Stress and anxiety are two commonly occurring conditions, especially in people who are employed. These may be caused by different factors such as work demands, problems in personal relationships, interferences that are encountered daily, health issues, and financial concerns among others. This means that stressors can be everywhere and may be difficult to elude. However, another thing that people should be equally concerned about, but neglect, are the habits that contribute to stress and anxiety. Most people are unaware that what they do on a daily basis and regard as normal may actually amplify the effects of stress and anxiety. Let’s take a look at some of these habits.
#1 Drinking too much coffee
Who goes about mornings without coffee? Most people start the day with a cup of cappuccino, drink another cup during the morning break, and perhaps another one in the afternoon. Coffee has easily become part of people’s daily survival because of its benefits. If you’re looking for something to jumpstart your day or give you a kick to keep going, coffee is what you need. However, coffee, as a stimulant, not only keeps one awake and alert. It also has a tendency to magnify the symptoms of stress and anxiety. This may cause restlessness, heightened tension, or rapid breathing. Therefore, avoidance of or moderating coffee intake is suggested, especially during times of stress.
#2 Smoking and drinking alcohol
Smoking and alcohol are often looked at as villains in the health industry. These two have so much negative effects on one’s health that people are discouraged from making these a part of their daily lives. However, some people smoke or drink as a form of stress relief. What they don’t realize is these two have substances that may increase stress and anxiety levels. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nicotine in cigarettes causes stress. Furthermore, craving for a stick is obviously stressful in itself.
# 3 Having unhealthy eating habits
Eating unhealthy food or skipping meals is a big no-no for people dealing with stress and anxiety. It is also essential to choose the food that you eat. People who are inclined to stress eating must understand that consuming foods high in sugar content could lead to adverse mood swings because of the increased level of blood sugar. It is suggested to consume more carbohydrates when stressed out as carbohydrates are believed to aid the release of serotonin, which helps improve or regulate the mood.
#4 Having poor sleeping habits
For obvious reasons, not getting enough sleep causes stress and anxiety. The mind is already tired from overthinking and ruminating. Sleep is the best and safest refuge for our brain to undergo proper repair and maintenance. Difficulty sleeping is a symptom of anxiety and lacking sleep may up the symptoms and lead to a worse anxiety attack. Therefore, one of the best defenses against stress is getting enough sleep or rest.
#5 Living a sedentary lifestyle
If you spend too much time sitting or lying on the couch, then it’s high time you make a resolve to get up and give your arms and limbs a stretch from time to time. Lack of physical exercise increases stress and anxiety because the body doesn’t get the workout that it needs to become more fit. Think of it this way: a sedentary lifestyle strips off the mind and body of their ability to withstand stress.
Believing that productivity is equivalent to working late or bringing work at home are a thing of the past. If you want to prove your qualifications and are aiming for that employee of the year award, you should be able to balance your work and personal lives. Employees who work overtime often have higher chances of experiencing burnout. The fact that you’re overworked sounds stressful enough, doesn’t it?
#7 Overthinking negatively
Overthinking is a symptom of anxiety, and may also contribute to stress and anxiety. Thinking negative thoughts is another factor. Put these two together and you’re in dangerous territory. Thinking too much doesn’t help at all, more so if the thoughts racing in your head aren’t very optimistic. This only takes a toll on your mind and causes you to become more stressed or anxious and could even lead to more serious cases such as generalized anxiety disorder or panic attacks.
#8 Spending too much time online,
Spending too much time on social media, or having too much gadget time have always been thought to intensify stress and anxiety. Exposure to bad news and too much social pressure cultivate insecurity and unhealthy comparison, which may lead to stress, anxiety, or depression. Limit your screen time and, instead, occupy yourself with more fulfilling hobbies.
#9 Being around negative people
If you already have negative thoughts in your head, you would not want to be around people who constantly think negatively. Hearing of their pessimism might be detrimental to your own health while you yourself are dealing with your own issues. When having bouts of stress or anxiety, surround yourself with people who show more enthusiasm for life and will inspire or influence you to develop a more positive outlook as well.
#10 Not managing time effectively
Time management skills play a big role in reducing stress and anxiety. This means no procrastination. When you procrastinate, you deal with the stress, and all the drama, of running late, beating a deadline, missing a scheduled commitment. However, this also means no overcommitting. Taking in more work than you can handle is like setting yourself up for more mental health problems. Practice proper time management and set or designate a certain amount of time for certain tasks and, as much as possible, follow the schedule that you established.