress and have anxiety often feel that their appetite shuts down,” says Dr. Hafeez. “However, skipping meals leads to a drop in blood sugar, which only keeps the anxious feelings going. It creates a vicious cycle.” Even if you’re not up for a full meal, keep your blood sugar steady with healthy snacks.
Your diet is unbalanced
Falling down on the job of getting all your nutrients, especially B vitamins, can wreak havoc on your mood and make you feel anxiety for seemingly no reason. “Studies have shown that diets lacking in beef, pork, chicken, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, and eggs can lead to depression,” says Hafeez. “People who suddenly drop these foods out of their diets can feel anxious and irritable.” These are the signs of a possible vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you’re not drinking enough water, you’re going to have more than just a parched mouth. Even mild dehydration can trigger disturbances in mood, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition. It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking water at meals and throughout the day to prevent feeling off-balanced. As a bonus, drinking more water may help you shed pounds.
You’re surrounded by clutter
A messy home can seem like no big deal, but it might actually be a sneaky source of your anxiety. Mess causes stress, according to an article in Psychology Today, as it can leave you drained, unable to focus, and unable to relax, all of which can add up to anxiety. Our environment is important for our mental state, so keep your place organized and tidy to avoid any unnecessary tension. (Related: Here are signs your house is stressing you out.)
You’re always plugged in
Facebook and Instagram can be fun, but spending too much time on online social networks can become a source of your anxiety. A study from the non-profit Anxiety UK found that a majority of social-media users negatively compare themselves to others, get stressed when social media isn’t available, and even have difficulties sleeping after browsing social media.
It’s Sunday night
Of all the anxiety causes, it wouldn’t quite seem like the day of the week would matter, but that dreaded end of the weekend can impact our well-being. (Related: Here’s why you can’t fall asleep on Sunday nights.) “It’s common for people to feel anxious or get the ‘Sunday Blues’ as the weekend winds down in anticipation of the work week ahead,” Dr. Hafeez says. “When your mind begins to focus on reports, kids’ activities, and the long list of to-do’s, it’s easy to slip into an anxious state of mind.” To ease back-to-work anxiety, check out the things highly organized people do on the weekend.